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Is it Immoral to Build Your Recruitment Database Right Now?

By April 17, 2020One Comment

We’ve been writing a recruitment blog here at Rice Consulting since December 2009. Originally under the penmanship of Jonathan Rice, several people have been passed the ceremonial marker pen over the years, with it currently being squabbled over by Scott Burnett, and yours truly, the Merchant of Menace, the Big Beef Chief, me. Running at around 50 blogs a year, that’s over 500 articles vaguely pertaining to the recruitment industry. I’d like to think that over this time, we’ve managed to maintain an irreverent, and if not unique, at least “different” slant on topical happenings in the world of recruitment.

That is until this week.

Writing a blog with a unique slant during a pandemic, when no one has anything to do apart from write blogs about pandemics is really fucking difficult. I could write about working from home (Yes, we’re all doing it and it is possible), the Government’s response to the crisis (it’s pretty good), how other countries are handling it (Badly. Trump is a tosser and Boris Johnson is funding the health service by selling badges), the use of zoom and video interviewing (it works but it’s not the same and the Chinese are watching us masturbate), and a host of other topics – all of which have been absolutely done to death.

Thankfully, good ol’ LinkedIn threw up something last week to get be thinking (and scribbling). An IT recruitment buddy of mine Ryan Humphrey posted the below on LinkedIn:

Recruiters – this is not the time to be posting job ads with the sole purpose of building your database. Whilst many people are losing their jobs and frantically searching for something new, they don’t need your selfish a** flooding Seek, LinkedIn etc. with fake roles that build up their hopes. I may not have something for you right now, but I’m happy to take any calls on 0210363757 from anyone needing advice on where to look, help with CVs (I’m brutally honest) or even just a quick check-in to see how you’re coping with WFH. Take care 🙂

A fine and noble post, wouldn’t you agree? On the face of it, I agree with Ryan absolutely. Running a fictitious job ad is akin to advertising “Free Beer” only to be jumped on my Champagne-ordering Russian working girls in “one of those bars”. It’s devious and selfish and self-serving and all the things us Recruiters are accused of on a hourly basis. Understandably, Ryan has received a fair amount of love for the post and will probably convert that into a couple of new clients once this is all over (the devious little shit).

As always however, I will try and play Devil’s advocate. After all, what better way to race towards beer o’clock than to scrutinise things people post on the internet? Firstly, a preface: We are living though extraordinary times. Things that were unthinkable a month ago are now everyday life. People bang pots with their neighbours. We queue for food like Uncle Stalin suggested. With no barbers or waxers, our bedrooms look like the Joy of Sex (first edition). Quite frankly, everything has shifted sideways. Secondly, we need to think why Recruiters are running fake ads to build their database. This is obvious: the best way to get CVs right now is to run an ad for a job on SEEK and/or TradeMe Jobs. And as for posting a generic “Hey, we don’t have vacancies, but send us your details for a chat about the market“, SEEK are very clear in what is acceptable in their terms of business:

6) You may only post Advertisements to the Site that are in respect of a genuine, paid employment opportunity that is current as at the time of posting the Advertisement, and for which you are currently recruiting

So in order for a recruiter to connect with the most job seekers, they need to run something that at least appears to be a genuine ad. Interesting.

So this brings us to the crux of my Devil’s advocacy. The reason recruiters are running fake ads is to increase the number of placements they will make in the future. More placements mean more money for our immoral recruiter. However…the byproduct of this is that more candidates will get jobs. Some will even get jobs that they wouldn’t have got had they not sent their CV in to a fake ad. If you asked that placed candidate, working in their great new role, how they felt about being hoodwinked, would they care? Or would they feel, as the Nazi’s used to, that the end justifies the means? There is also a blurry line about what constitutes “fake”. When not facing global apocalypse, I’m always in need of immediately available Internal Recruitment contractors. If I only advertised these roles once briefed on them, then both my candidates and I would miss the boat. Therefore, like the James Dean of Recruitment, I break SEEKs rules and post generic ads. Are these fake? Typically, they’re for a role that doesn’t yet exist, but most probably will. And by doing this, I help people get jobs. All three of them might even be reading this very blog.

Personally, I still agree in the most part with Ryan, but as always, I’d love to get your thoughts, comments, and general abuse.

Stay safe.


One Comment

  • Teressa says:

    It just makes sense to keep talking to candidates, because eventually things will open up – and those people will be top of mind.

    As long as you’re being transparent about ambguity on the timing of opportunities then it’s not an issue imo.

    NB: Always get a giggle when I read these whiteboard blogs, we can count on you guys to keep it real – glad some things have stayed the same.