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Recruitment Consultants: Part 1 September 13, 2009

Posted by Audit Monkey in Working Life in Britain.
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I was recently contacted by a recruitment consultant based somewhere in Southern England. For ease of reference, I will him ‘Wayne’, which seems a suitable pseudonym. First, I received a mumbled voice message inviting me to return his call. At face value, there is nothing unusual about this but I had little or no recollection about speaking to Wayne or his agency in the first instant. Initially I was quite flattered that I had been called, presumably as I had been headhunted. However, I was also apprehensive; recruitment consultants are similar to advertising as they are pushing something you don’t necessarily wish to buy.

Wayne’s opening gambit was, “I have an internal audit job available, would you be interested?” Naturally I answered “yes” as on the supreme off chance that the position could be playing silly money for doing very little. So I asked “for whom is the role for?” “Can’t tell you that,” was the reply.

I was quite simply stunned by this reply. The majority of recruitment consultants are happy to disclose who their client is as it saves an awful lot of time. For instance, I’m quite adverse to pest control firms as I‘m not terribly interested in the sector. I don’t relish mixing with staff whose idea of polite conversation is likely to be the latest strain of rat poison or how mosquitoes in Africa are gradually becoming genetically immune to pesticide. So if the position had been for Pied Piper Ltd of Hamlyn, the answer would have been an immediate no.

Then followed a series of telephone calls where Wayne sought to contact me and vice versa to discuss the role further. I was at work after all and discussing potential new roles in an open plan office isn’t conducive to an harmonious time with my existing boss. Every time I tried to establish contact it either “Wayne is away from his desk,” or “Wayne is on the telephone”, until this pièce de résistance, “Wayne is in the toilet, can you hold?”

Oh puhleeze, where is your business etiquette? Unfortunately, my own manners evaded me and my reply was equally, if not more vulgar; “Well, it depends, doesn’t it, whether he is taking a number one or number two”.

Exasperated, I promised to call back, which I did sometime later but again, Wayne was unavailable, probably still ensconced in the Water Closet reading ‘The Sun’, or more optimistically, coaching notes on how be a better Recruitment Consultant. By this stage, I was pretty intemperate and requested not be contacted again.

Perturbed that I may have missed an opportunity for career progression, I reviewed Wayne’s firm’s website to see whether this was the case. Surprise, surprise, the cupboard was bare, albeit for positions paying monkey money. In hindsight, perhaps I should rekindle my interest in pest control firms. I’m sure there is a market for a pesticide to nullify nuisance recruitment consultants.


1. ITaudit - October 15, 2009

One issue that irks me is how some consultants stretch the work out to last longer so they can bill more (also known as “add more value”). In the end, you will be found out.

Also, many times staff thinks that consultants “know” more because they’re the experts who get paid the big bucks.

Looks like a good start on your blog. I’ll be back.

2. Audit Monkey - October 28, 2009

Thanks for the feedback.

3. nitin - January 12, 2011

Thanks for such a nice post !

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