I was on my way back from #truMadrid when I got a message on Facebook from a fairly senior head of recruiting at a business you would all know. The message contained a link to a story published in The Kernel about recruitment business ConSol Partners under the heading
“Another Tech Recruiter Lying And Fabricating”under the category “Parasite.” The reason I was being asked about my thoughts on the story was that my friend spends quite a lot of money with ConSol, and was questioning if that was actually a good idea given the story.
The nature of the story was that a recruiter at ConSol had a candidate who had been interviewed by a start up and was waiting on an answer because they had another offer with a deadline, and another first interview with another of ConSols clients the following week. The allegation is that the recruiter knew the start up had decided not to pursue the candidate but lied about not having feedback because they wanted the candidate to let the deadline pass and go for the other interview. The post goes on to claim that ConSol went as far as to fabricate e-mails and storys as to how they had been unable to get hold of their client, and as a result, the candidate let the offer pass, missing out on the opportunity.
When the truth came out, the client was understandably unhappy to have been put in a bad light, and the candidate was understandably incensed, My friend had seen the story and wanted to know If I thought it was true and if they should be cutting ties with ConSol Partners, and they wont have been the only client to see it. The post featured a picture of Marc Cohen, Director of ConSol. Not great PR for anyone.
I’m not writing this post to pour more scorn on ConSol. On the face of it, the business has demonstrated the very worst of what the recruitment industry occasionally serves up, that does great damage to the greater majority of excellent recruiters. I say on the face of it, because I only know one side of the story. There could be more to it. ConSol may have a different take on things, I just couldn’t find it.
The Kernel post linked to the ConSol website and I;m sure they got plenty of traffic. I was looking for some kind of response, or even an acknowledgment, but nothing. I used Addictomatic to look at the wider social arena, and all I came up with The Kernel post and plenty of job tweets and posts. Google front page listed the website and The Kernel post again at 5. If I was searching for the company then there it is, not a great advert.
It could be that this is the action of a rogue recruiter, and the business is investigating or have already taken some action. I would have expected to find something somewhere. A comment on the post to at least acknowledge it could have taken some of the sting out of the tail. A strong network in the social channels would have brought some positive comments about the business from fans, but that takes time.
If I were in ConSol’s shoes, I’d be thinking quickly about how to manage the situation. My advice to any recruitment business is to monitor the social content with alerts so that they can respond to any negative comment before the story gets viral. For many people, silence speaks volumes. You don’t have to hold your hands up to everything you might be accused of, but you should acknowledge comments and be clear that you are not going in to hiding. You also need to have invested time in building your own networks. They will add their support when you need it if you have earnt it.It’s another great example of why recruitment businesses should be social and earning good will.
As a warning to other recruiters, The Kernel are on a bit of a mission. The post concludes with this comment:
“Recruitment companies, with the exception of headhunters at the higher levels, are often grubby, ugly places, staffed by low-grade, barely skilled operators. Few firms act ethically and responsibly.
For some reason, the people who run these parasitic organisations continue to imagine they can get one over on companies and candidates who are savvier and better-connected than they are.
The Kernel is currently compiling a feature-length report on the tricks and scams these unscrupulous companies try to pull on tech start-ups. In the meantime, this is one firm you’ll want to avoid. “
Bloggers have the power to publish, and sensational story’s go viral quickly. You can only influence the conversation if you are in it. There might be legal measures you can take down the line, but once a story is out, it’s out, and hangs around. Judging by the Kernel post, there is plenty more to come out. If ever recruitment firms needed a push to get social in order to understand how to communicate in the social channels, this should be it. Disgruntled candidates, clients and employees can wash their dirty laundry in public. It might be justified, it might not, but the one certainty is that these “exposes” will become more common. Time to wake up and smell the coffee! Be aware, be ready and transparent.