I’m ANGRY… and you should be too!

We’ve all seen the occasional Tweet or LinkedIn status update that has really pi$$ed us off… and sometimes opinionated dogma rears its ugly head in the form of a Blog so biased that you feel compelled to leave a comment venting your derision and indignation… ok… enough of the stupid big words… I’m about to get to the point.

bs2Last week there was an article published by Newscorp™, that appeared on the landing page for news.com.au  – covering The Australian, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), The Herald Sun (Melbourne) and The Courier-Mail (Brisbane) – just to name a few. This article – written by Victoria Craw – was perhaps the single most narrow-minded, sectarian and warped piece of crap I have ever come across in relation to our great industry… maybe she had a deadline… and nothing of quality to go with… I don’t know?

You would imagine that a journalist would exercise balance, check sources, investigate claims, maybe get a counter-opinion… wouldn’t you? Instead our friend Victoria has published a piece that apparently ‘blows the whistle’ on the true goings on in our industry – based on the testimony of what can only be described as a weak and anonymous source…

Sorry… some of you may not have had the misfortune of reading this drivel as yet… so … here goes… Former recruitment agent spills details on what really goes on in the industry…

It makes me feel dirty even providing a link to the article…

Now… anyone who has read one of my blogs before would know that I am an unashamed advocate for the Recruitment Industry… but I have (on more than one occasion), let fly about some of our failures… the cowboys… the fact that we have a huge responsibility to both our candidates and clients… the over-reliance (in some quarters) of activity based KPI’s… BUT… I stop short of allowing ONE person to voice a one-sided and prejudiced viewpoint that unfairly clouds the broader community’s understanding of WHAT WE DO WELL!

Ok… let’s look at a couple of points from the article.

  1. Former Agent – who worked at THREE different agencies, and didn’t want to be named… Ummmm… now there’s a credible source (my last statement was dripping with more sarcasm than a Big Mac™ drips with special sauce)… So, here we have a Former Agent… you have to ask yourself… why? Here we have a Former Agent who has worked at 3 different agencies… again… why? Finally, here we have a Former Agent who has worked at three different agencies and didn’t want to be named… now that’s just weak and… well… wrong.
  2. On fees… “…It’s a lot of money for what is sometimes just resume flicking… you’re thinking ‘oh my god I just billed $15,000 from this candidate I’ve never met who happened to email me…’” Firstly, how often does this happen? And secondly, on the rare occurrences that it does happen, it makes up for the hours and hours of unpaid work the people in our industry undertake daily with no reparations at the conclusion. Over 85% of all work undertaken by recruiters goes unpaid! – FACT!
  3. There are so many things I take umbrage to in this article… ‘Fleecing people out of their pay…’ BS!… ‘Fake jobs to drum up business…’ BS!… In fact, I struggle to find any truth at all in this article.

bs1Look… I know that our industry is an emotional one. Hell… we are dealing with the livelihoods of individuals all of the time. We are working with clients to help them grow in a profitable and most times critical way on a daily basis. It is our expertise that helps define the labour market. We advise to government on policy direction in occupational, health & safety, pay rates, migration & visas etc. God Damn it we are a profession that adds immense value to the wider community! And I for one will be stuffed if I will allow a few bad eggs (and we do have them), a weak, pathetic whistle blower who doesn’t have the decency to comment on their back story (or even provide their name), and a journalist who produces a widely read article that is so ill-informed, so biased and so prejudiced to affect our amazing industry – my industry!

I invite you to comment below with your own view… or better still contact the journalist directly @victoria_craw (on Twitter) or victoria.craw@news.com.au And if you do choose to stand up for your Industry – or support the views expressed in the article, please add those comments below… I’d love to keep this discussion going!

Craig Watson

46 thoughts on “I’m ANGRY… and you should be too!”

  1. I think this article has fired up a lot of recruiters – no doubt there are a minority of agents that do some of that, but they do not last, as it appears this one hasnt.
    Id like to see Victoria spend some time in an agency to see all the hard work that recruiters do to meet thier clients and candidates needs.

      1. has anyone emailed her this article? Be interested to see her response to this, and all the comments its had across linked in…

  2. Hi Craig – I also read this rubbish, got all fired up – then thought why would I waste good time worrying about a very badly written, unsubstantiated piece of dribble that is what I would call lazy journalism.
    Keep writing your interesting pieces that give information and criticism when deserved and don’t waste your valuable time.
    Enjoy your blog very much
    Regards Annette Law

  3. This is what I sent to Victoria:
    How dare you call yourself a journalist!

    An analogy for you:

    We REFERENCE CHECK candidates to verify their claims of work experience………………….
    Did you check the veracity of this so called ‘agents’ claims?…………………that would be a requirement of a good journalists’ job wouldn’t it?

    So go back to Uni and update your skills and before you tar an entire industry with the same brush…………DO YOUR JOB PROPERLY!!!! You insulted and derided the many to satisfy your grandstanding!

    I hope you never need a job and just so you know…I recruit Journalists…………..ethical ones!
    Julie

  4. No wonder this ‘Agent’ worked at 3 agencies and is now retraining for a different career… They should have been trained to be a better Recruiter…. uneducated, unethical and unbelievable are just some words that spring to mind!

  5. Craig, you’re a bit late! Several of us have already blogged about this and emailed / tweeted Victoria 🙂

    But, that is beside the point…the thing is there was nothing constructive in the criticism, it was pure belligerence, fiery animosity. As you said, the industry has some issues – indeed, I am critical of aspects of it – but you and I and others, when critical, are not doing so out of spite but out of a genuine desire to see the industry improve, grow and continue being relevant.

  6. What a load of rubbish! It seems our feeble, inexperienced Journo does not see herself moving across to another Publisher, for if she where she would be very careful of whom she chose to recruit her into her ” professional” new career! Never burn bridges and never talk about something that you know nothing about with such conviction!
    Be very careful! We remember !!
    And yes, most of our hard work goes unnoticed and unpaid unless it’s retained. We are the true movers and shakers in our industry.
    Take note!

  7. I can understand your frustration Craig – I emailed Victoria the following:
    Hi Victoria

    Wow – Well you have certainly upset a lot of people with your article relating to the recruitment industry.

    Prior to starting to work with Ravens Recruitment 13 years ago, I worked in a newsroom. I know how keen journalists are to get “the story” – but unfortunately in this case, I think you’ve missed “the true story” and in the process potentially tarnished the reputation of an entire industry.

    The “true story” is that recruitment generally is about doing what I love and that is help people. Both business owners and job seekers need unbiased assistance from someone who knows their chosen industry.

    Of course at the end of the day recruiters have to eat, so there are fees applicable for our time and effort. And can I say there is a lot of time and effort that doesn’t get paid for as we endeavour to secure the best opportunity possible for everyone we work with.

    Honestly Victoria – I think you should be posting an apology to your readers for this misleading story. It was unsubstantiated information being provided by one single (obviously disappointed) anonomyous ex-recruiter.


    Debbie Capuano
    Recruitment Consultant | Raven’s Recruitment Pty Ltd, RCSA Corporate Member

  8. Tweet has been sent to Ms Craw for perhaps the laziest and overly prejudiced piece of ‘journalism’ I have read all year. A tired rehashing of industry criticism’s that offer the reader absolutely nothing constructive whatsoever. Poor in every sense and thanks for rightly firing up Craig!

  9. When reading this poorly written article, I to was outraged! Journalism is about the truth and providing an impartial view point. Obtaining one viewpoint from a clearly dishonest, untrustworthy source is hardly researching her topic in depth. What in the world made her think that writing an article like this would provide her with any professional credibility. This certainly hasn’t hone her career any good at all.

  10. The Australian is a terrible newspaper, Craig. As with all of Murdoch’s newspapers, it’s filled with lies, half-truths and biased agenda-pushing brain pollution. Don’t read it, but mourn for the fact that so many people consider it a valid source of information.

  11. The original article is gutter journalism. I might write my own article “Former junior editor spills details on what really goes on in the industry”. I’ll include unnamed sources and make wild and unfounded accusations. Then I’ll publish the article without listing an author.

  12. Putting all the righteous indignation aside for a moment, the fact remains that much of what’s expressed in the article does go on – we just don’t know to what extent.

    If any of you have worked the other side of the fence, you’d know that these kinds of behaviours are not as uncommon as you might think.

    What might be more interesting would to be examine for a moment what drives these behaviours. Craig’s comment; “Over 85% of all work undertaken by recruiters goes unpaid” starts to give you a clue as to the answer to that one.

    The real problem is that the vast majority of recruiters spend very little of their time actually recruiting. As Craig’s 85% comment demonstrates, what most agency recruiters do spend most of their time doing is prospecting for business and operating on the fringes of most of their clients recruitment strategy. In fact, using the word ‘client’ is a bit of a stretch in a lot of cases.

    When working to such low success rates, it’s inevitable that it will motivate some agencies into cutting corners and doing/saying whatever it takes to make deals.

    1. Leave it to Mitch to have the last word!

      The frothing at the mouth of the recruitment community to this article has been extraordinary; BUT it is just the recruitment community who are grabbing their pitchforks and lighting torches. No candidate is going to be dissuaded from applying to a job through a recruiter because of this article and a client isn’t going to suddenly not let a recruiter work on a role because of it.

      Mitch is completely right though – these behaviors frequently happen because of the contingent and monetised nature of recruitment and I sense the moral outrage sweeping through the recruitment agencies of Sydney, Melbourne and London is less about misdirected accusations and more about not wanting to face up to uncomfortable truths.

  13. She then went and posted on twitter about the signs of being in a dead end job – I replied saying hopefully you won’t ever need a recruiter to get out of said job! Tarnishing everyone with one rubbish recruiters brush!

  14. What a load of garbage, So he is basically saying that “I am leaving the industry but this is what I used to do to rip people off” ?

    There are cowboy recruiters just like there are cowboy lawyers, real-estate agents, tradies and the list goes on and on. It is human nature and has nothing to do with the industry.

  15. Well, this has made it over to the UK now. Different Country same lazy journalism. So I take it if she was ever Head Hunted by one the country’s finest she would not even have a conversation as per her morals?? Disappointing!

  16. Thanks for the heartfelt jump to our defense. I however think that a positive spin on the article is that the fact that someone engaging in those behaviours is at best highly unethical and deceitful calling to question their ability or credibility to be quoted in the first instance. Your honour they were prepared to lie then, how are we supposed to believe they are telling the truth now…?! Furthermore, I thank this rogue EX AGENCY HOPPING industry filth, it’s the fact their current Emloyment status is just that “NOT” which proves we truly do know what we are doing in getting rid of filth like that who even fleetingly entertain such behaviour. Thanks victim but my guess is you did this all by your clever self. Now back to working tirelessly and vigilantly for our Workforce.

  17. Craig & others – settle down…..

    You cant possible say you have never seen or heard of these types of things happening in our industry.

    I have absolutely been instructed by management to post up fake jobs on SEEK to “use up the monthly allocation” and “dig up some new candidates”. I have certainly worked for and seen an agency pay contractors $25ph and charge the client $60ph and I have also seen many, many consultants make big perm placements without ever meeting or seeing a candidate.

    I think the criticism of the writer is a bit unfair as whilst not all those tactics are ethical or even encouraged in our industry, they do happen and still do happen on a daily basis. Perhaps the only error of that article was the writer didn’t also provide some alternative comments from others who disapprove of such tactics.

    I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years now and I think the ethical agencies are starting to now outnumber the cowboys from the 90’s – early 2000’s and that’s a good thing. BUT – let’s not try to sound as though we are all angels here as we are still operating in a very dubious market marred by many who still do act & operate like this which I can absolutely verify from first hand experience.

    1. Hi Frank, I think we’re entitled to jump up and down when someone generalises that the entire industry acts like this.
      Next time your management tells you to post fake ads – it is your responsibility to tell them that they are acting illegally.
      You say you have seen agencies working on 100+% margins? I’ve never heard of that…. anywhere.
      Simple facts are that the vast majority of our industry are honest, ethical and hardworking – and no matter how you dress it up we shouldn’t be tainted by those that aren’t…
      Cheers
      Craig

      1. I agree with you Craig that the vast majority – now – is honest & ethical, but certainly not all.

        And I can absolute assure you there are agencies still running at obscene margins as I have seen this first hand. One of them is even a major name in this industry with many offices around the country in each capital city and for fear of any ramifications, I obviously wont name names, but it does still happen.

        They cant get away with it with their major clients, but for the smaller SME’s, it is a practice of “go as high as you can as you wont get much repeat work from them” mentality. A specific example I can quote is an IT contractor currently getting paid $25ph and the client is being charged at $63ph. The contractor is fresh from overseas & the agency has him on a gradual increase scale (i.e. – $25ph currently, $27ph after six months, $29ph after 12 months etc….). The contractor is happy with that as (a) he knows no better, (b) he feels he is getting an increase each six months and (c) he believes (falsely) that the agency is working in his best interest. This strategy was given to the consultant to implement from senior management !

        I’m certainly not saying that this goes on everywhere, but it does still happen in pockets of agencies around the country. Consultants cannot possibly tell the Exec team that this is unethical as they will quickly be removed from the agency. Imagine if you were to interview a freshly terminated consultant who tries to explain to you the “it wasn’t my fault” line – first impressions are not good (unless you already know of the dubious business practices of the agency he/she has just departed from).

        With today’s technology, I have also seen (and still do on a daily basis) many consultants pride themselves in large perm fees without ever meeting or seeing a candidate. Interviews are done via email or on the phone, the candidate goes to the interview to meet the client and the consultant hopes no surprises come up in between.

        All I’m saying is just because we haven’t heard of these things or seen them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Yes, it’s a blight on the industry and brings the rest of us down and some of the “get a fee at any cost” tactics are deplorable. As I mentioned below, I certainly think these type operations are slowly diminishing, but they are still out there – unfortunately – and these type of articles will always get a run in the media whilst they still exist.

  18. I would love the ‘former recruiter’ to have the balls to actually say who he/she was. It’s a cowardly act to rubbish an industry without putting your name to it! to me it sounds like just another failed recruiter who couldn’t take working in an environment which can be pretty stressful.

    Having worked in search, contingency, RPO and in-house I believe I have a well rounded view of our industry. I’m the 1st to admit there are plenty of agencies I would recommended be shut down for their approach to candidates etc… but you should have seen what it was like 10/12 years ago!

    I’m proud to work as a recruiter and take my job seriously, sure when I was in an agency commission helps 🙂 but ultimately if you didn’t get the right person for the right company you’d have to pay back the money via a rebate scale anyway.

    This ‘former recruiter’ was either given bad training and advice or was just another recruiter thinking they can make a quick buck with no long term vision.

    And…

    to the ‘journalist’ I would have thought you would have done more research and maybe interviewed more than one recruiter! I can give them just as many names of good recruiters as I can bad – maybe then you would have the real view – or here’s a wild idea – actually go and spend a day or two with an agency.

    1. I think what might be an interesting exercise would be to identify the tactics/behaviours that clients dislike, but that agencies think are perfectly reasonable.

      That’s the area where real insight (not to mention change) could be achieved.

      I suspect what would sit at the heart of that would be a list of behaviours and tactics that don’t fit with the best interests of BOTH the client and the agency.

      If I was in charge of a recruitment trade body, I would spend some serious money on doing that kind of research.

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