Judging by the amount of feedback I have received in relation to the 5 part series, Cowboy Recruiters, it is very clear that most professionals have in one way or another had a bad experience with the recruitment industry. Some people have experienced what can only be classified as theft, some people have experienced misrepresentation and some people have experienced even worse behaviours such as hustling, fraud and emotional bribery.

tips 2The first good news is that these Cowboy Recruiters who still think they can “clear up” in the market by acting like bandits will thankfully not have a very long life span. The second good news is that, while they are still here, I can now share some handy tips and hints in terms of how to deal with them, or should I say not deal with them.

So to all the clients and candidates that has or have had dealings with Cowboy Recruiters, here is some easy to implement actions.

Companies / Clients

Receiving a high number of speculative CV`s and / or contact from recruiters?

By implementing these easy and cost-free tips you will ensure the following:

  • A lesser volume of recruiters, who have little or no understanding of your business, will have the opportunity to represent your company in the market place without your approval.
  • A lesser volume of recruiters will carry out misrepresentation and fraud on your behalf.
  • Your company will never find themselves in a situation in which there is a dispute in regards to the ownership of a candidate and the dilemma as to who is due a “finders fee” thus saving both time and potentially money in the process.

Simple tips:

  1. Do not accept CV`s from recruiters in which are anonymous.  I appreciate that many companies prefer to receive a CV without a name, however this will simply cause you potential problems down the line and even worse, it will assists the Cowboy Recruiters.
  2. Do not accept CV`s from recruiters without a signed candidate representation letter. This letter should include a confirmation from the candidate that he or she wishes to be put forward to your company, signed of course.
  3. Choose 1-5 recruiters as partners.  Put their company names on your website so that candidates easily can check if an approach made to them is legit or not.
  4. Place a message on your website that warns candidates against Cowboy Recruiters who falsely represent your company. Once again refer to your 1-5 prefered partners.
  5. In those instances where you have a vacancy, but not using an external recruiter, make sure this is stated clearly in any job-advertisements.
  6. Don’t go for “the easy option” when speaking to a recruiter and say: “If you have any CV`s then send them over.”  Some recruiters will misinterpret this and believe they now have the right to represent your company to the “entire world.”


Worried that your CV will be sent out without your approval?

All the below tips are relatively easy to implement and you can put these tips to use immediately. This will ensure the following:

  • Less recruitment companies will have the opportunity to or even bother to spam your CV out to the market place.
  • You will avoid being seen as an unprofessional and desperate job seeker.
  • Higher possibility that you will secure a good position either now or in the future.

Simple tips:

  1. Decide on a handful of recruitment companies in which you are happy to have a dialogue with.  It is always smart to check if they have any testimonials on their website / online professional network as well as using your own network to split the good from the bad.
  2. “Lock” your CV on online databases or make your profile limited viewing so that recruiters who have unlimited access to these sites will have to ask your permission to view your complete CV / Profile.
  3. Don’t have a too detailed profile on an online professional networking site.  Hold back some info as this will make it harder to tur for Cowboy Recruiters to turn your profile into a CV.
  4. Do not register yourself on a recruitment company`s database.  There is next to value in this and all it means is that they can spam your CV out to the market as and when they please.  If they have a position that you are relevant for they will see your profile online and get in touch irrespective of whether you are registered With them or not.
  5. Do not sign up to recruitment company`s job alerts in cases where they also want your CV.
  6. Read the terms and conditions carefully if you register your CV or apply for a job.

That`s all for this series and thought it would be nice to end with some simple tips and hints for those of you who are experiencing problems with these Cowboys. Thankfully there are more good, professional and genuinely nice recruiters compared to Cowboy Recruiters, all whom can add great value to clients recruitment processes and to those candidates looking to make a move. These excellent recruiters are the ones that will ensure that recruitment industry continues to be of great added value to companies and candidates alike. Although there is a threat of Cowboys ruining it for the others, as in most films, the good ones always win at the end. Thank god for that.

4 thoughts on “Cowboy Recruiters: How to deal with them?

  1. I’ve just joined in on this story and I must state that it is an interesting read, more like a story out of a novel (laughs). However, sadly things like this happen whereby jobseekers fall victim to unscrupulous agents. As an aspiring subsea engineer in Cranfield university in the UK, I find this story interesting and would very much appreciate following it to the end. I hope not to fall into the hands of agents like Sebastian when I eventually enter the oil and gas job market. Thanks for sharing, Erik


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