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Recruitment Ad Chasing 101

By April 26, 2012One Comment

This week is blog post number 101 on The Whiteboard and funnily enough I bring to you some recruitment 101 advice about ad chasing.  Over six months ago I wrote a piece on new ways for agency recruiters to p*ss off internal recruiters when we came across something even worse than the poorly-executed ad chase; we received an automated ad chase.

One thing we could console ourselves with was that this was from Macro Recruitment, a seemingly mindless Aussie outfit whose reputation preceded it across the ditch and who had already developed a well-nurtured army of detractors and enemies for their behaviour.  Sadly for New Zealand, the virus appears to have spread across the Tasman, as I was recently made aware of a similar tactic adopted by a kiwi recruitment agency.

For context purposes, the client in question posted an ad on SEEK and stated that they wouldn’t accept approaches from recruitment agencies (not something I agree with as it unnecessarily severs a potentially valuable sourcing channel, but that’s another argument).  Here is the exchange:

From: xxxxx xxxx
To: xxxxxxx xxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Big Cheese role

Hi xxxxxxx

As clearly stated, no recruitment agencies will be accepted for consideration. If you can’t read clear instructions from an advertisement, I have no interest in using your services.

No more discussion needed.


xxxxx xxxx| General Manager
Something Holdings Limited

From: xxxxxxx xxxxxxx
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2012
To: xxxxx xxxx
Subject: Big Cheese role

To the Manager

I would like to take a moment of your time to introduce myself as I see you are currently looking to fill a vacancy.
“XYZ staffing” is causing quite the stir around the country, as we are offering a full end to end recruitment process, as well as offering a number of Human resource and employment services.
What makes us different to other agencies you may be thinking?
The answer is we are so committed to providing your company with the right candidate for the role that we offer a 3 month guarantee on our service, and will replace the candidate for you if they don’t work out. However we don’t use this very often as we spend alot of time screening, interviewing and reference checking candidates to ensure they are the right fit for your company.
One of the other things that makes us different is the fee we charge, it is only calculated on the base salary, not base plus extras like the others.
I believe that I can assist you greatly in finding the right candidate for the job and am happy to pick up the process at whatever stage you are currently at.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss your recruitment and or employment needs with you.
You can find out more about myself and “XYZ staffing” at our user friendly website www.<> and I have also attached a one page information sheet for you to look over.
I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Yours faithfully

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx


I think the assertion that they are causing “quite the stir” around New Zealand is a nice touch.  I know the client certainly found it “quite comical” and I think they may well find this now becoming quite the self-fulfilling prophecy – although possibly not for the right reasons.

This sad attempt at business development makes a mockery of what value we are able to offer in recruitment.  It insults the intelligence of the client.  It is not even truthful.  Offering a 3 month free replacement guarantee is the norm in recruitment, not a unique differentiator.  The same goes for charging a fee on the base salary alone – again standard practice.

Ad-chasing gets a bad rap in recruitment circles because of drivel like this.  Done properly, with a considered, humble, targeted approach that displays genuine insight into the client’s need and genuine solutions to assist them in their candidate search, it can be the first stage in the development of a strong, valuable, win-win business partnership.

But spouting forth crap like this in an obvious copy/paste format demeans and diminishes us as an industry.  This is the reason clients feel the need to state “no agency approaches” on their job ads.  This is the reason the New Zealand Government places such a low value on our services offered that they feel they can cut $69 million from their external recruitment spend.

This is the worst form of flinging mud at the wall to see if any sticks.  Even if it occasionally works the chances of you steering the recruitment process towards a mutually agreeable outcome are slim at best.  This is lazy recruitment that tarnishes all of us in the industry.

Please stop.


Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.