A Profile of the World’s Most Aggressive Recruiter, Part 1

Fast Company magazine once called me the Michael Jordan of recruiting, but I often call myself “the most aggressive recruiter on the planet.” Through my role as an advisor and speaker I meet thousands of recruiters, a few of which have made me feel like an amateur in the aggressiveness department. One such recruiter is Michael Lackaye, formerly of Quicken Loans. I was amazed and impressed with some of the bold approaches he used to help power the “recruiting machine” at Quicken Loans. These days, most of the truly aggressive and bold recruiters operate outside the United States in India and China, but if more recruiters adopted Lackaye’s mindset, the United States could easily recoup the lead in bold recruiting. If you want to hear how a warrior approaches the “War for Talent,” read on, subtle he is not.

Strategy and Approach Profile of the World’s Most Aggressive Recruiter

I am seldom surprised in recruiting and routinely comment that the profession changes much slower than the business world around it, but as with all observations there are usually some exceptions. The approaches that Lackaye has employed throughout his career demonstrate real responsiveness to market conditions and are as aggressive as recruiting gets. The following stories outline the approach, the mindset, the techniques, and offer a little insight into the successes.

The Bank Caper

Perhaps the greatest recruiting story to develop in the last year, the “bank caper” demonstrates how truly aggressive recruiters leverage each and every situation to their advantage. While attending a conference on recruiting, Lackaye and his team observed that a competing organization was holding a sales conference in the same hotel. While most attendees had already checked out of their jobs and into the Southern California coastline, this team immediately recognized the opportunity and sprung into action. They noticed that the top performers of the competing organization had been awarded crazy shirts, and that the company had showcased 8 x 10 photos of them outside the event.

The Lackaye-led team surveyed the situation and approached the “marked targets” when movement throughout the hotel isolated them. They collected more than 35 business cards from the competition, enough for them to blueprint the organizational structure of the sales team attending. Through networking and follow up after the event, this team managed to convert as many as four of the competitor’s employees encountered at the conference into hires.

Note: Many companies often invite their best and brightest performers to attend regional and national meetings, and celebrate their success by making them distinguishable in a crowd. Some might call taking advantage of such situations raiding, but unlike a military raid, recruiters don’t take hostages, they simply offer better opportunities for potential candidates to consider. Employees are not owned; they choose what is best for themselves and their families. If they opt to take advantage of a new opportunity, the shame should not be upon the recruiter, but rather on the former employer for “taking them for granted and not insuring that the best opportunity was being delivered!”

Philosophy of Recruiting As Sales

Lackaye refers to his recruiters as his “sales team,” and routinely uses sales approaches to manage the group and its activities. Few organizations manage recruiting as a sales function, but those that have are generally very successful. He uses an incentive system borrowed from sales to compensate recruiters based on performance. After all, isn’t recruiting just “sales with a crummy budget?” Too many people in HR disdain being likened to sales and view their jobs as helping people. What helps people more than getting a better opportunity to improve their career? It’s an easy sell. An example of how Lackaye gets passives to apply using sales techniques follows.

“We always sold ‘the exploratory meeting’ (with the reluctant candidate). We knew that the atmosphere at our company was a seller. Therefore, we just wanted to get them in the door. Once we did, we would push their bruises and look for hot points. We had a very soft sell in the beginning. We would follow up the next day, asking them what they thought, and if they showed any interest, we went on the attack.”

Lackaye said his recruitment strategy is “to stay aggressive as a team, and to stay ahead of the curve. An organization whose recruiting function I would like to lead would realize the value of committing financial resources for the purpose of finding top talent by utilizing an effective applicant tracking system, creating a great candidate experience, leveraging an internal referral program, demanding search engine optimization, and paying recruiters for what they produce.”

Selling Managers on Aggressive Recruiting

Lackaye realized early on that objections to how recruiters achieve success are often based on lack of understanding. He found that two comments were enough to bring most managers on board, including: “You wanna hire 200 people a month?We aren’t going to do it by sitting back and collecting resumes,” and “If you owned one of our competitors, would you want to hire our top salesperson who isn’t looking, or the schlep who has worked here for six months with limited results whose resume is on every job board in the country? I thought so.”

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Getting Names

If you are looking for the best talent, chances are it is going to come from another company, so Lackaye considers all other firms his farm teams. He regularly cold-calls into other companies in person with the goal of getting names, business cards, etc. He calls his approach the “mystery shopper.” Here is a script of the approach:

Receptionist: “Good morning, ABC Financial.”

Recruiter: “Hi, I called about three months ago inquiring about (some financial product), and I spoke with someone but I misplaced their name. They were incredibly energetic and said they were one of your sales people. Do you know who that was?”

Receptionist: “Gee, I don’t know.”

Recruiter: “If you say their name, I know I will recognize it.”

Receptionist: “George Smith?”

Recruiter: “Nope.” (writing the name down for a later call)

Receptionist: “Bob Jacobs?”

Recruiter: “Maybe, but I don’t think so. Give me a couple more?”

This approach, while basic, is commonly used by sales organizations. It would regularly produce at least three names, all of which he would call directly the next day with an opportunity to show them what his firm has to offer.

Offer Acceptance or Closing Techniques

Finding people isn’t enough, you need to be able to aggressively sell them. An example of one approach used by Lackaye goes like this:

“A gentleman we were recruiting had worked with one of our direct competitors for seven years and had left because they were limiting his growth, and he didn’t like ?looking at the same five ugly guys (it was a small firm) every day.’ He had moved on to another institution since then, but was definitely a solid candidate. We offered him, and he wavered. On the closing call, he told us he was looking at going back to that same competitor, or starting with us. He also happened to offer to me that his life had been tough and he wanted to make the right decision, and that his wife had left him not once, but TWICE for another man.”

The close:

Recruiter: “Jerry, when your wife cheated on you and left you the first time, why did you go back?”

Jerry: “Because I wanted to make it work.”

Recruiter: “But the writing was on the wall. You knew it would probably happen again; those things usually do.”

Jerry: “I know, but?”

Recruiter: “You did it because it was the easiest thing to do, it was the most comfortable, right?”

Jerry: “There is definitely some truth to that.”

Recruiter: “So you went back to her and she did the same thing right?”

Jerry: “Right.”

Recruiter: “Jerry, you’re a smart guy. I thought you would have learned by now.”

Jerry: “What do you mean?”

Recruiter: “I mean, think about this. You are doing the same thing with this old company as you did with your wife. You want to go back there because it’s easy and comfortable, but ultimately you will be calling me in six months telling me how stupid you were to think it was going to be ‘different’ this time. This is your third chance at something like this, but you will have to make the tough decision to start over again. Forget everything you have been through personally and professionally, and get your life back.”

Jerry: “You’re right!”

Recruiter: “So, are you ready to start over, or do you have any other concerns?”

Jerry: “I don’t have any other concerns.”

Recruiter: “So we’ll see you Monday at 8:30?”

Again, a classic sales closing approach where you help the candidate by providing the impetus for them to change their life (Note for the squeamish, privacy issues fade when the candidate volunteers information and you use it only to make their life better).

Use of Referrals

Referrals are the top source in volume and for quality hires. Unfortunately, most organizations that operate referral programs fail to realize that sitting back and waiting for referrals is foolish. If you dig into how most referrals are initiated, you find more often than not candidates initiate the process by approaching an employee and asking them to refer them as a means to getting past the ‘black hole’ of a corporate career website. My recent research study of over 600 firms proved that the best “proactively” go after employee referrals. Lackaye, of course, follows that more aggressive approach by having his sales team cold-call people internally for referrals. “We were relentless.”

Next week in part 2: Some Q&A with Michael Lackaye on his views regarding the future of recruiting.

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," Staffing.org called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website www.drjohnsullivan.com and on staging.ere.net. He lives in Pacifica, California.



26 Comments on “A Profile of the World’s Most Aggressive Recruiter, Part 1

  1. ‘These days, most of the truly aggressive and bold recruiters operate outside the United States in India and China, but if more recruiters adopted Lackaye”s mindset, the United States could easily recoup the lead in bold recruiting.’

    I’d love to see what the brethren in India and China are doing…? Maybe we could take some notes off their pages.

  2. John

    These TPRs have a point. What you describe is no biggie. Every commission-based recruiter worth his or her salt has been doing what you describe for years. I started doing this within two days after becoming a recruiter in 1978. This was part of Steve Finkel’s Art of Recruiting class back in the early 80s. Then, it was the only way to get top passive candidates. The next trick was getting 2-3 hot referrals from these people we cold called. This was the secret of geting into the top 10%. I suspect it still is.

    Lou Adler

  3. Gee, keep wondering where that other guy is.. Hmm, The Michael Jordan of Recruiting huh.. I do have a question..

    Sullivan When were you Ever a recruiter? Was it before your tenure at the University, or during your brief consulting gigs where you had C level titles?

    Seriously, I really do want to know, when did YOU ever pick up the phone and dial for dollars? When did YOU ever have to implement the Physical Art of Recruiting in your daily practice.. And I mean From Start to finish; getting the job order, routing where you go to find the candidates, start Sourcing the Candidates, recruit the candidates, check out the candidates, prep the candidates, refer the candidates to the clients.. Prep the Clients, and So on and so on and so on…

    You have so much to say about this recruiting industry but I wonder, When were you ACTUALLY a physical recruiter>… How Long ago? How recent is your experience? Do You really know what we do besides by hear-say or do you really have first hand Practice and knowledge?

    Karen M

  4. Karen,

    I appreciate your candor and think you took the words out of the average TPR’s mouth. Yes, I would also love to hear of his expertise in the trenches as a TPR; as far as know, he never has been a TPR. I have to grin every time he uses the word ‘recruiter’ in his articles. Maybe it gives him the same feeling as a person who is forever telling you that they went to High School with a famous person. Maybe he always dreamed of being a real recruiter and somehow, after all these years, he believes he is one. After all, he writes about it; ain’t that good ‘nuf?

    I have been giving Sullivan merely cursory attention for years. Cerainly we can learn something from just about anyone. With that said, in the 20 years I have been a TPR, I have never once heard his name mentioned at a TPR recruiting seminar.

    Hey, we all have our ‘functional fantasies’. I love to read Wilbur Smith books. I can see myself in the romantic lead, fighting off the bad guys, sweeping the ladies off their feet, riding galantly in to the sunset. What a great read. For the average HR person, I bet they get the same relative vicarious thrill from reading Sullivan’s fiction.

  5. Steve:

    I too am frequently astonished at the content, or mind numbing cluelessness of some of these articles and do wonder
    where and how the wisdom contained therein was acquired.
    Of course, over the years, I’ve learned to be extremely skeptical of anyone who calls themselves ‘Doctor’ and doesn’t carry a stethoscope.
    Then I thought upon the necessity of writing regular articles on a very narrow topic over and over and over and my heart was filled with charity and understanding.

  6. Karen –

    Some go to school to learn to hire phone jockeys, etc. and many don’t but learn to hire those who do, and some go to school to learn how to teach others some learned techniques, and often learn something from their ‘students’/

    Each to his (or her) own.

    Me, I sit on the sidelines and enjoy the rheteric.


  7. Jonathan,
    be that may, but it really IRKS the hell out of me when I see all these ‘experts’ and ‘leaders’ of recruiting, who have SO much to say about our industry.

    They know the who’s and the how’s, they want to be our ‘leaders’ and guest ‘speakers’. They know the answers, but they never have been in the pit with the dragons.

    Nah, one of my best trainers in this industry is Doug Beabout.. You know why? Cause he plays in the Mire with us every day. His hands get bloody, he remembers what the rejections feel like ’cause he lives it.. He doesn’t have this rose tinted picture in his memory of what recruiting was like (if we are lucky that they were recruiters) —

    To me a Great trainer in this industry is someone who can empathize with me, in Today’s Society; the one that is SO Different from 10 Years ago! The only way they can be relating to me, is if they themselves are succesfful in Today’s society as a recruiter.

    Re Sullivan, wow, the techniques change with the wind, or the client. Is this the Client of the Year?
    Wonder sometimes Who decides who the Winner of the Year is;; Was it us dear gentle readers who chose the winners? When we made the choice was it based upon articles like this.. written by this author? The same author who May be on the voting comittee.

    ERE, you mentioned that you want new writers,people, recruiters to recruiters.. Please I reach out to you, venture out and submit.

    Share your Ethics with us please, Share your Talent, Share your Story. – Use a pseudonym if necessary but Please, I would love to hear from a real life recruiter; hear how a Real Life recruiter does it, and how they do it so well in this industry.

    Rhetoric, save it please.. I want facts, details and intrigue. I ask, please stay ethical, because there are many who come here to learn, and what they see, is what they believe.

    My thoughts..

  8. Of course what I really meant by d?j? vu was here we go again with the ‘best in the world’ or ‘the most aggressive in the world’ routine.

    I wish we could get away from this propensity to exaggerate with comments like this in an attempt to validate every article. The world is a big place and certainly too big for any one person to make such claims. It just devalues what is being said.

    Every football (sorry soccer) player in the English Premier League is the best in the world if you listen to the fans of that particular team. After all they are the only players they really know. It’s all the fans of all the other teams in the world that might disagree.

    My comment does not relate to whether the author is or has ever been a TPR. I’m not convinced that he has ever claimed to be and frankly I don’t care either way or think that it matters. Why? Because this Author’s articles tend to be aimed at the Corporate Recruiters on ERE rather than TPRs.

    Now with regard to the article itself.

    Whilst I always believe that we use sales techniques in recruiting, after all, being a TPR is a sales job, the closing technique given here is not aggressive, it?s just plain arrogant and dumb. I suspect it would offend most people it was used on.

    By saying:
    ‘Jerry, you’re a smart guy. I thought you would have learned by now.’ You’re really saying ‘Jerry, you’re a stupid guy. I thought you would have learnt by now’

    If he was smart he would have learnt by now wouldn?t he?.

    No one likes arrogance in a sales person, especially when they get personal.

    A good recruiter would help Jerry to make the right decision based upon the career move rather than implying his stupidity in his private life.

    But just who is being stupid? Well what do we know about Jerry?

    Positive points

    He has relevant experience because he worked for a competitor

    He?s capable of being loyal because he worked there for 7 years

    He?s wants to grow hence leaving after 7 years
    Apparently he is a solid candidate

    Negative points

    After 7 years he still had not progressed.
    He uses irrelevant excuses for leaving (looking at the same five ugly guys).

    Had moved to another company but could not grow there either hence wanting to move again. Is he able to grow at all?

    He is indecisive ? Wavering on an offer.

    He is looking for safety rather than risk as he is looking to go back to the original company. Not a good move in most cases.

    He has self pity ? Life has been tough.

    He?s a poor decision maker and seemingly doesn?t learn ? His wife has left him twice.

    I suspect he blames everyone else for his inability to grow at two companies, life being tough and no doubt his wife leaving him twice.

    Solid Candidate? Dr Wendell Williams would have a field day, I?m sure

    Let?s assume that Michael Lackaye has good reason to catch this candidate even though based upon what we know, I cannot understand what.

    A better approach might be to keep out of his personal life and avoid reminding him of his bad decision making. You know nothing of the facts anyway. Instead keep to his career which is something you ought to be qualified in helping with.

    Maybe a response like this would be better, bearing in mind you know that he is indecisive:

    Recruiter. ?Jerry, I understand that you have had a tough time recently in your personal life and I can see that your last career move was not the right choice for you. It?s therefore critical that the decision you make this time is the right one for you now and for in the future. Would you agree??

    Jerry. ?I certainly would? (He can?t say much else can he)

    Recruiter. ?Okay let?s look at the options ahead of you. Clearly you have decided to leave your existing company for whatever reason. You can return to your previous company of 7 years who didn?t allow you to progress hence leaving them in the first place. You made the decision to leave because you could not progress your career and yet you?re looking to return. This would suggest to them that you cannot progress anywhere else either and they will have you where they want you because they know you won?t leave again. Do you want someone else to have that hold on you Jerry??

    Jerry. ?Certainly not.?

    Recruiter. ?Jerry, at our company we can offer you the challenge you are seeking. We can offer you X, Y and Z that will in turn enable you to progress your career in the way you want it to go. We have shown our commitment to you by offering you this opportunity. What I would say to you now Jerry is this. Are you able to raise your game and prove yourself in our company??

    Jerry. ?Of course I can?. (Dare he say anything else?)

    Recruiter: ?Do you want to progress you career?

    Jerry. ?Of course?

    Recruiter. ?Jerry, when would be the best time for to start progressing your career??

    Jerry. ?Right away?

    Recruiter. ?Let?s meet tomorrow and get this contract signed so that you can get on with the rest of your career. 9:00am okay??

    Now this is just an example but more professional because Jerry feels that HE is making the right career decision for the right career reasons rather than having his personal life brought into question. Privacy issues never fade. Just because someone mentions them to you does not give you permission to make judgement on them or even pass comment.

    Being a professional recruiter is not just about making the deal but rather helping candidates make the right choice for them.

    The type of aggressive recruiting that we see being suggested is for the recruiters benefit rather than the candidates. There really is more to this game than that.

  9. Karen you say,
    ‘Rhetoric, save it please.. I want facts, details and intrigue. I ask, please stay ethical, because there are many who come here to learn, and what they see, is what they believe.’

    Karen, how are the ‘many’ who come here to learn going to see the difference if only the ‘ethical’ are encouraged to post? Come on, if you want ‘facts, details AND intrigue’ we’re gonna hafta’ stray off the straight and narrow occasionally. Not by bread alone does man exist. Allow us a little jam smeared on the top.


  10. Maureen,
    dang, I need to send a letter to the Local PTA; man they got it all wrong, we should also be teaching the kids that practice..

    Look, hons, here is what you do wrong, practice this, get hooked into habit, and now let’s figure out how to do it right.

    Come on, I know you got to be kiddin, please say it is so Mo!

    I am only human, and by george I make mistakes, but I try every day to live and die by the sword. I believe in that word called Karma, and that what goes around comes back around.

    Well in business, especially since we ARE dealing with peoples lives, we don’t really, should not really be teaching others how to mess up others lives, but how to do this right, the first time around.. It is bad enough that we will make mistakes along the way anyways, but at least it would be best to let them be just that, unintentional mistakes.
    Don’t you think?

  11. You know one other thing — And Using the author’s favorite term ROI (return on investment)

    There really is a Better return on your investment if you get it right the First Time around — especially in this Highly Litigious and Legally Problamatic industry (did I say 450 employment lawsuits a day?)

    So, it really is a good idea to really understand and visualize the more Ethical Aspect of this industry — even if you don’t care about reputation or ethics.. At least think about the Expense..

    So, again, let’s learn, good stuff, GREAT stuff, from other recruiters.. People who are out there, drumming in the business, finding the great candidates, and you know what been doing it for a while, great experience, and Doing it Ethically..

    I want to know what You are doing, the hows and why’s and such like.. Please can you share your story with me..

    Anthony – Loved what you wrote, Hey ERE – can you please Invite Anthony to write more.. Here is someone I can relate to, cause he can relate to me…


  12. The search for the mythical ‘Purple Squirrel’ is over!! The impossible to find candidate of legend, the one they said could never be found…… it’s Lackaye. But wait, he’s not a purple squirrel, he’s not unique, he’s a regular old squirrel, ah heck he’s not even a squirrel, he’s a regular old Chipmunk.

    Yes I work for Quicken Loans, and am an executive level recruiter with 8 years of successful TPR under my belt prior to coming on board with them 3+ years ago. Why do I throw around that ‘executive level’ recruiter title? Because I earned it, but I’m not a Rooster strutting with pride, let me explain. You see everyone starts out as a recruiter here; the next step is a senior recruiter, and then executive level. How does one get promoted you may ask? Production. Average 16 hires per month over a 3 month time frame and you get promoted to Senior status. Average 18 per month for an additional 3 months (no you can’t skip levels kiddies,) you make it to Executive level. Lackaye never made it past Recruiter………..World’s most aggressive recruiter? I think not. That was ONE of the silliest articles that I have ever read 9did I just say silliest?) The whole article makes it look as if Mike was in a leadership capacity. Was directly responsible for making decisions. LED HIS TEAM. LACKAYE WAS A RECRUITER NOTHING MORE. Oh, he was promoted to Team Captain for 6 months prior to his departure from us but he led a team of 3 recruiters out of the 20 employed by us. The Lackaye-led team in the Bank Caper??? DID NOT HAPPEN! Lackaye and another individual talked about it for a loooong time, but never did it, never even walked into the room, let alone hire a single person from that ERE event in San Diego last year for a mortgage banker position in Michigan. The close story is true, and to be honest I can’t honestly tell you the guy even started, but I would certainly agree with Mr. Haley that his approach was poor at best. The whole article is 100% BS.

    Now, many of you are saying that I have an axe to grind against Mike. Not so. In fact I consider him a friend. Heck I COLD CALL recruited him in here as a Mortgage Banker! I know, I know with friends like that who needs enemies right? Wrong! Lackaye is a good guy, and a decent recruiter that I wish nothing but the best for. He is unfortunately living in a fantasy world and needs a harsh dose of Tough Love to wake him up. I am, and always have been THAT GUY to do it.

    My real axe is with Dr. Sullivan. You sir, concern me. Your articles concern me. They are full of distortions or shades of distortions and you do an industry that I am proud to a part of, a disservice for publishing them. Next time pick up a phone and call some people to check the facts before you publish something that ultimately is going to make you look foolish. I can’t wait for the Q/A session with Lackaye next week.

  13. Jamie a huge thanks for speaking up and challenging this article from the inside so to speak.

    The hidden agendas in them are always blatant, but by giving us the TRUE facts you nailed it.

    Well done.

  14. Dear Jamie,

    Although I cannot argue the fact that the truth behind a great story is important; the story that Dr. Sullivan wrote provided me with something that I find equally important – inspiration.

    I am disappointed to hear that this story was not told with the integrity that we would hope to be represented by in this industry; as we are already challenged by our colleagues, our clientele, and most often, our prospects ? but to add to that list our fellow recruiter seems simply unnecessary. Especially when stories like this, to people like me, (who don?t know you or Lackaye) are just another light at the end of the tunnel and a gleam in the eye of a recruiter (regardless of their rank).

    Understanding that you needed to state your position and call-out the misappropriated rewards of recognition; in the future, you might consider the story being told as being more significant than a few names or titles listed therein.

    Thank you,
    Nichole Vinci

  15. Where are the stars (Mike Lackaye and Michael Homula) of Dr. Sullivan’s articles now? Are they still recruiting in a corporate setting?

  16. Years ago, when I first became aware of Dr. Sullivan, I quickly developed an appreciation of his pro-recruiting attitude. However, a good attitude will only take you so far, sooner or later you have to deliver the goods (in this case, useful and accurate/truthful information) and in that regard Dr. Sullivan has been a huge disappointment.

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with Jamie’s sentiments about the Dr. This is not the first time he’s done this kind of thing. In one of his series on world class recruiting departments I caught him blatantly inflating the title of one of his subjects (someone I have a great deal of respect for so will leave their name out of this). Now, this wasn’t just a mention in the course of the article, John repeatedly used the fictious title throughout the series and even in the daily headers…all to create a false sense of significance for his (John’s!) work? All I had to do was google the individual to learn that their title (per current info on their own company’s website, etc..) was clearly not what John was pumping it up to be.

    The most disappointing aspect of that situation was that, when I emailed John directly about this he replied (we went back and forth a couple times on this) and, rather than deny it or plead ignorance, he defended his actions.

    By his own actions Dr. Sullivan destroyed any remaining respect for him that I may have had.

    At this point, there are two brands that are being impacted. The first, clearly, is that of Dr. Sullivan. His information and his character are highly questionable. Why would we continue to believe someone who not only lies to us, but thinks it’s ok to do so?

    The second is that of ERE itself. If ERE is going to continue to be a lead voice of the professional Recruiting community they need to take a stand on this issue. Will they show us that they respect us (their readers) enough to only use contributing authors and conference speakers who can be trusted to provide truthful and accurate information in their articles, or will they continue to shovel garbage from people with such questionable integrity and a history of willful distortion?

  17. I find it amazing that there is a suggestion that the story is what matters, not the facts. Since I do not have a dog in this fight, I can’t say whether Sullivan has embellished or not, but I can say that if the facts have been distorted in any manner , the complete article is worthless and should be trashed. Publish or perish does not mean that the facts are secondary and in fact, embellishing would get you fired from a legitimate publication and would get you terminated from any educational institution. Aesop told stories, respected academics and/ or publications do not. Shall we now go back to the disturbing discussion on ethics in recruiting and use this as an example? If it is true that the article is less than accurate,then all I have to say is….shame,shame,shame .

  18. Well said, David. I can remember working for a software development company a number of years ago and sitting on a sales training session in which the trainer was telling people to make up stories in order to connect with the client. (For example, making up a story about parasailing in Hawaii if the client has recently vacationed in Hawaii.) I was apalled, and it reinforced my bias against ever trusting sales reps.

    Personally, I think that it’s a major point of differentiation in this industry if you demonstrate integrity in what you say and do. Otherwise, you get lumped in with the rest of the industry that, rightly or wrongly, has the reputation equal to the used car sales profession. … And it only takes one slip to convince a client that you’re no different than all the rest.

    I’d much rather not close a deal than to overinflate a candidate and have it come back to haunt me later.

  19. David: I couldn’t agree with you any more on the following point you made:

    ‘If ERE is going to continue to be a lead voice of the professional Recruiting community they need to take a stand on this issue. Will they show us that they respect us (their readers) enough to only use contributing authors and conference speakers who can be trusted to provide truthful and accurate information in their articles, or will they continue to shovel garbage from people with such questionable integrity and a history of willful distortion?’

    Don’t spit in my face and tell me it’s raining.

  20. Appreciate the comments (well, not the personal attacks) … but I did want to point out Ben Gotkin’s post (the one called ‘Saw it With My Own Two Eyes’) if you didn’t see it.

    Meanwhile, a couple people have asked if we’re open to new writers. The answer is yes. Let me know if you have article ideas. I’d love to talk about them. Todd

  21. I am regularly reading the published articles on ERE with a lot of interst and I am now somehow frightened about the honesty of the articles after having read the comments on Dr. Sullivan?s person. Is there anything I have to know about the general quality on ERE-articles?
    Do I have to double check everything that is published on this platform written by other authors as well?
    I am very thankful for any comments or warnings.
    A warm hello from Switzerland.

  22. Too fascinated to turn away from this car wreck when I tuned in the middle, I went back to the original article to see what all the mean was about. Tsk. Tsk. People are so touchy about a ‘fish story.’ A bit of hyperbole. Where’s the harm? More to the point, why so eager to discredit the writer? — and worse, the recruiter! I wasn’t shocked to learn the piece wasn’t ALL true. I was shocked at those who needed to point it out!

    In defense of the article, it appealed to my fantasies–what an energetic and creative (ugly word, ‘aggressive’) recruiter shoulda, coulda, woulda done–if only I had the umph to do it. We’ve all had those opportunities and didn’t take them. And I’m thinking Dr. Sullivan’s purpose was to make you think about that, not mislead. I bet he gobbled up the fish story too! It was a good one, for sure! Ya’ll should look at your readiness to condemn and all that self-righteous indignation. Then lighten up. The world needs more good stories to pump us up and fewer nay-sayers ready to destroy their colleagues.

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