Today we will have another meeting with a person who has become somewhat infamous for his recruitment practises and behaviour in general.  It is of course our ‘beloved friend’ or should I say ‘enemy’, Sebastian, the UK recruitment expert.  We will also be meeting the unemployed candidate, Camilla, the jobseeker who has missed out on countless good job opportunities due to Sebastian’s dodgy antics.

The fairytale of Camilla, Sebastian and Company X

Thief 4Once upon a time, there was an arrogant or some would say, “up his own a…se” recruitment expert by the name of Sebastian.  Sebastian recruited within the Norwegian Oil and Gas Sector from his offices in the UK.  Within his company, Sebastian was a super-hero, the king of the castle and the one all the teenage recruitment consultants aspired to be most like.

The last week of January had arrived and for once Sebastian had not performed as well as he ought to.  Perhaps not that strange considering he spent two weeks working from his boss’ villa in Marbella and apart from a few phone calls and emails, he had been more bothered about the free flowing champagne, white powder and the countless ladies available.  As a result, he could therefore be somewhat “excused” for his poor performance but Sebastian was not willing to accept being anything but number one.  In many ways very similar to his all-time hero, Lance Armstrong.  With only one week of the month remaining, Sebastian really had to come up with the goods, no matter the cost.

The week did not get off to a good start.  Sebastian had been notified by a client, Company X, that they had decided to offer their Project Manager vacancy to a candidate they had sourced themselves as opposed to the candidate Sebastian had recommended to them.  “Damn,” Sebastian shouted to the rest of the office while he worryingly started to face the fact that he may miss out on the number one spot.

Anyway, Sebastian quickly changed his attitude and decided to focus on the solution as opposed to the problem. He was well known for his creativity and he would certainly come up with something this time too.  All he needed was another cunning plan and as far as cunning plans go, Sebastian was the best.

leAs it happened, Sebastian knew the candidate in which Company X had decided to hire.  He actually knew her rather well.  It was Camilla.  “Once again I am going to ruin things for that dirty rat”, he mumbled.

Together with his colleague, John, they agreed on the following plan: John would call Camilla and present himself as a person from a different recruitment company in the UK.  During the call, he would more or less offer Camilla a position with Company Y in Stavanger, a company he knew she had met with previously for an interview process and he knew that Company Y was high on her list of places to work.  The “clever thing” was that the position John was “offering” Camilla, was based locally in Stavanger and she would not raise an eyebrow as to why an offer would come through without an interview.  After all, she had met with them three times previously.  It was an easy sell for John as he went on to say; “All I need to check with you Camilla is whether you would be interested in this position or not?” John asked. Camilla explained that she had been offered a position in Oslo with Company X but that an opportunity that involved not having to move with her little daughter would be much preferred.

“Leave it with me and I will get back to you by end of business today,” Jonathan said as they finished the call.

After a few high fives and a quick pint at lunch, John and Sebastian got to work again and this time they were preparing an email to Camilla.

Dear Camilla,

We are pleased to inform you that Company Y are keen to offer you the position of Project Manager at their offices in Stavanger.  The formal details of the offer will be discussed with you when you meet with them on Thursday of this week.

Due to the fact that Company Y have two other candidates they would consider if you turn down this opportunity, please confirm that you are keen to pursue this role and that you will decline the offer you have received from Company X in Oslo.  We can then ensure that company Y informs the other candidates that they have been rejected.

The following day, as soon as Sebastian got to his office, the phone rang.  It was Company X from Oslo. “Hi Sebastian. Our preferred candidate has rejected the offer we provided to her and as a result we have decided to make an offer to your candidate instead.”

Therefore they all lived happily ever after.

(Apart from Camilla that is who never heard from John again despite chasing and chasing him.  When she tried to contact Company X directly they informed her that they had never heard of this John or his company.)


Some people may argue that Camilla was somewhat naive in relying on Sebastians word. Perhaps so but it is important to remember that jobseekers often find themselves in desperate situations and therefore they are not always thinking as clearly as they should be. In addition to this, who would expect someone from a professional service industry to operate in such manner?

During the first 4 meetings with Sebastian, we have seen some behaviour that is as far from professional as behaviour can be. This includes:

  1. Theft of someones CV and profile
  2. Representing a company without their consent
  3. Tricking a candidate into providing sensitive information and then using this information against the candidate
  4. Presenting a false job offer to a candidate

Most people will agree that the behaviours above are shocking and something one should not expect to see from recruiters (apart from the Cowboy Recruiters themselves of course). I too agree and I am highlighting these issues to make people aware. Being a jobseeker is not easy in any way or form and as a recruiter I am not willing to accept that parts of my industry contribute to making things even more difficult for candidates.

Thankfully, the bad recruiters are in the minority and the good recruiters are people and companies that will go out of their way to help you as a candidate or as a client. You can find them in the UK, Norway, US or anywhere else in the world and the key thing that differentiates them from the Cowboys of the recruitment world is that they take their job seriously, they genuinely care and they have values that are in line with what the modern business world would and should expect.

(Stay tuned for part 5 and feel free to share your experience and views in comment field below)

7 thoughts on “Cowboy Recruiters Part 4: “I am going to ruin things for that rat!”

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