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Generalizing (Spam 4)

(January 11, 2007)
 I don't think it's an ethics question at all. When Jason Davis says (emphasis added):

You know, the great thing about recruiting is that you get 20-33% fees. This translates into good money.

This means that you do what you need to to to make the deal.

This whole spam discussion that that is going on here reminds me of the conversations about ethics and recruiting and what is the proper way to recruit and is it ethical or not. You know what? none of this conversation will change anything.

The clients don't ask if the perfect candidate you just submitted came to you via an aggressive mail campaign to people you hardly know or did you lie to the receptionist in order to get the candidate or did you break into the phone system in order to get what you need.

Yes you may p---- off the candidates but the truth is, recruiting is tough and most times when you place a candidate you never even get a thank you so to set off on your daily travels with the mindset that I will be a good person (recruiter) and obtain no information via questionable methods is just wasted on recruiters who come to work to make placements. (Recruiting.com)

He's articulating one of several boundary lines in the Recruiting industry. People who are willing to do whatever it takes regardless of the collateral damage are an important part of every ecosystem. And, they do get paid very, very well.

A certain subset of every business operates with these ground rules.

The question here is not whether the tactic is ethical, it is whether the approach causes damage to the employment brand. And then, the question is whether or not the damage to the employment brand outweighs the benefit of the hire. Brands and money are fundamentally interchangeable. We simply think that a good vendor works to minimize his/her financial impact on the client.

And sometimes, those customers are not smart enough to know the consequences of what you're doing.

There are many types of recruiters. Generalizing about one tactic being in or out for all recruiters in all settings is kind of silly.

It's silly to argue that spamming is always the best method. Of course it isn't.

At the same time is is really important to understand the consequences of your actions (whether or not your clients do). If spam can be damaging to reputations and brands, how do you determine when to use it? If it's okay to spam the industry for votes in a goofy little contest, it must be okay to send spam to all candidates all the time? We're not so sure.

There are other elements of the Recruiting industry who act as "trusted advisors". For them, the thought of eroding an employment brand or somehow causing other reputational damage to a client is abhorrent. They're just in a separate niche and rightly conservative in style and tactics.

Even more sensitive are the in-house recruiters who diligently cultivate intimate networks of potential employees for strategic hiring purposes. They can't afford the indiscretion of a potentially insulting transaction with someone in their talent pool.

The spam conversation could be a nuanced discussion of tools and their most effective usage. But, that takes a longer term view than the next commission check. That is one of the very clear dividing lines in the industry.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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