"I recently took on a temporary assignment due to a rather long spell of unemployment. After stepping up and helping out some engineers at this company solve some design problems, I was let go. I have since found out through some private sources that a recruiter at the staffing company has been blackballing me. She has absolutely refused to place me anywhere, and has told all of the other recruiters in town not to deal with me. I was looking to file a formal complaint but the upper management of the company is inaccessible. What she is saying is untrue, slanderous, and has caused me tremendous setback. At this point I have determined the only way to resolve this issue is through formal investigation and legal action."
So begins an entry by a disgruntled temp in California in a business chat site I sometimes monitor. Of course this is his side of the story, one side, and we don't know anything else beyond what he writes. But it did catch my attention for a couple of reasons.
For starters, it does make you wonder a little why he was "let go" if he was solving senior-level design problems for what he termed in a previous (omitted) paragraph was a "lowball price."
However, the part that really got me was this recruiter "blackballing" him. How? He lives in El Cajon, California, a city with a population of 100,000 people and dozens of staffing companies, ranging from mom and pops to the big nationals.
Does he imagine a big club where recruiters all get together and compare notes, and dictate like some old Hollywood movie mogul, who will work in this town again, and who won't?
If a recruiter from a competing staffing company across town told you not to hire a particular person, would you listen to them?
And if you actually did have a recruiter from a competing staffing company tell you not to hire so and so, would that seriously be all it takes?
Would you say in return, "Yeah, that's cool. I'll ignore so and so. And oh by the way, I have one too. Don't hire this so and so." And so it goes.
Do people really think that's how the staffing business is? That everyone is in cahoots?
As a former member of the mainstream media I know what this is like. I have to chuckle whenever I hear people talk about this big media conspiracy. Do people really think reporters and editors and producers at 25,000 media outlets across the country are all talking on the same party line, somehow cooperating and reaching consensus on how to present a particular story?
Newsrooms are some of the most dysfunctional places I have ever spent time in. You wouldn't know they are filled with "professional communicators" because often times the communication, even among colleagues, is horrible.
So the notion that I can't communicate with a news manager across the room, but I can with a competitor across town, or across the country, is rather laughable.
Back to the temp's post. You could classify upper management at lots of companies inaccessible these days, and I'm sure staffing is no different.
If you want to call my former news director and complain about a story on last night's 6 o'clock news, you will likely never get through to them.
However, if you mention slander and litigation they would probably take your call! So I'm surprised the disgruntled temp hasn't found an audience that way.
And if by the way there is some secret staffing society where you all sit around and compare notes, well then, do tell, and I'll re-write this blog.