Recruiter Chronicles: Story of the Despicable Million-dollar Producer

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Jun 28, 2011

“She said what!?” I heard the question fly from the other side of the room punctuated with disgust. Each one of my teammates’ ears were now perked with anticipation to hear what “she” said. We waited patiently for a minute, and up from her cube popped my teammate Chris. She exclaimed, holding her head in her hands and looking like she was in great pain, “I can’t believe it!”

“What?” about three of us asked at the same time.

“She did it again,” Chris said with a tone of resigned disbelief in her voice.

“Who?” we asked.

“You know who,” Chris answered. At that moment we all knew. “You-know-who” is a bit of a nemesis of ours. She is a million-dollar producer that none of us know personally, but deal with on a constant basis. If you just looked at her body of work in terms of numbers you would be infinitely impressed. She is known to be a consistent big biller, with the best contacts, and amazing work effort. Unfortunately, she also known to be somewhat morally and ethically challenged within the confines of recruitment.

Chris went on to explain the new chapter of this sad saga. “You know we just placed Sandy over at XYZ Company, and you-know-who and her candidate finished 2nd. Well….as soon as she found out, she called the client and said that Sandy lied on her resume about her work experience and education. The client just called me wanting to pull the offer, and is ready to hire you-know-who’s candidate. They even admitted that  you-know-who told them this. I told them this is a lie, and that we are sending all the verifications over immediately. Luckily we have them already, and they agreed to not rescind the offer if it checks out on their side too. Can you believe that?”

Before the end of the day, Sandy was cleared and everything was good to go with her job offer. We were appalled  by you-know-who’s actions, but actually not all that surprised. We have come to find this as standard operating procedure for her. She has a whole highlight reel of legendarily despicable moments that are similar to this. It made all us mad that she would do this, but most of all we were amazed once again at what she is capable of.

You see, at the Aureus Group we have this thing called a value statement that governs how we do business. Not trying to be sanctimonious here, but we take what we do pretty seriously, and feel that the least of what we are bound to is our ethical standards. And by the way, if you don’t feel that way about yourself or your firm, what in the world exactly do you stand for? (More on that in a shortly.)

I don’t want to speculate too much here, but you-know-who clearly does not operate with any such values or principles in mind. Which brings us to the most depressing and disgusting fact of all of this.: she continues to be a million-dollar producer. Year after year.

What we have come to find is that clients and candidates alike simply just accept the fact that she is who she is. They see past the B.S. because they believe she is the most effective Accounting and Finance recruiter around at making placements. Simply put, she gets great candidates in front of her clients consistently and quickly. Her methods, by what we have gathered, are indisputably questionable. But, if you are a client, you care that you are getting great people. If you are a candidate, you care that you are getting a great job. It’s the means to the end that have seemingly gone unchecked for years with little or no recourse. You see, I would really like to think that this kind of behavior would have the karma police ready to pounce, and perhaps they already have and I just don’t know about it yet.

The bigger thought I have wrapped up inside this twisted tale is wondering how prevalent this all is in our industry at large. If you-know-who is doing business this way, then I’m sure others are as well. If our clients are accepting of it, then others are, too.

But what about you? Where are your values? As questioned earlier, if you don’t have a set of values and ethics by which you work, then what exactly do you stand for? Making placements? Making lots of money? That’s just not enough unfortunately and nobody could ever talk me down from that soapbox.

How you do what you do, in my opinion, is more important than how well you do it. Moreover, how you do what you do dictates how well you do it. The minute you value results over ethics is when you become like “you-know-who.” So do it well recruiter brethren, but please also do it right.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this situation. Please let me know what you think in the comments below!

image source: Lenore Edman

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