Do you know who deserve a worse reputation than Recruitment Consultants? Drivers who don’t indicate. And Immigration Advisors. Now before I climb this week’s soapbox, let me be clear; If you’re the type of Immigration Advisor who works with businesses to get them accredited, or helps companies in any way to hire overseas applicants, then you are a legend. In this market, you are a gift from God and I wish there were more of you. Or maybe if you help those who can’t speak English and you work cheap, then fair enough. Instead, I’m referring to those who, often based overseas, charge large fees to complete a few forms for the often vulnerable and desperate. To give some context, I have lived in New Zealand for over 11 years. In this time, I’ve placed hundreds of candidates, with many of them being new arrivals to Aotearoa. Not once have I ever thought “Oh thank f*ck this candidate has an immigration advisor. They’ve really helped”. Not once. Instead, on a weekly if not daily basis, I receive CVs and LinkedIn messages from those wanting to work here. Typically, these candidates send a CV which is not suitable for New Zealand – as we don’t need to know your religion or height – along with a document from some generic Immigration Company “confirming” that this candidate wants to move to New Zealand. This worthless document is always treated with a degree of reverence by the candidate, so I can only guess that the Immigration Advisors have put this into their sales pitch; “Yes, we complete all the forms, we make sure your CV is appropriate for New Zealand (including that stupid front page with your ID number and bra size on it) AND as a special offer this month, we will copy and paste your name into a generic document stating that you are paying us ten grand for nothing. Pieter, do we have a deal?”
Anyway, I write this because I was reminded recently how weird these people usually are. Picture if you will, it’s late Friday afternoon, and I’m treating myself to a swift IPA in the pub. My phone rings and it’s a private number. Now I’m typically a phone-answerer, but it’s Friday, I’m having a beer, and I get so many people trying to move my pension that I send it to voicemail. I’m quite comfortable with the “directness” of some white South Africans, in fact I often enjoy it. This woman took it to a new level however. Perhaps a former Robben Island guard, she barks:
“Sean. I’m am calling to chase up an application for the role of Recruitment Consultant – Internal, which my client **** ****** has applied for. Call me as soon as you pick up this message to discuss his candidature”.
I, of course, ignore this. A candidate with that name may have applied directly to me. However, a candidate has not been sent to me by NetworkMigration. And if a candidate applies directly to me, I deal directly with them. I don’t feed back to their mum, sister, wife, brother or rude Immigration Advisor. It would be like a candidate applying directly to a client, and us Recruitment Consultants ringing the client asking for feedback on the candidate. It’s unimaginable. In fact, if a candidate applies directly to me and says that it’s fine to deal with their Immigration Advisor, I won’t. It’s pointless. I want to assess their skills and experience. I don’t need someone to tell me their visa status.
Anyway, on Wednesday I receive an email. This, although more polite, is chasing me again. I respond:
“Good morning Judy,
We do not accept applications on someone else’s behalf. If any of your clients want to communicate with us, they need to do so directly, or give permission for a third party to represent them.”
Short, simple, and polite enough I believe. I move on with my day. Judy has other ideas:
“***** has communicated directly with you and has applied via your portal (he provided us with a copy of the email). He, as our client, requested that we reach out to you to inform you of his imminent travels early in the new year so you are aware that he will be onshore and available to meet with potential employers should you have anything suitable lined up.”
I return the volley:
Until a candidate gives me permission to deal with a third party, we will only deal directly with the candidate. What a candidate allegedly tells you is of no relevance or interest to me. You will find this to be the case with any recruitment firm that respects the confidentiality of its candidates.”
Notice, I no longer hope she has a good morning. At this stage, the Auckland based MD chimes in:
“I see you are unhappy with our way of assisting our clients, so we will not send any clients to you again.”
Oh my word. You didn’t send any clients my way in the first place Peter! They applied directly to an ad. Please, leave me alone. I stupidly respond:
“It’s not a case of being unhappy. It’s a case of candidate confidentiality. I have no evidence that you have any right to represent any candidate to me or receive feedback on any application. I have not engaged your services. I have never heard of your company. If a candidate I’m working with requests that I deal with your organisation, then I have no issue in doing so. However, if a candidate applies directly to me, why would any ethical recruiter give feedback to a third party without the candidate’s explicit permission?
Your company’s approach and style of communication is not conducive to doing business in New Zealand. And this unfortunately is to the detriment of the job seeker.”
Of course they respond, telling me how other Recruiters appreciate their approach. I tell them that maybe other recruiters don’t care about confidentiality. I then call them rude, abrupt, unprofessional and a hindrance. You get the idea. Thankfully the emails have now stopped.
Now maybe I’m being a bit grumpy, but how can the above add any value to the sweet summer child who has engaged with these people in the hope of finding a better future for them and their family? How has the Immigration Advisor sticking their oar in, and wasting my time, and p*ssing me off, helped this person find work? I will honestly give the candidate a fair crack of the whip, but there’ll be plenty of Recruiters who will bundle them in with the meddlesome immigration advisors and not even open their CV.
Anyway, let me know if I’m being unreasonable, either below or in person at the Christmas PowWow. A couple of tickets still available here.