A Nightmare on Sloane Avenue
It’s Halloween Eve in the Recruitment Entrepreneur hub and no doubt later we’ll head to the pub!
Whilst ghosts and goblins are yet to be seen, one hundred recruitment consultants might make you scream.
Competing against each other and trying to outbrave, a few appearing to have risen from the grave.
The phones are ringing, my colleagues pacing around me; the noise in the office sounds like that of a banshee.
Approaching this wonderfully eerie time of year I wanted to share scary stories from my career and from those who I work with, across the portfolio, who have dealt with the horrors of recruitment as we know.
These stories will make your blood boil – sit tight, keep reading and prepare yourselves, you’re in for a fright!
“My recruitment horror story is from very early in my client career. I hadn’t much in experience but lots of passion and drive to succeed. I managed (probably due to the difficulty of the request – obscure location and niche skill set) to score a vacancy to work on. I spent hours crafting an order of work proposal to present to the client. After reading through my work the client said, “Thanks for putting this together – I’ve given it to your competitor to work on”. Needless to say, I did BOO and soon realised there can be UNFORSEEN FORCES AT PLAY when dealing with clients but regardless I am glad to say I wasn’t TOO FRIGHTENED to pick up the phone and go again!”
I began my recruitment career working in financial services, specifically trading. I arranged to have coffee with a senior trader from a well-known bank, hoping for a new client but at the very least a relationship that would prove valuable in future. Arriving at the coffee shop on time, my prospective client was nowhere to be seen. I rang a couple of times, I sent an email. Twenty minutes later, just as I was sure I had been stood up, the trader arrived. No apology, but not one to hold a grudge I smiled, ushering him into the coffee shop. “What would you like?” I asked. “Medium latte, in a takeaway cup”, he replied. Not too unusual I thought. I ordered my flat white in a mug. I took both coffees from the barista, handing the latte to my guest. Before I could suggest we move to the quiet corner in the back the trader said “cheers” and walked away. I was left dumbstruck, my flat white on the counter, feeling just like the mug it came in. My mind quickly turned as to how I could explain this to my incredibly strict, regularly irrational, often angry boss. I decided I wouldn’t, I would lie, I would pretend the meeting went well. No one could ever know….
After qualifying a candidate that perfectly matched a company I was working with, I secured him an interview. He ticked every box in terms of technical skills, personality, career ambitions etc.. UNTIL, I received a call from my client to inform me that he had just seen my candidate in the lobby and he wasn’t going to be interviewing him. Turns out ‘Mr Perfect’ likes wearing shorts and a polo top to his interviews, whilst smelling of his antics from the night before…
I was working on a niche opportunity that required a very specific background and my colleague stumbled across a great CV which ticked every box; for the sake of the story let’s call him William Wallace. We spoke on a Wednesday, I sent the CV on Thursday, he interviewed on Friday and started on Monday! (Yes, I felt like the literal Craig David of recruitment.)
Day 2: The client calls, “Something isn’t quite right with William… in the morning he is very, very quiet.” My response, “don’t worry, he probably just needs to get going – first week nerves etc.”
Day 3: “Something still isn’t quite right with William. He is visibly shaky, and he was sending me emails at 2/3 in the morning” I was perplexed, I had excellent references for him but gave the benefit of the doubt and replied, “let me look into this”. I spoke to Willie; he assured me he likes to work in the evenings and sometimes has a nervous twitch.
Day 4: The clients calling again, “Luke, my site manager thought he could smell alcohol on William’s breath this morning. I’m going to sit down with him tomorrow.” PANIC STATIONS, RED ALERT – cue 10 phone calls to William (unanswered).
Day 5: You’ve got the drift, “Luke, William hasn’t turned up today – he sent me a one-line text apologising at 9:30. Just to warn you, I’m going to let him go but he’s taken home his work laptop with thousands of pounds worth of work.” At this point I’m mid-breakdown.
Day 6: I couldn’t get hold of William, neither could my client.
Day 7: I STILL couldn’t get hold of William.
Day 8: I start borderline harassing Willie. I make contact, he is not going back and refuses to return the laptop back unless I go to him, some 60 miles away.
Day 9: Willie agrees to meet me tomorrow at 6pm – with the laptop – at a busy train station in London.
Day 10: It’s 6pm, Willie isn’t here. I call, no answer. 6:10 and still no Willie. 6:30 – nothing, nada, zilch. 6:45, what’s that on the horizon? A staggering William Wallis with a laptop bag! He comes up to me, pushes it into my chest and without saying a word, turns around and storms off. I return the laptop to the client the next day and the ordeal is over. It turns out my candidate was less of a William and more of a Richard & I was the one screaming “FREEDOM” at the end.
Bust Up & Bust Out from a mystery recruiter who shall remain anonymous!
I was recruiting for a senior-level trading position with an IT Company, it was a difficult fill but a great fee if I got it right – close to 100K. I had met with an excellent candidate on three separate occasions. I introduced them to my client, confident in his ability, and began spending the commission in my head whilst they invited him back (twice) to meet with other members of the team. During the third-interview, my client made his decision and offered my candidate in the interview. It paid off! He accepted, they shook hands and they took to the pub to celebrate together! Unfortunately it only lasted for a few short hours; as the evening drew late with drinks in full swing, it was a matter of time until they disagreed on something. My candidate then landed his fist, smack on the jawline of my client – sending him to the hospital to get stitches. I only found out when the candidate called me the next morning, from his cell, hoping for a bail out!
Terrifying I know! And for each consultant, a real blow. Most in this game have at least one to share so please tell us yours, if you dare! Happy Halloween Eve Folks!
Tel: 0207 048 3304