How much is an outside recruiter responsible for divulging to job candidates about their relationship to the client? When someone applies for a position online, and they are contacted for either a conversation and/or an interview, and the person doing the contacting is an outside recruiter, what – and how much – should the recruiter say? And when? Should they just quietly gloss over the fact they’re not actually an employee of the hiring company? Do they clearly state it at the outset? At the end? Not at all? Does it matter?
As a matter of my weekly routine, I go to various job boards three to four times a week. I do it partly out of research for this gig at Staffing Talk, and partly out of sheer curiosity. Who is hiring? At what levels? What kinds of skill sets and experience are they asking for? How well written are the job descriptions? And so on.
A month or so ago I came across an open position that quite intrigued me, for reasons I won’t go into here. It was a very visible position at a very large company.
Although I do have experience working on large brands through a couple of PR agencies, and as a consultant, I have never actually worked at a large corporation myself.
So my interest in this position was rather odd, and I knew I would be a wild card candidate at best. Still, I did go ahead and apply online and was contacted soon after by the person who is doing the hiring for the position.
On the first phone screen, she identified herself by name and said she “owned” this particular job req. I made it past that, and we set up a time to have a phone interview, one that ended up lasting a full hour-and-a-half.
She had told me on the first phone screen to ready my questions about the corporate culture, and when we were done going through my background I asked her to describe broadly the type of person who succeeds at her company.
The response was that she had only been associated with the company for three weeks, but attempted to answer the question anyway. And I think she did a good job with her answer. I didn’t think anything of her use of the word association, but it would come back to me later.
So we get to the end of the interview and she suggests we connect on LinkedIn. And then says, “Oh by the way, I don’t actually work for the company. I am an outside recruiter with so and so.”
“Oh by the way, I don’t actually work for the company. I am an outside recruiter.”
I thought her timing was kind of odd. After all, she did answer my question about the corporate culture as if she were an employee. So if she was going to tell me at all who her employer was, shouldn’t it have been at the outset?
It sounds as if she has spent a lot of time getting to know this client, including having one-on-one meetings with the CEO. It certainly would not have diminished the value of her views or take on the company in my mind if she had been more transparent from the beginning.
And would she have ever said anything if not for the LinkedIn connection?
Again, I am not experienced with this process, but I thought it did raise some interesting questions that are worth discussing. Comments?