A recruiter can ruin your Professional Services firm’s reputation with a single email

A recruiter can ruin your Professional Services firm’s reputation with a single email

Recently, I received an email from a recruiter sent on behalf of a competitor’s company. I am happily leading a worldwide professional services organization at Centrify, and my LinkedIn profile does not indicate that I am looking for work. Instead, I often am looking to hire additional senior consultants who want to become leaders in a boutique professional services organization. However, that didn’t dissuade this persistent recruiter.

This email was so scandalous that I had to take action.

The entire email follows. I have changed the name of the company and the recruiter. All misspellings, spacing errors, and grammatical errors are faithful to the original.

Subject: “Professional Services Pro! - Privilege Identity firm rapidly growing with Growth.”

Hi Kayne,

Your impressive background in Professional Services has the VP for Wernham Hogg very interested in speaking with you about a position because they are expanding their team. Wernham Hogg , a Privilege Identity firm is the leader in one of the ‘hottest’ security spaces currently.They are adding 5 new people to their delivery side. Cutting edge technology, rapidly growing and great culture. Lucrative. Remote position with travel, the amount depending on where you live.Superb benefits. The firm will double is size in the next 2 years.

Let’s schedule a call so i can share the details with you. NO more than 50% travel Promise! Air travel that is easy no matter what the cost.
— Ryan Bingham, Executive Recruiter

 
As this appears to be a form email, I am probably not the only person who saw this one.
- The sentence spacing is very odd and inconsistent, such as "where you live.Superb"
- Typos, such as "double is size," or "so i can" appear throughout
- Professional services is a very broad category. Attorneys, plumbers, CPAs, and consultants all work in professional services. 
- It also does not help that the recruiter seems to have neglected to notice that I am the professional services manager for a competing firm.

I could have chosen to write this off as a poorly written piece of spam, or a phishing scheme. Instead, I forwarded the email to Jennifer Taylor-Clarke(*) at Wernham Hogg. She called it ‘cringe-worthy’ and said that she would take appropriate action.

Very few firms audit the outbound communications of their recruiters. Similarly, very few recruiters offer to allow their clients access to those outbound communications. This has greater potential for reputational damage than an errant sales person harassing a single customer, as that would affect just a single client relationship. In this case, a recruiter that makes your firm look incompetent can dissuade an entire category of skilled professionals from ever wanting to work there, or to recommend that company to a colleague. 

As an industry, we can do better than to retain executive recruiters who offend prospects. If you receive an email like this, the only professional thing to do in this circumstance is to contact the firm being represented. Let them know how the recruiter is misrepresenting their values and culture to prospects. Because even though your business might not be using that recruiter’s services right now, what’s to say that will not change in a month or a year? 


* All names have been replaced in this article.

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