In the April 14, 2015 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a reader says getting referred for a job by a headhunter cost him the job — because the employer didn’t want to pay the fee.


I applied for a job on at a medical facility. A person called representing herself as working for the facility. She did a five-minute pre-screening interview, and set me up for a phone interview with an HR representative. The short version of this long story is that the organization wanted to hire me, but wasn’t able to because of a recruiting fee of $12,000.

I’ve been informed that this recruiting company has put a six-month “lock” on my name. Is this legal? This kind of thing has never happened to me before. I’m appalled that they can get away with it! Do I need to contact the state attorney general’s office? I never signed any documents stating any agreement for them to represent me. Please help!

Nick’s Reply

This is a deep crack in the law that you’ve fallen into. Employment agencies and third party recruiters (a.k.a. headhunters) are not regulated everywhere. The recruiter has submitted your resume as one of her referrals — and if the employer hires you as a result of that referral, it may owe the recruiter a fee.

(Of course, the recruiter serves a purpose. Without her, you may not have gotten the interviews with this employer. But her intervention should not cost you a job!)

I’d do two things.

Get the facts first

Call the employer’s HR office. Don’t tell them what happened. Just ask whether they have a contract with that recruiter.

My guess is they do not, but the recruiter’s referral may be interpreted by the employer as an obligation to pay a fee to hire you. That’s the crack in the law.

Recruiters will sometimes find and use resumes like yours as an entree to a company they don’t have a contract with. They will threaten the employer with a lawsuit to collect a fee, because they were the source of the referral. This may not stand up in court, but the easy way out for the employer is not to hire you. So you lose. My guess is that’s what’s going on here. The loose interpretation of the law might be that if the hospital hires you within six months of the referral, it owes the fee. After that, there’s no fee. That’s what the “lock” refers to.

But all this is questionable. What recruiters like this one bank on is an HR department’s unwillingness to risk legal action — which is silly.

What’s important for you to realize is that — I’m sorry to say — you are at least partly responsible for all this:

Have you ever put your resume on an online job board? Then you may have slimed yourself because anyone who has access to that resume can do exactly what that troublesome headhunter did with your implied blessing. You’d have a hard time convincing a judge or jury that the headhunter did anything wrong if your resume is already widely available.

Excerpted from How to Work With Headhunters… and how to make headhunters work for you, p. 114.

Use regulatory powers

The second thing I’d do is call your state’s department of commerce. Find out whether the recruiter is licensed. Not all states require licensing. If yours does, and she’s not, she’s out of luck. I’d explain that to the employer — and I’d turn her in to the authorities..

Of course, it’s possible the recruiter has a contract with the hospital. In that case, what the lock means is the hospital has agreed to pay a referral fee for up to six months after a referral is made. Thus the lock is not on your name, but on the employer. You are not bound by a contract you are not a party to.

But here’s the risk you face, and it’s significant: If this recruiter circulates your resume to lots of employers, under her letterhead, such referrals may be construed by those employers as an obligation to pay a fee to hire you — even if you later apply directly. A good headhunter or recruiter would never refer you to any employer without your knowledge or consent. An unsavory recruiter will plaster your resume all over kingdom come — under her letterhead.

There are two sections of How to Work With Headhunters… and how to make headhunters work for you that you’ll find helpful in the future. “How should I judge a headhunter?”, pp. 26-27, defines a set of standards that good headhunters adhere to. “How should I qualify a headhunter?”, pp. 28-33, goes into great detail about how you can separate the good headhunters from the unsavory ones.

Some of the book is about how to protect yourself, but most of it is about how to leverage headhunters and recruiters to your advantage.

Assert yourself & protect yourself

I would immediately send the recruiter a certified letter, with a return receipt, stating that she is not to refer you to any employers, and demanding that she notify you what companies she may have already referred you to. Again, recruiters like this one bank on people not fighting them legally. It can be a nasty game.

Depending on what you learn, you may want to contact your state’s department of labor and employment. Explain what happened and ask their advice. If the recruiter misrepresented herself as an employer, I’d consider filing a complaint of consumer fraud and possibly identity theft, citing the recruiter’s misrepresentations, and for her failure to tell you that it would cost a fee to hire you.

Much depends on whether the employer is willing to stand up to the recruiter. I doubt the employer or the recruiter would want to see an article in the newspaper about a job seeker in a tough market finding out he got screwed out of a job because of all this.

I’d love to know what you learn and decide to do. This is a murky situation because much depends on who did what, and on whether the employer has a contract with the recruiter.

Keep this in mind: None of these agencies or recruiters work for you. Their client is always the employer. They have no contractual obligation to you, or you to them. Yet many such firms will use phrases like, “We will represent you…” They do not represent you. The employer pays them, and their fiduciary duty is to the employer. But it’s an odd business, because they can imply that they represent you — with the result that employers might lock you out of jobs due to the fee they’d have to pay.

Finally, remember that posting your resume or profile online makes it easy for anyone to “refer” you to an employer and to claim a fee. You can fight this, of course — but good luck, because employers are more likely to protect themselves than fight to hire you.

Has a recruiter or headhunter ever cost you a job? What would you do if you were the job hunter in this week’s Q&A?

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  1. Yes, a long time ago (and I’m not sure I would have taken the job). An oil field services company I interviewed with in college turned me down because a recruiter had given them my resume. I can understand why they did not want to pay a fee, since in looking at the employers brochure they bragged about being the largest hirer of engineers in the USA; looking deeper they hired as many engineers as they employed each year! You could expect to be transfered within the first 6 months of hire, and about every 3 years after, as new oil fields opened.

  2. Good morning Nick! Wow! Am I ever glad I read this today. Plan for the day was upload my resume and post on sites for job-seekers. Glad I had a change of plans! After reading this – wow – I had no idea this kind of stuff went on. That’s pretty slimy – some whack job claiming to be your agent (whatever) and asking for 12 grand? Who does that? It’s legal? Scary!
    Your friend, Carol

  3. What about LinkedIn? Is it safe to post resume-like data there and check the box that you are interested in a new job? Can that data be claimed by a headhunter in the same way?


  4. Nick,

    Is not the issue that the recruiter represented themselves as working for the medical facility? If one pursued a legal action I would believe that this fact would yield the most ammunition for sanctions against this individual. Personally, I would exhaust all legal options against this person just to create as much grief and hassle as possible. I’d be calling the local DA (theft of service) and well as any and every professional society this person my belong to, not forgetting the BBB. Retribution? You betcha.

    I believe this tale only reiterates not to use job boards and not to post resumes online, to ANY venue. If a recruiter contacts me, and refuses to discuss a specific position without me “forwarding my resume first” if I am very interested in the company, I send a document that had headers and footers in bold red that state “Recruiter Copy Only – Not to be Forwarded Without Express Written Consent.” I then make an IMAGE of each page and copy/paste that into a new document, so that it may not be easily altered. You could even include a background image with “Recruiter Copy” plastered on it if you liked.

    I then get one of two responses: 1) “Boy, you really are concerned about your privacy, aren’t you?” or 2) crickets (i.e. never hear from them again.)

    This has worked for me several times, and I’ve never been submitted to a company behind my back AFAIK, as it appears that performing an OCR on my document is just too much of a pain.

  5. Many years ago, I saw what looked like a perfect job for me. I talked to the company at a job fair, and gave them my resume, but then I made my mistake. I also talked to a couple of ‘recruiters’ and mentioned that I had seen this job, and I had already submitted my resume. So, what did they do? They ALSO submitted my resume. I guess they figured that they could get an easy commission on a ‘client’ already going to get a job. So, what happened? I lost the job! The employer did not want to have to battle two different ‘recruiters’ and have to fight them over why they wouldn’t get the commission. It was easier to just not hire me.

  6. Good question @Diana.

    I see no barrier to someone grabbing your linked in profile, formatting it into a resume, using a number to make it anonymous, and submitting it on recruiter letterhead to Avogadro’s number of clients as a potential candidate.

    The justification would be that by checking the box, you have identified yourself as being available. Of course, an unscrupulous recruiter could take your info and do this if they are connected to you, so be careful to whom you connect!

    Nick is 100 % correct that the insidious nature of this practice is that you the candidate will always lose to a possible HR suit.

    This captures the essence of the ATH methodology of seeking a hiring manager at a company rather than splashing yourself into the Internet as a strategy.

  7. @Diana: Not all recruiters grab and distribute online resumes, and not everyone is victimized by this. But the very nature of the online jobs industry stimulates and enables these practices. Would I post my resume online? No. Should you? You must decide for yourself. The truth is, personal referrals are far and away the #1 source of hires and always have been. Pretending the job boards do a good job isn’t going to improve their abyssmal performance or eliminate the problems they cause. Anyone can copy/paste info from your LinkedIn profile to create a “resume” for you.

    @Hank: The cost and hassle of taking legal action stops most people from doing what you suggest. And that’s what unsavory recruiters count on. Even employers won’t engage legally most of the time. It’s why this continues. I love your approach: Play ball when you want to, but make it difficult and costly for a recruiter to mis-use your information. Your key tip for others: Do not send in your resume unless the recruiter discloses who the employer is. When they “scrape” your resume from an online site, that’s one thing. But when you GIVE them your resume, they can stand on the presumption that you want them to “find you a job.”

    @CharlieE: Lesson learned. “Fee fights” are common and employers will just walk away from the candidate rather than fight.

    @VP Sales: That’s a nice summary!

  8. What this recruiter did… wow. As if we didn’t already have enough obstacles keeping us from a job.
    Just starting a LinkedIn page for the first time now, and want to make sure my eyes are wide open… after reading about this, I see that my eyes need to be opened wider still. How do we keep our online presence itself from becoming this kind of “consent” to recruiters to blast our resume out there? Will a disclaimer asking that they not do it without our permission work, or maybe a message saying resume talk will only occur after a personal meeting?

  9. If a company wants you, and some recruiter had already submitted you, I recall that they used to negotiate fees. One, world’s different now, but HR for all their bluster doesn’t know how to negotiate beanbag. And hiring managers just knuckle under.

    Do you really want to work for an organization that is intimidated by some recruiter?

  10. @Hank, you find that recruiters can break into PDFs?

  11. A couple of thoughts:

    I would contact the BBB and see if you can get a lawyer to write a strongly worded letter in the event that there was no written contract/agreement between the recruiter/head hunter and the employer. IANAL, but I believe many lawyers offer free consults and could probably point to some sort of misrepresentation laws. I would assume that writing a letter pointing this out wouldn’t be expensive and may put the fear of God into someone.

    Nick – more of a question for you…

    I know that the fee that a recruiter does not come out of the salary directly, but it has to come from somewhere – probably some sort of recruiting/hiring budget. So, if you find that you have two equal candidates, that whoever controls that budget will give some push back? In other words, I would need to make up the recruiter’s fee in profit off of the candidates work to make it worthwhile, so unless the candidate with the fee blew my socks off, I might be less inclined hiring someone with the fee.

  12. What an awful experience. As a recruiter, I am both angry and sad to see how unscrupulous recruiters tarnish our industry, and hurt the job prospects of candidates. Every time I speak with a candidate I do so because I have a specific job, with a specific employer, and a contract to fill that job.

    For over a decade I have repeatedly told novice candidates (new to working with search firms) not to share their resumes unless the recruiter is able to tell them quite a lot about the job/hiring manager/team/why the job opening exists. If a recruiter does not know anything about the job, be wary.

    It takes time to build up a relationship with a search firm, and I think it is worth the effort to get to know those who work in your field. Most of us find great satisfaction in matching candidates with their next jobs, and helping them over the years. It is equally rewarding helping clients find people who will do a great job and who will stay with them. Turnover is expensive!

    Nick is also right to caution people from posting Do not post a resume on job boards! Both unscrupulous recruiters and ID thiefs are rampant!

    Getting a new job requires huge effort on your part, so either find search firms who recruit in your specific field, and spend time speaking with them/checking out their website, or go to the employer’s website directly.

    Do not PLEASE just send your resume to a search firm UNTIL YOU ARE SURE THEY RECRUIT IN YOUR SPECIFIC FIELD. 10 times a day I get resumes from people who think that just because I recruit in the pharma/biotech industry I recruit for people with their background. All search firms specialize. Be careful with your personal information.

    And…never ask a recruiter to share your resume with other firms, ever.

  13. Contact the recruiter, see if they will rescind or lower their fee. If they were responsible for putting you in contact with the company then you owe them something. If they lied to you about their representing the company, you owe them nothing. Unfortunately, being right won’t get you the job. Try to find a way to that place if you really want that job. Lots of good advice here on legal rectifications you could look into. My best to ya. I don’t post resumes but I do use LinkedIn with little restraint. As a contractor I’ve gotten 5-10 good leads on jobs that fortunately I haven’t needed as I’ve been finding jobs ok on my own usually. That being said, it’s good to have options. As far as full time work, LinkedIn has been almost no help in that respect. In the end it goes back to those actual network connections you’ve made over the years. I’ve never used Nick’s targeted approach to job hunting with companies I don’t know but I suspect that would work for you also if the original job hoped for doesn’t pan out. Keep on truckin’ partner.

  14. @Nick, What exactly constitutes “uploading your resume to a job board”? A common scenario is that the recruiter places an ad there and uses an online form on the site to get your resume rather than give out his email address, presumably so as not to be spammed.

    @Dee There is plenty of software to work with PDFs, even if you are not a programmer. Even images can be OCR’ed if they are readable by a human.

  15. @Dee To alter a resume with a header/footer or watermark warning, all that’s required is some time with Paint – on your computer if you use Windows. However, people looking for easy shortcuts will be likely to move onto the resume without warnings before investing serious time.

  16. In the latest Source of Hire survey from (released September 2014), 8% of the employers surveyed reported that searching resume databases played a role in their recruiting efforts. So in addition to being dangerous, posting resumes doesn’t work!

  17. @Dee,

    The actual “resume” is a compilation of JPEG files taken from my real document.

    Yes, they could retype the whole thing, use OCR to try to extract it, and even gamble that I won’t go after them if crossed.

    The scumbags generally won’t bother as they are wholesale delivering resumes en masse, and it’s just too much trouble to deal with me individually. So, as stated, I generally never hear back.

  18. I wonder if any of these “Low Hanging Fruit Picker” recruiters ever get the big fee.

    It’s fairly obvious, even to me, that the recruiting firm put about 12¢ worth of effort into this, not $12,000.

  19. @L.T.

    Talk about $0.12 of effort…

    Last week, I got 5 phone calls and 4 emails from a single recruiting firm. The voice mails that they left were in a thick Indian accent but the emails were sent under a more American sounding name. It was for a local job.

    The irony is that I currently work for the largest employer in town in this particular space; and the company they were recruiting for was started by people that use to work for us. The VP they are hiring for I know quite well, I mentored him a bit when he worked here. In other words, if I wanted a job there I could pick up the phone.

    You think these jokers would do their home work first? Why would someone want to pay a recruiter to hire me to work for them?

  20. @Lucy Montrose: While the errant jerks are the recruiters, it’s the employers that make the choice that costs people jobs. Unless they have a signed contract with a recruiter, they should abide by a strict policy: “We accept no unsolicited referrals from recruiters we don’t have contracts with.” When one of these situations arises, the employer must tell the recruiter, “No dice! Get lost! Sue us – we’ll counter-sue you for fraud!” Employers must step up to the plate and do the right thing for themselves (they lose great candidates) and for the job hunting public.

    You can of course post a disclaimer on your LinkedIn page about recruiters referring you without permission. But then you’d have to show it to an employer that rejects you due to such a referral. And keep in mind – you don’t want to scare off good headhunters who play by the rules.

    @Dee: HR is too lazy to do its job to control candidate flow. They use a big hammer instead.

    @Dave: I’ve never had a client reject my candidate in favor of a “walk in” candidate, when they really wanted my candidate. As you note, the fee comes from an established recruiting budget. Only a fool of a company would hire a lesser applicant to save a fee it had already budgeted. In companies that use headhunters, search fees are as old as HR. Of course, if the company doesn’t like to use headhunters, good headhunters won’t waste their time sending in candidates who are not likely to be hired. So in a way, this is self-regulating.

  21. What Dave is referring to are the (seemingly zillions) of Indian body shops out there that skim off CareerBuilder, swap resumes, send you emails that say you are a perfect fit for jobs that bear no resemblance to what you do and thickly-accented ‘recruiters’ who read off scripts from call centers in India that come in under US numbers (NJ is very popular). (If your day is lacking fun, go off script and play with them–you’ll see they don’t understand colloquial American English very quickly) They pick you off keywords off a bad ATS or other scanning system. They don’t know or care where you live. I believe they get paid by the call.

    Unfortunately a LOT of US F500 businesses, such as J&J, Pfizer, Siemens, Panasonic and others use them for contract workers in marketing, project management, strategic sourcing and many other areas because their fees are cheap. So if you want and need that work, you wind up dealing with them because that is the only way these companies let you in. They also have bought American-owned companies so they have a US front, play the WEBO game (woman-owned enterprise) etc.

    Nick C, this is something you ought to be writing about. Their business practices have ruined the legitimate recruiting business.

  22. Nick:

    I have to agree with Dee. The Indian staffing agencies are especially aggressive in IT staffing, to include IT Sourcing which is my area of expertise. Everything Dee says is TRUE! What she failed to mention is that US and international companies operating in the USA DELIBERATELY use the Indian body shops because they “oh so willingly undercut” US owned companies that compete against them.

    These same flesh peddlers also have some of the most egregious employment agreements in the industry especially as it relates to “non-compete clauses, non-solicitation, notice periods, etc. One such agency, also Indian owned but located in Cedar Knolls, NJ named ARTECH INFORMATION SERVICES goes so far as to include a clause that states you will be paid just $10/hr. for the first 30 days of employment. They do this they claim because they blame on it on their clients’ payment terms. Obviously, the payment terms they agree to with their clients is their business but it should NOT be used to undercut the rate negotiated between the contractor and staffing agency.

    I successfully negotiated this clause OUT of my Employment Agreement. Many of the techies, less familiar with contract terms & conditions simply sign the agreements which does LOCK them in. As a Sourcing and Contracts professional, I ALWAYS demand to see the E.A. in Word format to review before signing and I have yet to find any that I signed on the first look.

    Another fave of the Indian agencies, my last one tried this, is to try to demand that you provide two weeks notice or FORFEIT your last two weeks pay. As we all know, notice periods are customary and considered to be good professional behavior, but they ARE NOT required under NJ law. When employers, especially clients of staffing agencies terminate contingent labor, I feel ZERO obligation to provide notice to them; it’s a two way street.

    The Indian staffing agencies appear to find the scummiest, bottom feeding lawyers to do their employment agreements and it shows all the time. Contract employees need to read EVERY word of these agreements to protect themselves; the Indian agencies have no qualms about playing fast and loose with business practices although I must say I have also seen US owned staffing agencies pull the same stuff to “get over” on contractors.

    Between the large companies using these bottom feeders and the bottom feeders themselves, contingent work has become increasingly more frustrating and I absolutely detest having to deal with the Indian recruiters, whether they are in Mumbai, Parsippany, NJ or the central part of the state in the 609 and 732 area codes.

  23. @Clare Powell: Thanks for sharing the perspective of a good headhunter. It’s important for people to see how you operate. The contrast to unsavory headhunters/recruiters is stark. I tell people that staying out of trouble is easy: Don’t give any information to an unknown recruiter that you would not give to a telemarketer. Verify any recruiter, just as you would a business that you give your credit card number to when you buy something. The sad truth is, the Net makes it too easy for shysters – thus, most contacts you get from “headhunters” are not from good ones. Please take Clare’s advice, and also realize that when you do connect with a good headhunter, good things can happen, so don’t lock the door on all. It’s up to you to do your due diligence.

    @Patrick: Your suggestion to negotiate with the recruiter is a good one, if the employer is willing to compromise. As you point out, the objective is to get the job offer.

    @Olivier: “What exactly constitutes “uploading your resume to a job board”?”

    That’s a very good question. Some sites just want you to literally upload the file. Most job boards, as you point out, give you a form to fill it. This is for their convenience, so they can easily scrape keywords to do the matching. But in either case you’ve provided your information, and any employer or recruiter who finds it can use it any way they like. My own lawyer tells me that once you post your resume this way, it’s very difficult to claim there’s anything proprietary or confidential about it, because you chose to release it into the wild. So the challenge is, how do you apply for jobs online without giving your resume to a job board?

    Other than giving your resume only to employers directly, via their own websites, the only online jobs service I know that does not ask for or store your resume is (Keep in mind that some employers turn their own jobs pages over to companies like to manage.)

    What’s unique about LinkUp is that it’s not a job board; it’s a job search engine, like Google is a search engine. You enter your criteria, and it finds jobs on employers’ own websites. It does not send you to job boards and it does not scrape job listings from other job boards (like Indeed and others do). LinkUp says it has over 2 million real jobs from 50,000 employers, and no duplicate jobs or job scams, because it doesn’t “scrape” indiscriminately like job boards do. LinkUp does sell job ads to employers, so you’ll see paid listings at the top of results, just like you see paid ads at the top of Google results. It’s very up front about how it makes money.

    The key is, LinkUp doesn’t collect your resume to sell, rent, or trade with job boards. Is your information safe if you apply via LinkUp? Only as safe as the site you then share your info with. But no recruiter is going to go to LinkUp to buy your resume; it’s not available unless you go to the employer’s site to provide it. If this sounds like a promotion for LinkUp, it’s not. I have no connection to the company, but I like how it operates. Not perfect, but better than any job board including LinkedIn.

  24. @Paul C: You wrote that some agencies “demand that you provide two weeks notice or FORFEIT your last two weeks pay.” I don’t believe that’s legal. In fact, I believe it’s illegal for any employer to withhold pay for any reason.

    As for Indian staffing firms, the bad ones fall into the larger category of employment industry carpet baggers. They don’t have to be Indian to qualify. The bigger problem is the employers that use them, thereby corrupting the employment market at arm’s length.

    This last point is important. In an effort to legally shield themselves from illegal or distasteful employment practices, some employers hire “at arm’s length.” They don’t want to know, or pretend they don’t know, how these agencies operate. That’s the problem, and US legislators should get on this practice by investigating the main employers themselves. There’s always someone willing to go steal a Mercedes when there’s a market for cheap, stolen Mercedes.

    We need laws to stop employers from outsourcing crooked hiring practices.

  25. @ Nick:

    While demanding the forfeiture of pay may be illegal, the practice shows up time and time again in many of the E.A.s that staffing agencies send to candidates. Perhaps they are assuming that candidates will simply roll over and sign.

    However, as someone who deals with complex contract documents on a daily basis, especially NDAs, Master Service Agreements, Confidentiality Agreements and so on, I am accustomed to reading each and every word, paragraph and clause and negotiating everything.

    I have been told several times that I am a hard-ass when it comes to these things, but given how over the top many of them are and how much I believe in protecting myself, I point out to the other side that I am not there to become their best friend, I am there to work and provide my talent and services, but I will NOT do so while being placed in an untenable contract position.

    As you mention, too many of the client and hiring companies want to maintain the legal fiction that they are unaware of these hiring practices, yet the continued use of such bottom feeders is tacit or de facto consent to the way they behave.

    The other side of the coin is that many client companies that choose to deal with the Indian owned and operated agencies do so because they KNOW that the Indians will grovel and beg for business by agreeing to rate cards that are significantly below market for various types of labor and this behavior undercuts US owned agencies that would be more inclined to pay a reasonable rate for the role solicited.

    Here in NJ, PSEG is notorious for paying well below market rates. In my own career field, IT Strategic Sourcing in the Newark HQ, they will only pay between $40-45/hr. for a role that should be paying no less than $70/hr. Of course, that role has gone begging now for more than 6 weeks and I have personally received at least 10 calls from 10 different agencies that I reply “Not Interested!” to.

    Another phenomenon I have noticed of late is that hiring companies are now driving down contractor rates in may disciplines to BELOW what they would pay an FTE. These roles are easy to say no to as well.

    The Indian agencies are parasitic and while they may attractive and quite elaborate websites, at the end of the day check them out and they are nothing more than sleazy body shops and the reviews on Glassdoor for companies like Collabera, Mindlance, USTech Staffing all bear this out.

    Like many other Americans, when an Indian recruiter calls me and if I can’t understand them, I immediately hang up.

  26. I never thought of this. This is yet another reason not to post your resume data online. I’ve never been a fan of posting resumes online anyway. I prefer to choose the prospective employer instead of the other way around.

  27. @Nick, @Paul C, @Dee

    What I have started to see is that US owned recruitment firms have outsourced some of the back office functions of making initial contact with potential candidates to call centers in India, while “account managers” here in the States deal directly with the clients themselves.

    It seems that the company that contacted me in the story I told operates this way based on some reviews I read online.

    I also had something like this happen to me a year ago as well, Indian contacts me for a local job and I eventually get a call from the account manager whose branch office is in the same office park that I work. Again, begs the question… Why not come up to me when I’m eating lunch at one of the picnic tables when the weather is nice? Would save yourself some money and not make you look quite as bad….

  28. @Paul C: Like you, I read every word in a contract, because the attorneys in a lawsuit will, too. I tell the other party that good contracts make good relationships. I’ve found ridiculous terms, and illegal terms. We strike them, or I say goodbye. In general, I think many people are afraid to do that for fear of losing a deal – but those aren’t deals. They’re disasters. The sad bottom line is, much “business” is crooked and to be avoided. In the end, companies that choose to work with questionable vendors who promise ridiculous terms wind up ending their outsourcing when projects keep going south. You can’t save your way to prosperity. Our job is to keep saying no, and to keep our standards high.

  29. @Dave: In the same office park?? Managers don’t recruit any more. They’re lazy bound to their pcs. It’s springtime. Go outside and meet people! :-)

  30. @Nick – Yep… Same office park, couple of buildings down… Again, it was for a job that I already knew about and could have easily made a phone call directly to the manager.

    Also, what particularly is ironic about recruitment agencies like the one in my office park… They bill themselves as “cutting edge” or “innovative,” yet talent is literally right next door. I think we all know what they are full of and where the real talent shortage is… ;-)

  31. @Dave

    No shortage of natural fertilizer down on the farm, eh?

  32. Recruiters can be so strange sometimes. I once had a recruiter contact me about a job, and then screen me out/blow me off… only to have the hiring manager contact me directly about the position.

    I didn’t end up interviewing for the position, but thought this was a weird situation.

    Was the hiring manager trying to save the company money, or did he actively search for and stumble into candidates like me?

  33. @Carl: There’s no telling. The manager may wind up stuck owing the recruiter a fee if he hires you and the recruiter finds out.

  34. I understand what is happening but I’m surprised that the recruiters, especially the ones you request help from, don’t have to disclose whether they have an existing relationship/contract with the potential company because if not, they are just copying an existing job description, submitting it to you for approval/interest, (maybe now always) and then submitting it to the hiring company and at that point, that company can’t hire you even though you weren’t aware that there was no relationship, only something found on a job board that you just didn’t see first but now if the company doesn’t want to pay the fee, you are not getting that job.

    • Joe: Any recruiter you deal with should disclose to you whether they have an agreement with the employer. If they won’t do that, why waste your time with them? It’s an easy test. Those guys are dialing for dollars, relying on your gullibility. Just move on and warn them that if they dare to send your resume to any employer, you will disavow it and file a complaint with your state’s department of consumer affairs — and then do it if you must.

      Joe, 95% of “recruiters” and “headhunters” aren’t worth spit. I can say the same about personnel jockeys. You’ll know the good ones when you meet them. If you have any doubts, move on.

      The problem here is that people are so desperate for jobs, they’ll believe anybody that tells them anything. Use your good sense.

  35. I have a strict “no recruiter” policy going forward. I’ve seen so much unethical, sleazy behavior in the last 10 years …

    The absolute worst of the bunch is Collabera. They contacted me about a job, I sent them my resume in PDF and my linkedin info, including written references, etc.

    Next they wanted me to fill out a form indicating I give them permission to submit me for the position, but this form included DOB and last four of SS# (you can get the full number with that info). I was like “why do you need this”, to which this young punk of a recruiter replied “it’s our policy”.

    Then a couple days later this guy calls me and says I need to provide him with the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of my last 3 managers AND all the people who recommended me on linkedin. He said he wouldn’t submit my resume to the company without this info (leads for him), and that I would be locked out of the job if I didn’t comply. I said forget it.

    Later on, I heard that Collabera had grabbed my friend’s profile off linkedin, built a resume out of it, and blasted it all over town. THEN they called him asking if he was on the market.

    Avoid these guys like the plague: block them on linkedin and everywhere else. Don’t answer their calls or emails.

  36. This has good advice but some of it is impractical. How can you send a registered or certified letter to tell a recruiter in India to stop shopping your resume? And try to call the HR office at Wells Fargo or Apple to check whether a recruiter is authorized to recruit for them. I think employers would do themselves and potential employees a big favor if they would just post which recruiters they’re contracting with.