Don’t Mistake Activity for Accomplishment

Originally published January 31, 2007.

What’s your plan to find the best candidates? Post more ads and hope for a response? Connect with even more people on LinkedIn? Search the job boards for resumes? Look at the phone and hope that it will ring? Do the same things as you did last year?

If it didn’t work in 2006, why will it work now? Before you continue with more of the same activity, think of the story of the processionary caterpillar.

The larvae of the moth Ochrogaster lunifer otherwise known as the “processionary caterpillar” leaves a thread of silk as it walks along, which enables the caterpillar behind it to follow the thread. As each caterpillar follows the silken trail, it begins to walk in single file, nose to tail, and move along like a miniature train.

What makes this caterpillar special is its instinct to blindly follow the caterpillar in front of it. This behavior not only gives the caterpillar its name, but also a deadly characteristic.

The French naturalist Jean Henri Fabre demonstrated this unique behavior with a simple experiment. He took a flowerpot and placed a number of caterpillars in single-file around the circumference of the pot’s rim. Each caterpillar’s head touched the one in front. He then placed the caterpillars’ favorite food in the middle of the circle created by the procession around the rim of the flowerpot.

Each caterpillar followed the one ahead, thinking that it was heading for the food. Round and round went those caterpillars for seven days and seven nights.

After a week of this mindless activity, the caterpillars started to die because of exhaustion and starvation. All they had to do to avoid death was to stop the senseless circling of the flower pot and head directly toward the food, which was less than six inches away. However, the processionary caterpillars were fixed into this routine and couldn’t extricate themselves from this mindless behavior.

They mistook activity for accomplishment.

As human beings, we are different from caterpillars. We surely do have the ability to change our direction in life. Or do we? We often confuse motion with meaning and activity with accomplishment.

Most people are followers and are persuaded more by the actions of others than by anything else. When we see a lot of people doing something, we assume it to be correct. We copy other people’s actions to be safe rather than stand out and try something different.

When we see the critical mass of recruiters using the well-promoted tools like job boards, media advertising, social network sites, and the many others that are supposed to help us find the perfect candidate, we think that is the way to do this job because everyone else is doing it. This surely makes us no different from the caterpillar.

You need to break that circle, stop following the crowd, and go directly to the food. Or in this instance, to the right candidate.

The Next Assignment

The next time you have an assignment to fill, don’t use the same tools as everyone else, because you will only find the same candidates as everyone else. The best person for the position you are looking to fill is probably not actively on the job market right now. They are too busy being successful where they are.

The good news, however, is that they will nearly always listen to new opportunities. All they need is your telephone call to tell them about it.

Like the best sales professionals love to cold-call, the best recruiters love to headhunt. That’s where the real thrill is, and that’s where most people fail because they don’t like doing it.

The salesperson who doesn’t like to cold call should work in a shop where customers walk in. The recruiter who does not like to headhunt should work in HR.

Identify the right people through your own research. This will most certainly mean calling into companies. If you can get names by simply asking, “Who is responsible for ??” then do so. It has worked for me many times. Sometimes keeping it simple is the best way. If that does not work and you need to be a bit more creative, then work within whatever method you feel most comfortable with.

Harmless rusing should not be a problem for anyone if they want to be successful in recruiting. By harmless, I mean making up a name and a story is okay. Pretending to be someone else that actually exists certainly is not.

For example, if I say I am Fred Smith from ARL Consultancy and I want to discuss a business project with the person responsible for purchasing, there is no harm done. In a way, it’s true.

Using a real name and company and some story however, could be a serious mistake. I’ve had to deal with a real situation where this happened with one of my consultants back in the late 1990s. It is not good. So keep the info clean.

Article Continues Below

Be confident and positive when making the call. Use LinkedIn or a similar platform as a starting point to find candidates, but don’t rely on these services. It’s all too easy for these tools to become a crutch and the sole method used to find people. When that happens, you again only have the same small pot of candidates that everyone else has.

Use it as a tool for initiating any assignment, even though in my experience it rarely ends up that the person I find on there gets the job. What it might do is identify some of the right companies to call on. If you’re lucky and the information is up to date, which is often not the case, and the person is still there but not interested or not right, then get a referral.

Who Do You Know?

Getting referrals is the most powerful tool any recruiter can use for finding the best candidates, because it’s most likely that the referred candidate has the right background. Otherwise, they would not be referred in the first place.

Don’t ask closed-ended questions such as, “Do you know??” Ask, “Who do you know??” It’s a good open-ended question and one that is more likely to end up with a name. They will be the most important four words you will use when researching for candidates.

Be Well-Prepared

When you first talk to your prospective candidate, don’t waffle, oversell, or lie about the opportunity. It will only come back to bite you on the bum later.

The first 30 seconds of the call are the most crucial to get their interest, so make it powerful. Be enthusiastic, sincere, and positive about the opportunity you are selling them and use a good open-ended question to enable the conversation to continue. For example, you can usually end your sales pitch with something like:

“My client is looking for a candidate who has the ability to raise their game, meet this challenge, and be the best in their field. (Pause.) Tell me, Sue, are you the sort of person who is ready to meet such a challenge and be the best?”

What do you think she will say? No?

This is only an example, of course, so use your own wording. Whatever you use, make sure it is powerful and can only be met with a positive response.

Once you have them hooked into the conversation, the rest is up to you to successfully sell them on the company and the opportunity, so make it good. Be aware that this method will not work if you pitch the wrong people, so make sure you research effectively and accurately.

It also won’t work if you’re not sincere about the opportunity you are working on, and if you’re not sincere about it, stop working on it immediately. Only work on positions and for companies for which you have a genuine belief will put the candidates you are talking to in a better position than they are in today. Anything less is not doing your job correctly or professionally.

Remember: it’s about them, not you. You’re not in the business of ruining people’s careers so don’t be blinded by the fee or pressured into lying to save your own job or trying to impress your boss.

You are trying to put both parties involved in a position to benefit from the activity, and when you do this successfully, you will also benefit. Just keep the correct order when it comes to who benefits first. Put yourself first and it is unlikely either of the other parties will benefit at all.

Try something different today, because you have nothing to lose other than another year mistaking activity for accomplishment.

Tony Haley has been a headhunter since 1993 and has run his own business since 1996. As a director of Fenton Chase International, he has been responsible for helping some of the biggest names in the global telecommunications market to successfully expand their organizations throughout East and Western Europe.

Contact her at a.haley@fentonchase.com

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84 Comments on “Don’t Mistake Activity for Accomplishment

  1. Simplicity is very good in this industry. Unfortunately many may make this job harder than it really it is. Simply remember this – KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetheart

    Personally, don’t think any ruse is good in business, nor do I think it is necessary.

    All in all, very good article, especially believing in the position. The best sales person always believes in the product they sell

    Noticed that many people don’t use scripts, one of the old school training is to always be prepared by writing a quick script of the candidates one is marketing, or the information about the company. Providing thorough information quickly at hand.

    Most companies will have new sales people role play scripts within their organizations, and the scripts are based upon certain objections and how to over come them as well. Wonder why they are not as common in our industry

    All in All very good article.

  2. I respect your right to share your views but giving someone a name other than my own is not the truth.

    It’s lying and in my book that is not okay.

    We can professionally agree to disagree with no hard feelings but I fervently do not believe it acceptable to misreprent yourself. I also believe that with sufficient skill development rusing is not needed.

    When you can call your arch rival, truthfully represent yourself and still get the name…and I have, then you know rusing is not necessary to succeed.

    Love the phone, use the phone…however the data is laying out there all over the web. You just have to know how to access it.

  3. Your definition of ruse calls really does walk a fine line. I still think you should use your own name and your own company. Pick your words carefully. Why start off a relationship off with a lie? Lying is just bad business. Everything else was excellent.

  4. Rusing is not tolerated nor condoned in my organization and in some cases may cross the line and be subject to legal issues. If you, as an individual or agent of a company, intentionally use deception as a method of business, you are liable for a civil action. Furthermore if you you use deception as a method of getting an individual to break their contractual obligation to another person, thereby exposing the person who is deceived to civil action themselves, you are guilty of fraud. That is a criminal activity. If you employ the tactic of rusing someone into giving a name, and the person you ruse is under a standard employment contract, then you have encouraged them to break their contractual agreement with their employer that they will hold such information in confidence. If that person gets fired for such an activity, it is clear they have a civil action available to them (they can sue you), and it may be that the enterprise can report you to the DA for your activity. This information is well known among firms that adhere to a strict code of conduct. The full text of this article is available at http://www.talentism.com/business_talent/2005/10/history_theory_.html.
    Anthony, I am disappointed I was thrilled with the subject of your article and wanted to share it with the new recruiters on staff. I am familiar with your firm and have found it to be world class with a solid reputation in the industry, I am suprised that it would use rusing as a means of getting information.
    I have been in the business for over 8 years with a retained firm that suggests that ethics are non-negotiable. We typically represent Fortune 500 companies and I can assure you that they would not use us if they felt that we were not representing them ethically and credibly in the market. I have never not even one time had to ruse to get access to a person in a department, I do not intend to start now nor train new recruiters in the art of rusing.

  5. Excellent article Anthony and I love the caterpillar story. I have read many of your excellent postings on other networks, like Xing, and you are consistently on target and tell it like it is. You reinforce the similarities between the UK and US recruiting business. After having the opportunity to interview dozens of great recruiters or Big Billers for my most recent book, Big Billers, much of what Anthony says rings true. ‘If you keep doing what you doing you’ll keep getting what you got’ is one of my guiding recruiting principles and Anthony makes the point well and covers many of the basics to being a good recruiter or HeadHunter.

    However, rusing (lying in other terms) is not something that the Big Billers I talked to do as a normal course of business and should not be part of any recruiters arsenal or tool kit. The Big Billers do talk about the basics of a good job order, a great candidate and control of the dynamics of the interview and the closing process, but they stressed again and again their million dollar performance is based on long term and enduring relationships. Those are earned, not captured by glib tricks, and no matter how you disguise it or rationalize it rusing is lying and not something they do.

    Outside of that a great article.

  6. I loved Haley’s article. All of it. Even the rusing part. Come on, Russ. Some banks charge customers $35 for overdrawing their account $1 for 1 minuite, because ‘they privided a service’. Is that true?

    I lied all of last month, and I still am. I am recruiting for a SRVP position where the currently SRVP is still in place. She knows me. She sees some of my invoices. She knows my targets and my MO. Try doing THAT search without lying and inventing things you say to the marketplace! Maybe that is why the headhunters from the ‘bigs’ are not posting here. They wrote the book on stealth.

  7. I guessed when writing this article that one word (rusing) was likely to stir a few minds but thought it important enough to stick with it rather than take it out. Like it or not, it is common practice which is why I was quite specific in stating harmless rusing over harmful rusing. It is crucial to differentiate between the two and understand the difference. One truly is harmless.

    I am simply not giving my true identity to a switchboard operator who frankly could not care less what my name really is. That’s all. I’m not falsifying information to the police. I?m not lying to a candidate about an opportunity to get them to attend an interview. I?m not lying to a company about a candidate to get them to have a meeting or anything that serious so I think it’s important to keep it all in perspective.

    So why give a false name?’ I use a false name to protect the person I am trying to reach.

    Think about it. We all tell little lies at some time to protect others or ourselves. We tell our children: ?Of course it won?t hurt sweetie? when they are about to experience their first dental experience when we know full well it will hurt. We tell our partners ?I?m fine? when clearly we are not but we don?t want to burden them with our worries.

    In the work place, we tell our employees that their jobs are safe when we know full well they are not. We tell our employers we are happy when in fact we are interviewing with a competitor. We tell our customers that they are the best company to work for when we know they are not. And so on.

    Let me carry on the call a bit longer for you.

    The receptionist puts me through to the person I want to talk to and I start the conversation off with:

    ‘Hi, my name is Tony Haley (real name). I’m actually a Headhunter and I would like to discuss a new opportunity with you. Is now a good time to talk?’

    Now 95% of the time the person couldn’t care less what my name is and has probably not even noticed my name anyway because they are interested in what I have to say. If however on the odd occasion they might say. ‘I thought the receptionist said your name was Fred Smith’ I explain to them. ?Yes I did give that name but only to protect your confidentiality as I did not want you to be caught talking to a headhunter.

    And do you know what? The candidate always appreciates the consideration and they now know that they are safe talking to me because I am already demonstrating confidentiality rather than lying. I have not lied to them once. To the contrary I have been honest from the moment I started talking to them. Rather than starting on a deceitful basis as some believe, I am in fact building trust. Some I fear are missing this point.

    Building this trust with the candidate at this early stage and having them know that I would do nothing to put their current position at risk is infinitely more important and professional than getting hung up about using a false name with a switchboard operator.

    Many of these operators write down the names of people they put through and it would not take a rocket scientist to google my name and expose my candidate as someone in discussion with a headhunter. Now that would be careless and unprofessional.

    Karen, I prefer not to use scripting because no matter what you think it sounds like, it will always come across as scripting and unnatural. Practice, practice practice is my belief and get the call sounding genuine. The responses will always be better.

    Russ/Karl/Anthony, maybe you can share your ?truthful? approach in more detail that would not mislead your true intention behind the call to gain the information. I would love to hear what you say when you make the calls.

    Bill, I appreciate your positive comments towards the article and would like to agree that success is built on long term and enduring relationships. This surely is in turn earned on success in finding the best candidates for the clients.

    I doubt that too many of these clients are interested in how the Headhunters find their candidates as long as they do and I also know from experience that big billers in big companies are unlikely to even be involved in sourcing candidates themselves. They generally have a team of Researchers or Sourcers doing that bit for them and they probably don’t care how the names are found either as long as they are found.

    Besides, I could tell a tale or two about what really goes on at the top between some top billers and their clients that would make everyone?s hair curl so again keeping this in perspective, giving a switchboard operator a different identity is hardly a comparison to what often goes on at the top in the name of doing business.

  8. I certainly agree with all the responses to this article condeming rusing as a practice. The article started off great but ‘rusing’ is lying by any definition. We discussed ethics before in depth and the practice of rusing for any reason is completely unethical [and as pointed out] illegal. In this area there simply are no shades of gray.

  9. Anthony, Anothony, Anthony

    You really took that to the ‘nth degree. I have been recruiting for 25 years and have my own company for 18 years. Many times I have had trouble getting passed the gate keeper, so rather then put her in job jeopardy I gave her a name of a fake company and say I need to speak with a sales person ( a future candidate) who sells ( what ever). When I get the sales person on the phone I then tell him who I am and what I am looking for. ‘ Does he know any body?’

    The gate keeper only did her job and sent a future customer to the right sales person.
    Should I be put in prison for that?

    Light up Anthony, recruiting is not brain surgery.

    BARB

  10. Okay, let’s talk about scripts, because everyone knows where I stand about rusing.. NO NEED, never had to do it, and don’t want to develop any relationship, business or friendship based upon a lie – especially since one never knows how it can come back to bite you in the you know what, and YES that does include legally.. but, that is another debate.. Not to mention that that person on the phone will have a hard time ever believing or trusting you completely.

    RE scripts.. see Anthony, when I use a script, it isn’t one for reading from, it isn’t a ‘hi, my name is karen, blah blah blah’ script, it is information about a candidate, or client, and yes, sometimes AFTER, I have gotten the candidates attention I will say, let me read you some of the great points of the job, or of course just have them there in front of me.

    No, one doesn’t start a call with a script.. it is started as a conversation between two new individuals —

    Now, having been recruiting for well over 10 years, and having been trained in this, I do find it amazing that though we are in sales, we as employers don’t provide this type of training service for our new recruits – Think about it, all sales people when hired are they are taught scripts in their training at all times so why don’t we do the same

    Sales scripts are often thought of being linear, but if anyone has taken an Art of Spin Selling course one would learn the art of flexible scripts

    http://www.salesxcellence.co.uk/SalesSkillsArticles/Nine_Buyer_Questions/nine_buyer_questions.html

  11. Anthony,

    Why do you think that cold calling and building trust are new and that no one is using them… you stated dont use the same tools as everyone else… everyone else is a pretty big pot.

    Now you know I respect and appreciate your comments( heres the but)…but… if the receptionist couldnt care what your name is, then why use a fake one.. if the receptionist doesnt know who you are.. then whats the point? Who are you protecting?

    Do you honestly believe that recptionists write down all the folks that call into company and that someone (the receptionist? HR? The local law enforcement agency?) is going to google all the names they dont know? Come on mate… you can do better than that…

    Plain and simple is that you have created an excuse for not being truthful.

    You said ‘ For example, if I say I am Fred Smith from ARL Consultancy and I want to discuss a business project with the person responsible for purchasing, there is no harm done. In a way, it’s true. ‘

    WHAT WHAT WHAT? you have an AKA? Your real name is Fred Smith, and NOT Anthony Haley… HOW (in any way) can this be true unless your middle names are Fred and Smith?

    The rest is just a weak justification for the lie.

    Anthony, again, I dont know how many recruiters you know that ‘In the work place, we tell our employees that their jobs are safe when we know full well they are not. We tell our employers we are happy when in fact we are interviewing with a competitor. We tell our customers that they are the best company to work for when we know they are not. And so on.’

    More week justification.

    Why not just say, ‘I’m Anthony / Tony Haley from Fentonchase and I’d like to discuss a business project with the person responsible for purchasing’??

    There was some great info in your article but your comments on rusing do nothing but say that its ok to lie, and if everyones doing it then that makes it even more justifiable. Not a great example for new recruiters coming to ERE to learn about the industry.

    Your basically saying if you dont lie, you can’t be succesful. Period.

    My thoughts are if you cant cold call without rusing / lying, then dont do it: or learn to do it the right way.

    Eamonn

  12. Yikes, this subject certainly brings out the best in people. To answer the first question by the author of the article Tony Haley- When questioned by a gatekeeper as it pertains to the reason for my call I indicate that I am a consultant (True-I am a Certified Personnel Consultant), doing work in the industry on behalf of … (True-as a retained search firm we are retained to represent the client in the industry). If further pressed for company name I will provide the intials MSI (True-Management Search Inc.). Once in a blue moon I am asked what the intials stand for and I ALWAYS tell them Management Search Inc. If they choose not to put me through I will merely call again and ask for a department that will not draw attention like AP or AR, purchasing, shipping/ recieving etc. In those rare cases that I do not get through or it does not work, I simply go to the next company. Like Barb suggested recruiting is not brain surgery.
    If I took it to the nth degree as Barb indicates it is because of the continued scar tissue exhibited by hiring managers when dealing with agency recruiters who will do just about anything to get a hire. I am proud of the industry that I work in, I could not imagine doing anything else and as I promised myself when I was a US Air Force Recruiter I would do it ethically and credibly. I never lied to a 17 year old about the military not even a white one; I won’t ruse to get access to a company no matter how simple it is. Forgive my upbringing-if you want you can blame it on my parents and the State of Vermont where I grew up.

  13. Fran:

    You said: ‘I certainly agree with all the responses to this article condeming rusing as a practice. The article started off great but ‘rusing’ is lying by any definition. We discussed ethics before in depth and the practice of rusing for any reason is completely unethical [and as pointed out] illegal. In this area there simply are no shades of gray.’

    So my question is: What do you say when the gatekeeper says: ‘what is the nature of this call?’

  14. Eamonn

    ‘Why do you think that cold calling and building trust are new and that no one is using them ?’

    I don?t and can?t find where I said they were.

    ‘If the receptionist doesn?t know who you are.. then what?s the point? Who are you protecting?’

    Like I said, the candidate and their current job.

    ‘Do you honestly believe that receptionists write down all the folks that call into company?’

    Absolutely. I?ve seen it in many companies and no I?m not suggesting that every name gets googled but they are available if needed. If I was a manager and I saw one of my people take one of those calls, I?m sure you know the type. ?I can?t talk now. Yes here is my mobile. Lets talk later? checking with the switchboard would be the first thing I would do. Maybe you should consider suggesting it for you own company as a bit of added protection against us baddies.

    ‘WHAT WHAT WHAT? you have an AKA? Your real name is Fred Smith, and NOT Anthony Haley… HOW (in any way) can this be true unless your middle names are Fred and Smith?’

    The bit that is in a way true is the business project but then I guess you know that really.

    ‘Anthony, again, I don?t know how many recruiters you know that ‘In the work place, we tell our employees that their jobs are safe when we know full well they are not. We tell our employers we are happy when in fact we are interviewing with a competitor. We tell our customers that they are the best company to work for when we know they are not. And so on.’

    How many thousands of examples do you really want on this one? By the way you put the word Recruiter in. I was being general but again I guess you know that as well. Don?t tell me that when you have looked for a new job in the past you have told your employer that you are looking.

    ‘Why not just say, ‘I’m Anthony / Tony Haley from Fenton Chase and I’d like to discuss a business project with the person responsible for purchasing’??’

    Because I?m a headhunter trying to identify potential candidates for their competitor?

    ‘There was some great info in your article but your comments on rusing do nothing but say that its ok to lie, and if everyones doing it then that makes it even more justifiable. Not a great example for new recruiters coming to ERE to learn about the industry.’

    Eamonn, I can assure you that I have had twice as many positive responses to this article than negative but most people that appreciate or agree with the article prefer to stay private. I wonder why?

    Articles on ERE are there to take from them what the reader wants. Take what?s useful and ignore the rest. If the reader gets one good idea from my article then for me it?s worth taking the time to write and believe me they do take time. They can easily ignore what is not applicable or what they don?t feel comfortable with as indeed you can but at least they got something positive from it. I look forward to your next article.

    ‘Your basically saying if you dont lie, you can’t be succesful. Period.’

    No I?m not, you?re saying that. Have you actually read all 1500 words of the article or just 2 paragraphs? Constructive criticism is useful to everyone. Manipulating responses like this are surely a worse example for new recruiters on ERE than any article.

  15. ‘When questioned by a gatekeeper as it pertains to the reason for my call I indicate that I am a consultant (True-I am a Certified Personnel Consultant),…. ‘

    Your profile on ERE says that you are a true generalist recruiter with extensive experience in all area’s of manufacturing. Calling yourself a consultant in this way is to deliberately deceive the other person, otherwise your profile would say Consultant wouldn?t it?

    ‘…doing work in the industry on behalf of … (True-as a retained search firm we are retained to represent the client in the industry). ‘

    Again deliberately vague and misleading.

    ‘If further pressed for company name I will provide the intials MSI (True-Management Search Inc.). ‘

    So If I use FCI in future, that?s okay then.

    This is really splitting hairs as I suspected and frankly frustrating. I?m not knocking your approach but don?t try to tell me that that this call is not structured to deliberately mislead the person you are calling and trick them into giving you a name of one of their employees so you can take them out of their company.

    ‘I won’t ruse to get access to a company no matter how simple it is.’

    This call is rusing whether you like it or not. It?s telling a story that is deliberately vague and misleading to deceive the person you are calling and get them to innocently give you the name of one of their employees so you can entice them away to a competitor. Or in your own words you are intentionally using deception as a method of business and are liable for a civil action. I think you called it criminal activity.

    I just do not see the difference. You say tomato, I say tamayto. Doesn?t matter which way you dress it up, the intention is the same. Don?t kid yourself that the company you are calling knows exactly who you are and what your intention is with the call. This is just delusional.

    Green houses and stones comes to mind here.

  16. Anthony
    You said Eamonn, I can assure you that I have had twice as many positive responses to this article than negative but most people that appreciate or agree with the article prefer to stay private. I wonder why? ?
    well that is a duh? gee, at least they were smart to do it in private than have companies see what they believe is acceptable behavior is having to lie in businesses.

    In regards to Eamonn?s comment, when calling in regards a business project, he is not lying, he is indeed working on a recruiting project for the business he works for. There is no dishonesty there, and of course he is not necessarily calling in to recruit that specific candidate, but to network, see if there is interest, develop a business relationship, and create referrals. If the boss is close by, a good recruiter can get that and feed them the comments to get the number so that they can talk later, without them being obvious.

    Bill, you asked what would you say is the nature of the call.. well, Eamonn gave a A GREAT EXAMPLE. Do other industries have their sales people lie to speak to potential clients? No, of course not. It would be foolhardy to do so, so why lower the bar for this industry? What is the need?

    What are you protecting the candidates from? A call from a recruiter? Who cares, if they are interested they are going to give you their personal number and you never have to worry about the secretary again, if they are not, then they will give you referrals, and no one is harmed.. in any way. Never seen anyone get fired because a recruiter called them..

    Gee, by the way, saying you were a recruiter when you called in, well that would be foolhardy, and no one is suggesting that. So what difference does it make to just use your name? Really?

    Regards to Anthony R. Indeed he is a consultant, a certified recruiting consultant. An employment Consultant, a manufacturing recruiting consultant, and there is no deception. He also is doing a project on behalf of the client. Retained or Contingency, the moment the client has agreed to sign our agreement, we are working on a contract basis, on the project they hired us, to provide them a strong candidate for their business.

    To follow through, on my website my business for example uses both ACS and Advanced career solutions. ERE uses an acronym, yet we know their official name. Is SHRM, NAPS, ASA, the ABA being deceptive for using acronyms.. indeed many companies use acronyms, that is not unusual.

    There is not any deception, not even a white lie.. don?t you think that you may be pulling straws here?

    Seriously, I really did like your article, but as many have mentioned there is NO NEED to Ruse call in any way to do this job.. Recruiters who are seasoned, doing well for years have been saying that for years, and the individuals who are proclaiming this loud and clear are indeed proven that they are seasoned and successful. Isn?t that indeed something to consider..

    This industry already has a tarnished image, so maybe it would be significantly help improve if recruiters learned from others what they do to help facilitate the process in more honest ways.

    My thoughts, and unfortunately this did detract from an otherwise excellent article.

  17. Bill,

    I simply call and ask for the person and when asked my name and company I say Fran Timson with WPS. If they ask, which is rare, what the nature of my call is I say that I have a business question. Rarely do I not get put through and if I can’t reach the person at work then there are lots of ways to get home email and/or home phone numbers.

    Justifying a lie by rationalizing that there is no other way or that everyone does it is wrong. People can rationalize all kinds of things because ‘everyone’ does it but that doesn’t make it right. Starting a relationship with someone by lying to get to them just doesn’t seem like a great way to convince them I am trustworthy.

    Simply my opinion.

  18. Anthony, without going into the glass house and the stone analogy the fact is you indicated that it was ok to: ‘…making up a name and a story is okay.’ I do not suggest or pretend to be anyone other than myself. If I worked for Fenton Chase I would certainly indicate FCI if it is part of your company lexicon. I agree that your article for the most part was exceptional and I applaud you for writing it. The only issue I have is with the rusing. Most of the responses I have read indicate that your article was well worth reading with the exception of the rusing part which most agree is not a part of their business model. Bottom line-If Fenton Chase allows its consultants (if you are ok with that title) to ruse, that is a part of their business model and has no bearing on how we do business. I only use my name (and not a made up one), and I use my CPC designation that I earned which is noted as a part of my name above the information where it asks to describe your job on the ERE profile. Should we not call an MD, ‘doctor’ or a PE a ‘Professional Engineer’, should we not recognize PHR and SPHR designation’s as well? None of these people unless I am truly misguided go by different names or suggest they are part of a company that they are not.

  19. Anthony,

    AS I mentioned my comments were not a personal attack on you.

    The fact is that you indeed did say that lying is ok. Abel Gonzalez stated that and obviously agrees with you as (I’d bet) do 75% of the private emails you recieved.

    I wont disect the rest of your comments, but your opinion is your opinion and stating that ‘Harmless rusing should not be a problem for anyone if they want to be successful in recruiting’ is indeed stating that lying is ok.. and yes it is saying that you cant be succesful if you dont lie…

    Harmless rusing (lying) should not be a problem for anyone who wants to be successfull (if you have a problem with it you dont want to be succesfull)…

    Unless Im completely missing it…

    BTW.. thanks for the article, I did in fact appreciate most of it..

  20. Karen, the reason I said ‘I wonder why?’ was nothing to do with what some consider acceptable behaviour or not but rather because not everyone is prepared to risk being labelled unfairly by a few as soon as they give their opinion?

    ‘Do other industries have their sales people lie to speak to potential clients?’

    Who is lying to speak to a potential client? We are not talking to our clients. We are not even talking to our candidates. We are simply trying to reach otherwise difficult to reach candidates.

    I think this is off track.

    ?indeed many companies use acronyms, that is not unusual. There is not any deception, not even a white lie?

    These companies do not use the acronyms to deliberately disguise who they are. There is a difference.

    Eamonn

    ‘Harmless rusing should not be a problem for anyone if they want to be successful in recruiting’

    ?You can?t be successful if you don?t lie…?

    Sorry but I 100% disagree. They are two totally different sentences.

    As far as I can see anything other than ‘Hi, I’m a headhunter/recruiter and I want to take your best people out of your company and place them into my client so I get a fee’ is rusing, because like it or not that is the purpose of the call, that?s who you really are and anything else is not quite being truthful now is it.

    You can kid yourself all you like that using ambiguous words like consultant or acronyms for the real company name means your not rusing but it is. Anyone can of course recruit without using these methods because you can advertise your vacancies or have a database or use tools such as LinkedIn and that’s fine. But if any of us engage in trying to find passive candidates in companies by calling into them and not stating clearly who we are and what our true intentions are, we are deliberately deceiving the person we are calling.

    As for those of you who have a problem with using a pseudonym.

    Do you know who these people are?

    Allen Konigsberg
    Frederick Austerlitz
    Dianne Belmont
    Thomas Moore
    Taidje Kahn
    Richard Walter Jenkins, Jr.

    Do you boycott their films and label them liars? Or what about Richard Bachman? Would you still read his books if you knew he was lying about his identity?

  21. Fran:

    ‘I have a business question’ is deceptive by omission.
    The definition of rusing here, seems to be, ‘whatever I don’t do’
    But–you’ve convinced me to reach for a higher standard–my lips shall never again mislead and next time my wife asks me if she looks fat, I’ll remember and adhere to the high standards of this community, even unto death.

  22. Here are a couple of quotes that really fit this conversation
    John F. Kennedy:
    The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic

    Dare to be true: nothing can need a lie;
    A fault which needs it most, grows two thereby.
    – George Herbert, Church Porch

    Folks, seriously, if there are many of us who have consistently been able to perform this job w/o a lie, then my question, why is there ever a need? What purpose does it serve?

    By the way, still liked the main context of the article.

  23. Bill –

    The only answers to, ‘Does this make me look fat?’ is, ‘Not to me it doesn’t’. It’s in the Homeland Security Handbook.
    Jon

  24. I agree that there is nothing harmless about ‘harmless rusing.’ I bet the guys over at HP would agree with that.

  25. Bill,

    ‘I have a business question’ is not deceptive by omission. The person on the other line is not their mother. It is not a ruse or a lie, it is the truth…I do have a business question. It may be that the question is ‘do you know anyone who might be looking for a XYZ position. There is no lying about who I am but we are not obligated to tell anyone who answers the phone that we are trying to talk this person into another job or looking for referrals. If they won’t put me through based on that answer I just say thank you and look for an alternative method of contact.

    There is a big difference simply answering a question with a short answer than there is lying about who you are and what you want. Telling someone that you are from a phony (or different company) and giving a false name is lying. Still say it’s wrong.

    Bill, you and I normally agree. Please tell your wife the truth. See…she already knows.

  26. Gee, there is a lot of reaching and pulling at straws here..

    Anthony, we are going with Pen Names now? for authors? and comparing that with business.. hmm, far stretch

    Using an acronym for my name is trying to deceive??? hmm, that also is a stretch as well.. Considering that ACS is easier to say that Advanced Career Solutions.. same as ERE is easier to say than Electronics Recruiting Exchange, or gee, does anyone really know What AIRS really stands for? If someone asks what ACS stands for I will tell them.. If they want more specifics, no problem… ? gee, my website, it has ACS or ACSSEARCH all over it.

    Okay, in biting, asking a business question, how is that a lie.. A lie is a False Statement, knowing you are making that false statement. Using an acronym is Not making a false statement no matter how you sugar coat it..

    Neither is calling to discuss a business proposition.. ie to offer someone an employment opportunity that could be potentially better than someone has today. And of course we would not be able to define if that person may consider a position a better opportunity, unless we ask specific questions related to their business aptitude and experience.

    Remember an argument that Martha Stewarts lawyers used in her defense – ‘it wasn’t fair for her to be prosecuted because she lied’ – guess that didn’t wash.

    You see in the Business Federal statutes regarding Lying is making any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation – Lying is one of those rare areas in which the moral and LEGAL rulebook overlap each other quite frequently and may I also say quite Neatly as well.

    Lying treats people as means to the end you wish to accomplish, and not as ends in themselves.

    My husband, ?cause I care for his health, has been told he did look fat in his jeans, now he is on a health plan to help him lose weight, and is a much happier person for it. Seriously, he really is!

    What I find curious throughout this discussion is how there seems to be an argument to justify lying. In business, once I have been lied to, the trust will be gone, and it will hard to differentiate to me what you may consider a little white untruth versus a full blown lie; Would be difficult to know if you even know the difference. I would always wonder what drives you, honesty, loyalty, greed, indifference, fear. What would be the concern today.. Would I always have to second guess anything you say. When has someone learned to so readily that the dishonesty becomes mechanical?

    In our industry it has been proven the excuse that lying is just a necessary tool of the trade is a fallacy. Many of us have proven that is NOT the case, no matter how one tries to sugarcoat, twist or create a subjective fantasy. Lying, Misrepresentation, deception, dishonesty is considered fraud. Fraud is not essential in any way in recruiting.

    ‘When regard for truth has been broken down or even slightly weakened,’ says St. Augustine (Sisela Bok), ‘all things will remain doubtful.’

  27. Karen, you are still missing the point I think. The person being given the harmless ruse story (and it is harmless) is the switchboard operator. This person is no longer in the loop. Neither the Clients nor the Candidates get lied to. You seem to be stuck on this point. If you were the candidate or the client you have never been lied to and therefore do not need to be confused about what drives anyone. The Switchboard Operator is none the wiser and believe me, the candidate couldn?t care less anyway what name you used to the operator if it means them getting a better job. That’s why it?s harmless.

    There is no attempt or need to justify harmless rusing but rather a response to try and keep it in perspective against blown out of proportion responses. I am still yet to see any examples of how anyone else gets past the switchboard operator or gatekeeper being wholly truthful with regards to the purpose of the call.

    Being creative with your job title, or rather not admitting you?re a recruiter by calling yourself a consultant is not being truthful. Acronyms are no different to pseudonyms, especially when being used to deliberately hide the true name of the company. ACS is certainly easier to say than Advanced Career Solutions by about all of half a second I guess. But the truth is that it also disguises who you really are (a search company looking to take out their staff) when making the call. This is no less deceiving than using ARL or XYZ or ABC.

    The second point to clear up is pseudonyms for Authors (and Actors). First of all, being an Author is an absolute business so why should it not be compared to our business. It?s no stretch at all. Secondly, and the reason for the point, which I guess was also missed is why Stephen King used the pseudonym of Richard Bachman. The reason was infinitely more deceiving than what you are trying to discredit here but seems to be quite acceptable in the literacy world I guess because it was harmless.

  28. Having thought myself recently reformed and withdrawn from the addiction of these rat-a-tat-tat back-and-forth proselytizings as found in this recent discussion I watch these evolving and sometimes virulent strings with an ever widening berth of wonder. I rise from my sick-bed to challenge an accounting of what has gone on here. I am amazed sometimes at the intractable and implacable stances taken by some of the contributors and what it all means in the daily machinations of these authors lives. Why all this majesty and negative might expended over another?s advantageous process? Why all this nastiness and niggardliness toward each other? Why all the judgment; why all the nay-saying around constructive and imaginative cold calling techniques?

    The ?rusing is not a good way to conduct our business? finger-wag falls far short in the credibility range in this business and misses the real target of these discussions ? the general malaise in this business that revolves around the reluctance people seem to have over telephone work and that specifically being cold calling. There are many ways to cold call that are not rusing and it is only with practice and dedication that you?ll master them. But who wants to do THAT? Work the telephone? There seems to be some general sense that this is beneath most people. Oh really?

    There is an on-point article written by Sandy O?Dell that was noted over on recruitingbloggers.com today and it is found here:
    http://www.raintoday.com/pages/2055_restoring_respect_to_cold_callers.cfm

    Part of it says:
    ?…very few people reach out to new prospects on the phone, and even fewer do it well. The reason for this has far less to do with talent and everything to do with practice (which, of course, develops the necessary skills). For most professionals, it feels awkward, uncomfortable, and let’s face it – wrong. It no doubt conjures up smarmy images of intrusive, script-reading telemarketers interrupting your Sunday dinner.?

    All of you would do yourselves a favor by reading it.

    ?Every man’s work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.? ~ Samuel Butler (1835-1902) British writer

  29. Maureen,
    you offer a great service in sourcing I am sure, but this discussion is based upon issues in the Recruiting industry. The comments and concerns that are shared in this discussion are based upon the concerns that are affecting those who Are Professional Executive Search Consultants; The stigma that hangs over Our industry as Third Party recruiters, that comes from behaviors that are unnecessary, ineffective, unimaginative, un resourceful, and very harmful to those in the recruiting industry.

    It isn’t about concerns regarding picking up the phone, as the people who are conversing here obviously don’t have that problem..

    Are our comments judgmental? No, I don?t think so, as these comments are made by proficient Active and Righteous Practicing recruiters who due to a fidelity of professional Responsibility acknowledge our commitment to upholding the standards to our industry. Many of us have seen several recessions and managed to Maintain a successful professional business.

    We also see the harm that can come from unprincipled practices.

    Social Irresponsibility doesn?t just harm one individual, it injures the reputation of an industry that is routed on a BEDROCK of Professional Trust. Honesty and ethics Should be the CORE of this industry. It is the foundation of our Profession.

    Okay, this was a general statement ? and there is no finger pointing at any particular persons, but I will like to say something that many of us agree with

    Many individuals come into this industry learning a particular behavior, they may not agree with that behavior, they may not even be comfortable in practicing those tactics, but it is all they know. Unfortunately they then make excuses to be able to feel comfortable, and do their job, and are unaware that these practices are not necessary, as they assume it is ?the Norm? because that is what they are taught.

    What is being promoted here is that No, this it isn?t the Norm, and indeed there are MORE effective ways to be an Active Recruiter without having to lower standards, ethics, or even implement questionable tools.

    We are trying to say, hey! There is a better way! We promise .

    As an end note – Jim Stroud and I are presenting a class regarding ethical sourcing and recruiting tactics on March 1st ? We are in the process of finishing all the details. We Will be emailing those who have requested more information next week.

    This isn’t an opt to sell a class, but to say, look, there is a better way, and we are going to help show how!

    Karen Mattonen C.A.C, C.S.P
    Recruiting Standards Resources
    TEL: 858-668-3111
    FAX: 858-668-3011
    Email: contact@recruitingstandardsresources.com
    Web: http://www.recruitingstandardsresources.com
    Recruiting and Staffing Training And Resources

  30. Anthony,
    do you realize that many times if not most the Receptionist will announce via the speaker phone that Bill – John Doe of ABC is calling.. especially if the office is small..

    So, explain to us, when Bill get’s on the phone and Anthony say’s this is Anthony not john Doe, how that is only affecting the receptionist.

    Often as well, the receptionist in many organizations is not the only person to answer the phone. Not all companies have a switch board operator.

    Re the other comments.. still think you are pulling at straws my friend.. big time..

  31. The phrase ‘why all the majesty’ shouts out from Maureen’s post. Talk about a wordsmith!

    By the way, (and this may have been covered) does the gatekkeper ever lie? Does she/he ever say ‘Mr. Jones is on the phone-what is the nature of your call?’, when in fact Mr. Jones is not on the phone and actually available (and probably eager to take a recruiter’s call and thus improve his ability to send his kids to Catholic school).

    Don’t get me wrong. I have found religion and am now a reformed liar. Thank you. And I know that one lie does not deserve another. Does it? Is a boxer that fakes a left hook and hits you with a right cross lying..and thus one must retaliate in kind? Was Manning lying last Sunday when he looked right and threw left. And my favorite: Is a curveball a lie? If so, Karen, you could really help out the Houston Astros if you ‘reformed’ the San Diego Padre pitchers to quit throwing curveballs.

  32. Here’s another GREAT article I found over on recruiting.com’s blog feed. It’s one reason I swore off these discussions. I wonder why I enjoy sticking needles in my eyes. I’m gonna think about that for a while now…

    http://www.slowleadership.org/2007/02/whats-stopping-you-part-3.html

    ‘Whatever else you do, drop the habit of deficit thinking: concentrating on what?s wrong, what?s missing, and what?s not working, rather than what is. It?s a very poor way of looking at the world, and a major source of all kinds of limiting and negative beliefs.’

  33. First I hope we can agree that we commonly refer to the people that answer the phone for organizations – as Gatekeepers. But why? Answer: We are trying to subvert their duties (sneak past the gate) and they are in our path.

    1.) When you call a person at business and say you have a business question, in your mind you know they are reasonably anticipating that it is about THEIR BUSINESS- the place you’re calling. That is why you’ve chosen that specific verbiage.

    2.) You don’t say the name of your company; ….. ….. ….., because you know it will arouse suspicion and send off alarms. Please stay on track with this. ERE doesn’t call my work and get asked the purpose of the call, so an acronym is fine. We already know who they are; think of it as a nickname based on familiarity. Do you really want to attempt to convince us that these circumstances of using acronyms are comparable?

    ‘it’s far easier to say XYZ than … … …’ Seriously, if you value complete honesty in communication, it can be a little more difficult. I find this type of reasoning to be the most disturbing because it relies on what is ‘easier’ as a reason, rather than the actual and more valid point.

    I prefer to agree with Fran’s observations, found within these 1 1/2 sentences: ‘The person on the other line is not their mother.’ And, ‘…but we are not obligated to tell anyone who answers the phone that we are trying to talk this person into another job or looking for referrals.’

    Gatekeepers often have a selfish concern which is in opposition of the person whom I?m attempting to reach. NewsFlash! Gatekeepers are often paid to lie.

    But don?t kid a kidder: to be sure, in 1) and 2) these callers are attempting to deceive the gatekeeper. It is widely known that if they revealed the TRUE purpose of the call when asked, they would be denied.

    If there is a non-deceptive way to breeze by the gatekeeper, it has not been presented here. It probably never will, because in most cases there is a conflict of interest between (what level of job market information) is best for the company and the employee.

    Lastly, ? in this scenario no one is lying to a candidate or a client.

    Happy Hunting!

  34. Karen,
    This is extremely basic, but you asked.

    Allow me to explain: when Bill picks up the phone, Voila! dial tone.

    Anthony will call back some other date and ask for Bill Jones by name, and get through. No (anticipating your next statement), the operator, receptionist, whoever, is not going to get fired or disciplined for a disconnected call.

    Misson accomplished, and as Len Berman might say, ‘nobody got hurt.’

    Happy Hunting!

  35. Maureen, sorry but as the Author or the article I need to respond again πŸ™‚

    ‘So, explain to us, when Bill get’s on the phone and Anthony say’s this is Anthony not john Doe, how that is only affecting the receptionist.’

    Who else does it affect? As I said in my earlier post, 95% of the time Bill couldn’t care less what my name is and has probably not even noticed my name anyway because he is interested in what I have to say, not what my name is.

    So the only person that I told this so called dreadful lie to is the receptionist and as I also said before, it is to protect Bill. Candidates always appreciate it. I have never in over 12 years had a candidate stop dealing with me because of this.

    ‘Do you realize that many times if not most the Receptionist will announce via the speaker phone that Bill – John Doe of ABC is calling.. especially if the office is small..’

    ‘Often as well, the receptionist in many organizations is not the only person to answer the phone. Not all companies have a switch board operator.’

    All the more reason to be alert and sensitive to the candidates confidentiality. When I call him, his colleagues will not know who Bill is really talking to. However when you call him with your real name, not only does Bill’s colleagues now know exactly who he is talking to but you have now put his current job security at risk because he is talking with a headhunter on the phone.

    What approach do you think Bill would prefer? Or put it another way. If you were Bill, would you want a headhunter to announce to all and sundry that they are calling you or would you as a candidate appreciate someone respecting your own situation and using a bit of confidentiality?

    On a further point, if Bill is now talking to a headhunter whose name is now known to the receptionist or who ever else answered the phone or heard it announced on the tannoy, how quick does Bill want to get off the phone? ‘No sorry. Not interested.’ How else can he demonstrate to his listening colleagues that he is not going to talk to a headhunter? You could risk loosing a potentially interested candidate because of this and he could risk loosing his job if caught talking to you with interest by his boss.

    I think this should seriously be thought through from the candidates perspective rather than your own.

    My clients use me because I find them the best candidates. That’s it. They are not interested in how I do it as long as I do it and do it well.

    It is a bit presumptuous to think your way is always the better way. It is only your opinion. This job needs flexibility, creativity and above all courage. Whatever you claim to be your better methods, you are still deceiving the person you are calling to get them to give you names which they would never give you in a million years if they knew your true purpose.

    If you’re a true headhunter, you take people out of companies. Someone will lose out as a direct result of your activity. i.e. the company whose staff you are trying to entice away. I find all this nit picking for the sake of it and somewhat hypercritical given what we do for a living.

    Let’s get over it and move on.

  36. Abel,
    you want to use sports, find, well then focus on Steroids and McGwire, Bonds, Sosa? what about Pete Rose? What happened to them when the ‘lie’ was intercepted? What about Sliming the Ball, is that just going to be a little slap on the wrist? Or using non regulation equipment? Isn’t that all part of poor sportsmanship? didn’t that really hurt the baseball industries reputation for some time?

    Nah, let’s not go there okay? it doesn’t really fly.

    Regarding the Secretary lying to you, well, you see, don’t think that the secretary has to legally worry about fraud, deception, or misrepresentation charges for telling you the boss is on the phone – nah, BUT — but if
    you are speaking to a person in a company who has signed a non disclosure agreement, and convince them to break that agreement by revealing secretive information about that company (including names) well you are also involved as an accessory in breach of contract and on top of that, if you lied, or misrepresented yourself to gain that info, then there is the fraud.

    My question to you Abel, is why do you think it necessary to lie? do you not know how to gain information w/o doing so?

    Lying may seem easier in the start, but it only harms credibility in the long run – personally it really shows a very stron level of incompetence

    Would like to close that there is indeed a HUGE difference between Lying and just being Tactful.

  37. Anthony, I don’t think you meant to address your last post to me.

    I’m inclined to be more in your camp. I do not believe in the sin of omission and do not feel it is my obligation to pick-nose compulsively and obsessively explain why it is I am calling. I admit I am no Girl Scout but contrary to popular opine in this string the fact that I have never done full cycle recruiting in no way disqualifies me from piping in here. I have called through multitude numbers of Gatekeepers and know for a fact it is possible to get through just by asking to be let through a good percentage of the time. I keep seeing people ask for examples – there are many many examples posted throughout the various ERE discussions of the technique ? do a search on Gatekeeper in the discussions and several will come up immediately ?many from the very recent past!

    To keep coming back to this ridiculous proposition that one person?s way is right and another?s is wrong is, well, just ridiculous.

    Someone a couple years back posted a remark in a string (and I cannot find it now) here on ERE that she was a Gatekeeper her first couple years out of college and the first duty she had as a Gatekeeper was to lie. Lie to callers, visitors, whomever, that her boss ‘wasn’t available’ – it seems he was the type who never wanted to ‘receive’ calls – only make or return them at his convenience – and she at times was mightily pressed to keep some callers at bay.

    Is it honest? Who the hell cares? It’s a fact of life – business is a competition and in competition all sorts of ‘tricks’ are employed ? I loved Abel?s question, ?Is a boxer that fakes a left hook and hits you with a right cross lying..and thus one must retaliate in kind? Was Manning lying last Sunday when he looked right and threw left. And my favorite: Is a curveball a lie??

    Business is a contest ? in fact, it’s like war – it calls for the survival of the strongest. Like war, mistakes in it can be unforgiving. I cannot tell you how many hours of peoples? time are wasted every single day by lookie-loos masturbating their minds over what they fantasize they can do and what they’re more than willing to kid others they are able to do vs what they?re really able to do…the bottom line is YOU FIND A WAY to hit that curveball to minimize your losses and maximize your gains. That?s business. And the more experience you gain the more you understand this basic premise and are able to deal with it.

    ?To muster his host and bring it into danger: this may be termed the business of the general.? ~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

  38. As I mentioned earlier, there is a difference between Tact and lying..
    This isn’t about who has a better way, but it is about business, and lying in business is NEVER good..

    Seriously, this Job CAN and HAS and IS being done every day by professionals who have proven it isn’t necessary. It is really confusing to me that we are even having a discussion to explain why Lying is a Positive aspect of business.. or even trying to give it a positive twist, especially when it isn’t necessary.

    There are too many newbies who are taught this unfortunate practice, and don’t understand what the right and wrong is..

    My question though, isn’t this all hypocritical. We have No problem giving our kids a roasting if they lie to us.. yet we are condoning it in a Professional business forum?? YIKES

    As I mentioned earlier –
    Social Irresponsibility doesn?t just harm one individual, it injures the reputation of an industry that is routed on a BEDROCK of Professional Trust. Honesty and ethics Should be the CORE of this industry. It is the foundation of our Profession.

  39. Maureen, you are correct. I was in no way addressing my last post to you (apart from the first sentence) but rather Karen again.

    I was simply explaining why I personally feel the need to keep responding to the never ending stream of comments on the same point, seeing as you had raised the question?

  40. ??? you offer a great service in sourcing I am sure, but this discussion is based upon issues in the Recruiting industry.?

    Karen, actually we are ‘only’ discussing sourcing with regard to the point you are still stuck on. The last time I checked, sourcing was squarely in the recruiting industry or at least for some of us.

    I believe Maureen or anyone else on ERE is as equally qualified and entitled to comment as you and I are. Some more so. If you don?t agree with them, tough. Get over it. It doesn?t mean they are wrong.

    You use strong words in your postings that are often judgemental, critical and sometimes rude. All you really succeed in doing is put others off from posting or even bothering to read these articles.

    At some point you need to realise that your way is NOT the only way and that there are plenty of other people who work in a highly professional and ethical manner, and maybe, just maybe, are more effective. I think newbies (as you call them) want to learn all the best ways on doing this job well, not just your way.

    Using an acronym to disguise your company name is no less lying than using a pseudonym but when you do it you call it tactful. When anyone else does it, you call it lying. I call that deluded.

    Let?s use these forums to discuss and learn rather than preach.

  41. Reading this thread has been pretty comical, yet at the same time, fascinating. There is a ton of rhetoric and paragraph after paragraph of self-justification regarding which side of the fence you fall on. An easier way to handle this discussion would have been to have responders to answer in one of 2 ways:

    A. There is nothing wrong with lying and, at the end of the day, it’s good for business.

    B. There is something wrong with lying and, at the end of the day, it’s bad for business.

    The problem here deals with typical American business philosophies and too much of a focus on short-term results (whether it be reported earnings to Wall Street, or a recruiter’s fastest way to get submittals). One person on here even wrote, ‘business is war’ – again, this is an American philosophy. This type of philosophy leads to Enron and Worldcom-level scandals, in addition to other problems. Sun Tzu would probably turn over in his grave if he knew people were citing his preachings as a way to justify unethical behavior.

    I will say this, though – most recruiting firms/agencies are built on processes. My belief is that the processes we preach as owners and managers lead to sourcers lying, recruiters mispresenting candidates, etc. The responsibility has to fall on the leadership of firms to take a more holistic view on what is really going on at their firms. If you want to change individual behavior, then the most effective way to do so is through performance evaluation criteria and compensation scheme.

    Otherwise, this problem we’re all talking about here will continue to persist – even if all the people on here that think lying is ok were to leave the industry tomorrow, there will be replacements in by the end of the week. It’s like trying to wage a ‘War on Drugs’ by taking the low-level dealers off the street corner. The real problem is not even remotely touched by pulling a dealer off the block because he’s replaced within the hour. You don’t kill an octopus by cutting off a single tentacle – you have to get the head itself.

  42. Gee, Karen. I was talking about using a little ‘stealth’ to get past the gatekeeper and be able to pitch to my target..not asking the candidate to give me the Coke formula. Now you’ve worked up Josh into equating it to ‘drug dealing’ and suggesting beheadings. Man, I don’t want to be near you guy’s bus stop either.

    And I posted earlier that I am a reformed liar… thanks to this discussion. What? You don’t beleive me?

    I also think that calling it ‘tact’ IS putting lipstick on a pig.

  43. Last post on this topic:

    Josh, your statement was simply brilliant, its either A or B…

    Reading todays posts on this I had to go look for my ‘deep thinking’ hat to make sense of what folks where posting about, there was so much eloquently written…

    My main reason for posting is that I was watching TV this weekend and a great movie was showing, one I have seen many times before and is amazingly funny.. it’s called ‘Office space’. A scene that totally brought me back to this topic is where Peter Gibbons character (Ron) is driving along and describing to Jennifer Annistons character (Joanna) why the virus they launched to steal money from the company is not really wrong. I’m not trying to compare the act of stealing vs rusing but more so his failing attempt to justify it.

    Anyway its a funny movie, and I give it two thumbs up, rent it if you get a chance.

    I have recruiter training from an external vendor tomorrow, Ill ask them their thoughts on rusing…

    One last thing:

    In my company admins are gods (as I would imagine in most companies), get them on your bad side at your peril..reduce them to second rate citizens at your peril.

    I refer back to one of my favorite authors.. Stan Lee… ’nuff said…’

  44. Josh and Eamonn,
    excellent posts.. Anthony I tend to disagree again; Sourcing and recruiting are two different animals.. With Recruiting comes legal responsibillity after one has ‘sourced’ the candidate.

    There are many steps that go from Hey here is a great name.. okay I have the name – now what.

    I also disagree with your view that my posts were judgemental.. No where have I suggested any particular way is better or not..

    All I have said, is that LYING is NOT good in Business, any business, and especially in Recruiting.. if that is Judgemental, then I Okay, I will take the label and with Pride.

    Anthony, if there is No need to implement tools that will be deemed Socially Negative by the business world.. especially if it has been proven those tools to be unnecessary – then my question is why?

    Is that a judgemental question? As I see it as a fair question then I don’t understand how..

    Karen M

  45. Id say in every industry you get those, not just this…

    And ‘getting it’ is apparently relative.. obviously..

  46. Eamonn, it?s a shame you have made your last post on this topic because earlier in this discussion you said to me:

    ?My thoughts are if you can?t cold call without rusing / lying, then dont do it: or learn to do it the right way.?

    This has been bothering me for a while but I couldn?t quite work out why so I trawled back through some of our previous discussions and there it was, a posting by you and I quote:

    ARTICLE REVIEW: Ethics, Poaching and Competitive Intelligence
    posted 10/5/2005 at 9:51 p.m. PT

    Phew, its like watching a mangy dog that hasnt eaten in a long time…. it just wont let go.

    I cant believe we ( the greater ‘smaller’ ERE community) are still harping on about ‘Ethics Morals, Lies, Evild Doers, Terrorists and World Hunger’.

    Simple truth, if you want to get information as a recruiter you will tell an untruth, or circumvent the truth….PERIOD. I dont want to say…LIE as that will no doubt erupt in a plethora of postings on ethics morals and the inability of all recruiters to do their job.

    When a ‘gatekeeper’ asks you a direct question.. ‘why are you calling?’ do you give the honest answer ‘to talk to our employee about a potential job opportunity’.. I dont think so, then comes the untruth / circumvention.

    I think Deborah and Bill said it the best to a larger or lesser extent.

    Everything else is different shades of grey.

    Eamonn

    https://staging.ere.net/erenetwork/groups/posting.asp?LISTINGID={3C1901B4-9763-4888-A1D1-C37C82632E50}

    So Karen calls it tactful when she does it. You call it untruth/circumvention when you do it but you both call it lying when castigating others for doing it and here comes the ironic bit. It seems that it?s us others that are the only ones really being honest with ourselves and each other about what we sometimes do.

    I knew you was one of us really πŸ™‚

  47. And on we go????..

    Karen, Sourcing and recruiting are two different parts of the same animal. One cannot exist without the other. I do my own sourcing as part of the recruiting process. Always have done. As I keep saying, we are only talking about the sourcing part of this job, therefore the rest of the process is not relevant to this discussion anyway so why keep bringing it in? The sourcing part is totally relevant.

    ‘With Recruiting comes legal responsibility after one has ‘sourced’ the candidate.’

    Couldn?t agree more even though this is totally irrelevant to this particular discussion. NO ONE LIES TO THE CANDIDATE.

    ?I also disagree with your view that my posts were judgemental?.?

    What apart from labelling everyone that uses harmless rusing liars and incompetent.

    ?No where have I suggested any particular way is better or not.?

    Apart from where you said the following:

    What is being promoted here is that No, this it isn?t the Norm, and indeed there are MORE effective ways to be an Active Recruiter without having to lower standards, ethics, or even implement questionable tools.

    We are trying to say, hey! There is a better way! We promise .

    As an end note – Jim Stroud and I are presenting a class regarding ethical sourcing and recruiting tactics on March 1st ? We are in the process of finishing all the details. We Will be emailing those who have requested more information next week.

    This isn’t an opt to sell a class, but to say, look, there is a better way, and we are going to help show how!

    That’s twice you said it in the same post, or was it a sales pitch really?

    Karen, do you actually read what YOU write let alone what other write?

    ?Anthony, if there is No need to implement tools that will be deemed Socially Negative by the business world.. especially if it has been proven those tools to be unnecessary – then my question is why?

    Is that a judgemental question? As I see it as a fair question then I don’t understand how..?

    It?s not a true question? You mean socially negative by you. If these processes were not only necessary but extremely effective (and that?s the bit I think you really dislike) no one would use them. But they are and they do.

    In my experience when working with many consultants, the ones that fight this are the ones that can?t do it. Trying to discredit it is making an excuse not to do it. In sales we call it fear of failure and sales people that hate cold calling use a similar tactic to try to get out of doing it. By not doing it, they cannot fail.

    Lying to candidates to get them to attend interviews, lying to clients to get them to see candidates, highly unethical practices like the FirstMerit debacle are a million miles from using pseudonyms or harmless ruse stories to either get names or to be put through to people and they should not be treated the same.

    If you don?t like doing it then don?t. Good for you. But please don?t discredit those that are creative enough to use it.

  48. Ok, I’m a rookie to these ERE ‘conversations’, but this is great! πŸ™‚ Jeez, I think this topic hit a button! For the record, nobody on here is a drug dealer πŸ™‚ Well, if you are, it’s none of my business πŸ˜‰

    When I referred to ‘lying’, I was actually speaking in reference to some of the behaviors we all have seen in this industry – no wonder why we’re so despised in certain circles! I think I’d have to be drugged and coerced into making a call and saying, ‘Hi, my name is Billy Jean and I work for a local marketing firm named Zoomster. We’re doing a survey and wanted to know the name of everyone at your company, etc. . .. ‘

    Hey, I’m playing, but I’ve seen things like this. I’ve even heard of people faking an Indian accent in order to get names of ‘who to send their resume to’!

    My allusion to drug-dealing was simply to point out that the right kinds of changes start with managers and owners. The rest of this is just conversation. Don’t take it the wrong way – it’s life. Some people have the ‘juice’ to make things happen (in this case, positive changes) while the rest just hang around the water cooler and talk about it.

    A certain element of Criminal psychology involves individuals that justify their actions . . . and somehow believe that they committed no crime (at least not one worth actually being imprisoned for!) This is true from petty thiefs to child molestors to rapists – all I’m getting at is that once you’re in ‘the game’, it becomes psychologically easier/more acceptable for some to cross lines. Think about ‘book-cooking’ at publicly-traded companies (Jeez, even Monster claimed misreported earnings in excess of a quarter Billion!)

    Clinical Psychologists term this behavior ‘sociopathic’, simply indicating a limited range of human emotions. Ironically, research on Wikipedia states: ‘Although genetics is definitely a factor in a sociopath, environment is actually slightly more significant factor.’ What does this mean? It means the environment (i.e. your office and processes) is more important in creating recruiting liars than genetics.

    We should start a self-help group after this thread πŸ™‚ I can hear people now:

    ‘Hi, my name is Billy Jean . . . and I’m a recruiter turned sociopath.’

    I’m playing everyone – stop taking everything so seriously πŸ™‚ But if this bothers you deeply, then you’re probably not a real sociopath . . . so stop acting like one to your clients and candidates.

  49. Forgive me Anthony, and I must say I really thougth twice about posting again, but I am still scratching my head regarding using an Acronym for my business is a lie..
    My business Cards have the acronym ACS, my clients know me as ACS, my contracts, web page, email signature all have ACS on it.. So if I use the full name am I lying, even though my company is officially doing business also as ACS..

    Mentioned there was a better way than lying, don’t think that was still making a judgement on You or anyone else, or said Flat Out that you were a Bad person (don’t think you are by the way) because you condoned lying..

    Also NEVER once did I call anyone a Liar either..

    Now, saying that something is better did not mean that I stated this way or the other was the BEST, but generally lying does have a negative conotation to anyone doing business, so if someone can learn this job w/o having to implement the tool of lying, and still be successful, would it not be fair to reach out and say, here let’s show how?

    I will be stepping back from this string as well.. it is going on and on… but unfortunately there is obviously not going to be a resolve.. unortunately..

    Abe.. you know I liked your response.. I promise the bus stop is safe πŸ˜‰

    I wonder in closing, how many industries support lying? is it just ours? What concerns me though is when one person considers a white lie okay, where is the boundary drawn? When is it okay to lie here but not there? who makes the decision that that lie is okay, but not this one? or is a lie a lie which ultimately makes it a lie?

    Karen

  50. Karen:
    …and any others who call a ruse ‘lying’.
    Why not call it cannibalism or adultery? Those words would have as much meaning in this context as any.

    When we consider that the entire process of employment is based on deception, a deception so ingrained as to be a code unto itself, complete with language, costume, nomenclature; agreed upon by all who participate, picking on a simple ruse like not using your own name as a great evil can only be described as affectation.
    Why not advise your working candidates to tell their present boss that they are not really going to the dentist but on an interview?–and certainly no more red ties, who?s only purpose is to make a drone look like a leader (or so the books say)
    No doubt in your admirable desire to act ethically, you have drawn a line in the sand but I would suggest to you that your line is drawn in the wrong place–even on the wrong beach.

  51. We vigorously disagree on many things, Anthony, but your latest post is spot on. You go, boy.

    Now, for the rest of us: Please let the forum know (mind you, this is a serious request) if any of your clients has ever asked you (not the candidate; YOU) this question:

    ‘[Insert your first name here], we just absolutely love [insert first name of your star here]. How did you find [her] [him]?’

    I’m particularly interested in any client that has expressed concern about the ethics of the methods you used to source the A-Player it now wants to hire.

    Again, sometimes I’m a smart-aleck, but not this time. I’d genuinely like us all to know if some of our clients, no matter how few, are beginning to get worried that the sourcing methods used by their headhunters might cause them to wind up in the blast zone.

    Rules of the contest: Lift-outs (one of my clients lost a whole project team one time, and the CEO called me to ask how I?d go about engineering such a masterstroke) and blowback from Research Gone Wild (remember that Chicago thing, Maureen?) are ineligible.

  52. ?When we see men of worth, we should equal them; when we see men of contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.? ~ Confucius

  53. This is a serious answer to the serious question, my clients ask me as well as my candidates where they have been found. The primary reason is because my clients do not expect, anticipate or allow job board candidates to be presented for positions. They retain me to ‘poach’ qualified employed professionals from world class organizations and bring them to their door. Again, being serious I do not believe they are asking to determine what I said to the gatekeeper to get access but rather to ensure that I am not surfing job boards and presenting candidates they could find on their own.
    I agree with Karen as it pertains to the use of initials when indicating company name. Like her our letterhead, business cards and other official correspondance have the initials MSI instead of Management Search of Rhode Island. Under those circumstances I feel that I am being ethical and not rusing by using the company initials when asked what company I am calling from.
    Anthony Haley, your post came out on 31 January and 2 weeks later we are still trying to sort this out. Obviously this post is bringing out the best (worst) in our industry. It also indicates how unregulated and how communication is different between people and firms. Maybe its time for a stronger governing body to provide guidance on these types of issues. We should all (temp, contingency, retained) have a standard to adhere to for the sake and future of our industry.

  54. Ted,
    am responding to the serious question only, as it does deserve a serious answer.

    Yes there are many companies who do care about a recruiters recruiting process – not only because they don’t want us to use the job board candidates, but because they want to make sure they don’t get into the subjective line of fire.

    Since the Government has issued new rulings where a company is being investigated by one governing body and they see other legal issues, they can alert that other body about those issues.. and also about the other third parties involved. For example a recruiting association was being investigated By the EEO, ultimately the IRS was also called, and the EEO also got permission to investigate the Recruiter’s Clients – remember this can go the other way as well – recruiters should be concerned about their clients processes as well – as illegal requests can also hurt us.

    Ted, your comments reminds me of a landmark case where A landmark case in 1997. While retailer Montgomery Ward was in the throes of bankruptcy, rival Sears Roebuck set out to hire away its managers. That’s in accord with long-standing business practice. But when Ward sued, its attorneys uncovered in-ternal e-mail circulated among Sears employees plotting to ‘put them out of their misery’ by hiring away key Ward managers. The court ruled that one company may not hire away employees of another company with the intent of crippling that company.

    Can a recruiter be held liable, well if there was proof that they knew that their clients intent was to harm another company – yes.. Help a candidate break contracts, that can come back to haunt both recruiters and clients..

    Recently interviewed several noted individuals in this industry, including Gerry Crispin for a Radio Show that I am hosting. This topic was brought up, and was discussed many times. The show will be up in a few weeks, and Gerry had some very insightful things to say based upon the perceptions of the employer

    One other place to find much about what the clients say on this topic is to go to shrm and their forum. Some could care less, but more and more are beginnging to feel the concerns due to the new regulations.. especially with Sarbanes and OFCCP

  55. Anthony, did you say poach? Oh no. You’ve done it now. That word is the only one on ERE more feared by some than the word lying. Good luck πŸ™‚

    On a more serious note, Clients that check to see you are surfing job boards are not worth having. If they could find candidates on their own they would not be using you. The fact is they can’t so they go external. Whether you search or use a job board should be irrelevant to them. I would never tell my clients where or how I find candidates and like Ted has suggested I have never ever been asked. It’s all part of the mystery and frankly what we get paid for.

    By the way this post is only long because of the two words ‘harmless ruse.’ Anyone one would think we were planning to bring down the government.

  56. Anthony, the word ‘poach’ is an HR term just like on boarding etc. It describes providing clients with ‘passive’ finalist’s to fill very specific positions within their table of organization. As far as your thoughts about how it should not matter where the finalist comes from I offer this: We represent organizations that have a choice in who they want for a outsourced search provider. Our client list is well known in the global Fortune 500 world and represents best in class organizations that you are very familiar with and perhaps even represent yourself. In order to separate ourselves from the thousands of other firms that seek to do business in our space we may do things that are not part of a typical firm. For example, we believe that as an extension of HR we should and have an obligation to provide a comprehensive report of search. This document details our efforts to include the companies we have infiltrated, who we have spoken to and their status. Although many clients do indeed ask where this finalist came from, we also provide it as part of an overall report. As an engagement fee firm we are paid up front and have an absolute obligation to provide the client a report on exactly where our time and their money went. This is part of our commmitment to continuous improvement as an ISO 9001:2000 registered search firm we are always striving to be better at what we do.
    I do not want this to be a commmercial for MSI (used the initials), but rather to indicate that the increasing sophistication of our HR and Hiring Manager partners require a very focused approach to search. Why pay us 25-35% for a search when you can pay 20-25% to an agency to surf the boards and call internal databases. When business developing I usually offer a monster/database search for about 15-20% as a means of separating that type of search approach to our ISO registered signature service approach.
    No, the term ‘harmless rusing’ did not take down a government but I believe what you are seeing is a line in the sand. It is very easy to ‘harmlessly ruse’ as a means of getting past a gatekeeper, and perhaps it can be justified within the context of a confidential search. It is when the harmless ruse becomes more and you have recruiters suggesting they are from the SEC or Microsoft in order to be put through. Like a weed a harmless ruse can turn into a beanstalk where everything goes and ethics get thrown out the window. For the future of our industry, we must be firm and fixed in our resolve to do this job credibly and with ethics.
    This post is longer than I expected, I did not mean to get on a soapbox, I have heard too many horror stories from clients about other firms in the industry.

  57. I’m a very infrequent poster, and I’d like to keep it that way & keep myself out of the ‘rusing wars.’ So I’m only going to chime in this once.

    Karen, over the years I’ve been an ERE member I’ve read many of your posts regarding business ethics, honesty, the pitfalls of lying and deceit, etc. I don’t agree with everything you have to say, but I respect your viewpoints and I’ve come to respect you, too.

    Until now, that is. That’s because an entire paragraph of your post is copied word for word from an article in ‘Entrepreneur’.

    Here’s a link to a site where the article’s hosted:
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0DTI/is_9_28/ai_65283522/pg_2

    I realize you’re not writing these posts for material gain, but the article from the Entrepreneur is copyrighted. Using this writing in any forum without citing your source is plagiarism. This makes me wonder how many of your other posts have material that’s pulled from other sources.

    I am dismayed that someone who goes on and on about how it’s wrong to ruse, wrong to lie, and wrong to ‘poach’ would blatantly steal – yes, steal – writing from another author. When you don’t cite your sources, you are trying to pass writing off as your own. This is rusing, this is lying, and this is a form of ‘poaching.’

    As a writer myself, I view any kind of plagiarism as a serious offense. Maybe others don’t feel the same way, but you can bet I’ll be skipping over most of your posts in the future. Don’t tell me it’s wrong to steal or wrong to lie when you’re going to lie to me by pretending you’ve written something you haven’t.

  58. Im down in chilly mobile AL doing some honest recruiting today :). Anthony, I dont see where I said ‘I’….

    Yes, I am a recruiter but I dont lie and I dont ruse, I dont honestly think I know how to as that was never part of the environment I worked in.. I dont see the need.

  59. Joshua:Even though you are just a ‘rookie’, your ‘playful’ posts suggest that you know something about psychology and criminology… I am impressed on how much ground Mercer covers in their MBA program. Your recruitment skills may also be formidable..I cannot comment on that.

    We would like to know more about your findings on how genetics plays only a wee bit smaller role than environment in the behavior of ‘recruiting liars’. And about the psychometric profile of such a person.

  60. Lauren
    the less than the full Paragraph that you speak of

    ‘ While retailer Montgomery Ward was in the throes of bankruptcy, rival Sears Roebuck set out to hire away its managers. That’s in accord with long-standing business practice. But when Ward sued, its attorneys uncovered in-ternal e-mail circulated among Sears employees plotting to ‘put them out of their misery’ by hiring away key Ward managers. The court ruled that one company may not hire away employees of another company with the intent of crippling that company. ‘

    Had been quoted several times by me on this this Forum on more than one occassion, with the link included. The formal link of the 4 PAGE article is http://www.entrepreneur.com/magazine/entrepreneur/2000/september/31548.html

    Now I may have forgotten to include the article link, but since it seemed unnecessary to include a full article that was not prevelant to the subject that was being mentioned, there didn’t seem to be a need, especially since what I quoted was ONE Paragraph taken from 17 — but if that seems to be a problem, I will make sure to include from here on out.. so readers, please don’t mind the continual strings

    May I also note that Plagerism is taking credit for an article in full aspect!

  61. Lauren,
    I would also like to clarify something else, very rarely do I ‘forget’ to post the link or say quoted to when I have cut and paste something from an article, and since you have read many of my posts, I am sure you have noted that.

    Would like to clarify something, that even with my oversight in not providing the link for the PARAGRAPH That had been cut and pasted – never once did I take Credit for that comment, nor did I attempt to paraphrase, as I had not intended to take credit, nor was the post utilizing their information or story in full. I really don’t think that the author will have a problem or even have legal standing due to the Content of the material I posted was in no reflection to their article.

    May I also note that the original article does NOT have a copyright infringement, and does allow for print or email to another individual.!

    As I mentioned in my previous post I will take extra care to make sure I mention the link and/or information (as I have always tried to do, previously, but I am sure I have slipped up on other occassions, so please forgive my rash judgment) but please remember that I am also human, and am apt to make mistakes..

    by the way, I am not a writer, don’t try to pretend to be one, don’t play one on TV.. just someone who posts because I CARE!

  62. I had a very pleasent Conversation with Lauren. Nice lady, and she explained to me why she posted what she had. At first I was upset, but after reconsideration, totally can understand where Lauren was coming from

    Yes, though my oversight had not been intentional, indeed the appearance was one that could appear to be dishonest. With my drawing a line in the sand about honesty to what may seem extremely unreasonable then to have the appearance of what may appear as being insecere, obviously could draw a line of fire.

    So, with that, I wanted to let everyone know, my intent was in the right place, even though it appeared elsewhere.. And Lauren, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I will indeed to make sure I do not forget to mention the quote in the future..

    Sometimes in the haste of writing or posting these things may happen.. Anyways, like I have mentioned before, mistakes will happen, and I am human, believe me I make them a lot.. but, like now, will admit when I may have erred in my judgement..

    Thanks for your patience..
    Karen

  63. Anthony, please feel free to call me Tony to avoid any confusion for readers.

    I personally don?t have an issue with the word poach. I was just being sarcastic as you will find out if you read back on previous articles on this subject.

    When I said it doesn?t matter where candidates come from, I did not mean which company they come from but rather the method in which they were found. (job board or headhunted. etc..) We do share with our clients which companies the candidates are coming from but not the method in which we find them even though we only use search. It doesn?t matter to them as long as they get the candidates. This also avoids confusion if for example we find a candidate through headhunting that happens to have posted their details on Monster. Does your client refuse to pay the fee in this instance?

    Like you we have been through the process of providing reports of activity but we stopped it because clients end up controlling you. We prefer now to just present reports if requested, on the candidates we submit for interview only. I would say don?t give too much away about your business activity, but rather just focus on presenting quality candidates. That?s all the client should really be interested in. That?s also why we always prefer to deal with the hiring managers direct rather than HR because HR are the ones that want to control you. The hiring managers just want results.

    You mentioned about harmless rusing and how this can evolve into people suggesting they are from SEC or Microsoft. This is my point in the original article. That?s why I differentiated between making up a name or company rather than pretending to be someone that exists and/or from a company that actually exists. I agree wholeheartedly that this is wrong and I did say that in the original article. That?s why I think one or two people have perhaps got carried away, saw the word ruse and responded without reading the article properly.

    Nice try Eamonn by the way.

  64. 66 reviews. Are we, like, approaching a record yet?

    ‘You say tomato, I say tomaahto ? let’s call the whole thing off!’

    πŸ˜‰

  65. Yes Ted it does end up on the report of search next to your first initial and last name. Instead of suggesting anything concerning a daughter or family, I will indicate ‘Not Interested-Relocation’. I do not believe that I have ever been asked by a candidate to keep it confidential as it pertains their desire and if they did I probably would put confidential instead of their name. I would also let the client know and if the client requested the information I would relinquish it. As an engagement fee firm our business model indicates that because the company (our client) pays the search fee our obligation is not to a candidate but to the client. Since our allegiance and obligation is with a client vs. a candidate we are ‘firm and fixed in our resolve to do this job credibly and with ethics’. Our credibility and ethics are focused on the client side because they are the ones that pay the bill and need to be satisfied.
    Ted, not sure what this has to do with Anthony Haley’s article but I wanted to respond respectfully to your question.

  66. So you submit to your clients, ‘…a comprehensive report of search. This document details our efforts to include the companies we have infiltrated, who we have spoken to and their status.’

    So, let’s say I take your recruiting call. I tell you I’m not interested in your client’s opportunity because I can’t relocate right now. But I add, ‘Your client is exactly who I’ve always wanted to work for. Call me in a year, because by then my daughter will be a few months away from graduating high school and I’ll be ready to consider a move. PLease keep this in confidence, of course.’

    Does all that wind up in your report to your client? Next to my name?

    ‘For the future of our industry, we must be firm and fixed in our resolve to do this job credibly and with ethics.’

    Couldn’t agree more.

  67. Oh my stars and garters….

    If you go back and read the string Tony, and not just pull one out of… well out of thin air :)youll get an idea of what I was commenting on.

    I actually think that was the string where you were lambasting Lou Adlers support of John Sullivan when John was recognising Merit Banks (somewhat) gray area of recruiting practices.

    Swings and roundabouts eh… good try though..

    Maureen, that one may have close to a record…

    I best leave this one be now… the discussion is rolling downhill

  68. I love this forum (the only one I attend).
    While James checked 60 mil. blogs assuring us they are updated weekly, Marueen counts reviews, & Karen explains it isn’t dishonest for me to walk out of my dentist’s office by mistake with a pen advertising Viagra (the pen was found by my granddaughter), I won’t defend my lucky streak with a minimum of brains, personality, and experiences (John, you are so right on this one).

    Hey, I love you ‘guys’too!
    Jon

  69. So here we are 73 posts later and like the caterpillars in the article we have been going round and round mistaking activity for accomplishment. See how easy it is? We all got sidetrack by one aspect of the article. Harmless Rusing or as some prefer to call it for effect, lying. This was not what the article was about but it demonstrates the point perfectly of being sidetracked into mistaking activity for accomplishment because despite all the activity, the only thing we have accomplished it to arrive back at the beginning.

    As I said in the article, harmless rusing where no one is misrepresented, no one gets hurt and generally when no one even knows it happening, should not be a problem. As I then went on to say in response to some of the critics, we all lie at some point in our lives, whether it?s to protect someone, as in this case the candidates confidentiality or many other reasons.

    Often we don?t realise we are doing it. For example exaggerating, bragging or even making out that you know about someone and their company when clearly you don?t, as demonstrated in one of the early responses. But we still went round and round.

    It really is not black or white but as Eamonn did say previously (honest), there are different shades of grey πŸ™‚

    I couldn?t help but notice Karen?s latest posting in her group and I really struggled for about a nano second whether to mention it or not, but Karen now says the following:

    ?I guess in many ways we all lie don’t we? When I am trying to get off the phone with the telemarketer and say sorry on another call, even if I am not.

    There is the white lie to help ‘protect’ someone?s feelings, salvage relationships, as a safety measure – and then there is the downright straight lie to gain an advantage over another.. there really is a lot of Grey in between?

    As we say in England, Halle ? bloody – lujah.

    Now hopefully we really can move on.

  70. Hi Anthony
    Thanks for mentioning the post, but let’s not get carried away.. I am not condoning lying in any way, but am really wondering about the Huge Line in the Sand I have drawn.. What is reality and what isn’t.. what is hypocritical and what isn’t.

    Also there were comments made in that post about intentional versus unintentional lies.

    Still believe that in Business, and yes personal life, the best policy is to always do ones best to maintain honesty as a policy..

    Still think you wrote an awesome article by the way!

    Karen

  71. Anthony:

    Please don’t end this thread and leave us with only Briitany’s breakdown. It’s been the best in years.
    Let me say that I admire your patience and good humor in the face of absurdity. I aspire to your grace.

  72. Can I make it 76?

    It amazes me that so much time has been spend defending a position that apparently doesnt need defending… and I do believe theres a world of difference between saying you washed you hands when you went to the bathroom (when you didn’t) and actively lying every day in the job that you do and not seeing an issue with it because your ‘only lying to the receptionist’.. how many lies is that a day I wonder :), certainly not the occasional little white one, right?

    But yes, time to move on, nothing will be resolved, folks will not change their stance based on these 76 (or whatever the numbers end up at.)

    Bill, although you may make light of this thread, many see this as the ground floor issue of the problem with exective search folks. Take it for what you will….

  73. Bill Wagner,

    Will you marry me?

    Now seriously, this statement is my way of throwing out a sincere compliment to your articulate way of writing. Does anybody out there think I was lying?

  74. Hi Deborah:

    If Bill will not marry you, I will marry you.

    I am free on Thursday in the PM if you want to do it at that time.

    Best,

    Howard Adamsky

  75. Howard,
    Chivalry lives!!! ERE has officially become a match-making website. Not having heard from Bill, who is obviously either checked out of this discussion or intimidated by my question, I am tempted to accept your gracious proposal.! Who says our discussion activity on this website doesn’t count?!!

    πŸ˜‰ Not sure how my husband will take this…

  76. Yeahhhhh!

    I need to also thank you, Howard. Deb and I got into this horrible fight over Bill during the weekend. Since, as she points out, he’s gone silent everywhere, it appears you’ve saved the day in many ways.

    Since the flattery was because of Bill’s gracious words, does this then mean that you have an article about leadership we’ll get to read on Thursday, Howard?

    Viva

  77. Since the gist of many of these posts falls to ‘the norm’ as rationale for action, why not look at Wikipedia’s definition of the word ruse: A ruse is an action or plan which is intended to deceive someone.

    My 15 years in the business have been notably absent of ruse in recruiting talent for my clients. We all have different thresholds of rationalization for our behaviors.

    I can’t get behind rusing. I don’t advocate it, and will not accept it with the recruiters with whom I work.

    Rusing is activity. Sourcing and recruiting without willful deception is accomplishment.

  78. Todd:

    When I read your post on rusing (they made them do it at Abu Ghraib!) I thought is was just another ‘butter doesn’t melt in my mouth’ post from the great moralists who inhabit this exalted sphere when not feeding the cat.
    Then, I noticed your title and employer and reflected that rusing, for you, would be pointless, counterproductive and incredibly dumb.
    It’s easy to moralize on issues where you have little stake.
    I, for example, never, ever commit adultery with Angelina Jolie, nor drive my car more than 100 mph over the speed limit, nor will I continue to drink after I’ve lost consciousness.
    And this will be accounted to me as righteousness to all generations.
    Have to go, must run down to the corner. The Lighthouse School has recess now. So many blind people to misdirect and so little time!

    Bill Wager
    Hunter Green
    40 Exchange Place
    NY, NY 10005
    212-742-0990
    billwager@hunter-green.com

  79. Todd, I completely agree with you and commend you for stepping up to the plate. At the end of the day, I have no problem looking in the mirror . . . and I can tell that you don’t either – and it’s because integrity is about doing the right thing when nobody is looking.

    I hear so many recruiters tell me, ‘But that’s the way I was taught’, like this is carte blanche to engage in unethical activity. At the end of the day, if you’re shady, you know you are. There are no excuses you can throw out there to justify this behavior to yourself . . . or anyone else.

    I can imagine an unethical recruiter having a conversation with their mother, ‘Mom, I have something to tell you – I know you worked hard to raise me, but I find a way to toss out all those values when I go to work. My manager taught me that doing the right thing in staffing is for losers — individuals that don’t want to be big-billers. I’m just a shady person . . . and I love it.’

    Todd, again, kudos for stepping up and saying you believe in what’s right and that you don’t tolerate what isn’t. I am the same way and wish I saw more of it at the managerial level in this business.

  80. Bill,
    I don’t understand your comments to Todd.. Actually, Todd’s comments actually validate that Ruse Calling Is NOT necessary for someone to have Tenure in this industry AND Still be successful.

    Personally I think many of the arguments Pro Ruse Calling are cop outs.. and mainly due to Fear. It is the only way I know how to do this job.. the only way I was taught.. and though I am not comfortable, it seems easier.. so I am going to Defend this tooth and Nail.. Holding this conviction tight to my chest, no matter how obtuse!

    Bill, from our conversations, I know you are a Great guy, yes even will say, believe in Ethics very strongly.. so, please understand the following questions are one of curiosity more than anything.. why do you defend ruse calling so vehemently? What do you see as the point in it? Especially when it is NOT even a too that is Necessary to do this job, and do it well>.

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