Recruiter Skirmishes

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Independent headhunters and investment bank HR staffers say they can't find good candidates fast enough. So, you'd think recruiters would be pointedly charming in their efforts to woo financial professionals. An episode from across the pond suggests this isn't always the case.

An e-mail exchange between a Tim Seymour of UK recruiter Seymour Chase and James Kennedy of the recruitment firm Robert Half reveals the less attractive side of the recruitment industry.

Seymour, a recruiter of recruiters, attempted to solicit Kennedy for a role with a "niche recruitment firm." But rather than cajoling his target by telephone, Seymour's first approach took the form of a mass e-mail - which was visibly sent to around 40 other candidates.

And when Kennedy objected to Seymour's technique? Instead of apologizing, Seymour e-mailed back to say, "Couldn't care less mate," followed by an expletive.

Rudeness isn't the only foible of some recruitment firms. Others include dispatching CVs without their owners' permission, never responding to job applications (a regular complaint from candidates), and advertising jobs that don't actually exist.

How common are these faults? You tell us. Kennedy maintains they're not common at all: "I get called by recruiters a lot and this is the first time I've encountered this kind of thing," he says.

Because recruiting isn't regulated, unprofessional conduct is punishable only by market forces - the hope being that candidates and clients will avoid nefarious firms. As for Seymour, he couldn't be reached for comment.

Have you ever had a bad experience with a recruitment firm? Add your comment and let us know.