Why Cutting Out Recruiters Could Damage Your Career

Dante Alighieri was the supreme master at pigeonholing sinners. His epic vision of Lucifer’s backyard has survived 700 years.

Dante’s Inferno places wrongdoers in nine concentric circles of increasing naughtiness – but one group is conspicuous by its absence. This lot…


Candidates who try cutting out the recruiter

It’s a breach of professional integrity to phone an employer after you’ve been approached by an executive search consultant.

Some people who do so mistakenly believe they’re doing their future employer a service by trying to reduce the cost of recruiting them.

They hope they will be received more favorably and stand out by not being on the recruiter’s list.

But most companies have larger fish to fry – whether they’re large multinationals with lofty global ambitions or white-hot technology start-ups where every second counts in getting to market first.

One or two candidates “declined into selfish appetite” (as Dante would put it) may even be brazen enough to request a cut of any potential saving. His Fourth Circle (reserved for the Greedy) awaits them.

That’s because they’re now marked men (and women). They will have aroused suspicions at the client company.

They’ve strayed from Dante’s intended diritta via. Their integrity will always be subject to career-damaging inquisition.

If you are being called by a recruiter who has been retained by the client (or is a partner of the client) then trying to sidestep them will inevitably backfire.

The client will be liaising with their recruiting partner – and the fact that you have approached them directly will be known to both the client company and the recruiter.

You will be seen as deceitful – not clever.

You may think you are being proactive but the client will see you as being difficult and dishonest.

Biting The Hand That Feeds

You’ll have gathered by now that these mischievous souls can annoy the recruiter…to put it mildly.

And at what a cost. Each has made a rod for his/her own back.

They will have lost the recruiter’s valuable help and will be competing against others it puts forward for the role. Two steps back for an ill-thought and clumsy one step ‘forward’.

Their actions also create extra work for the employer who – instead of dealing with one highly organised point of contact (the recruiter) – must now contend with a wild card in addition.

Not ideal.

Why Do They Go Bad?

These naughty chaps think they’re being clever – but instead they’re being naive. What they may have deemed initiative is misplaced if it leads them astray.

Others may fall out with their recruiter after signing. They mistakenly believe this gives them a licence to take a few questionable shortcuts. But in doing so they undermine their own credibility.

Or perhaps they may know someone at the hiring company. It’s a small world – particularly at the top.

But there’s far more to life than simply ‘who you know’.

Doing the right thing matters far more.

Poetic Justice

In Dante’s Inferno, the wrong’uns all received a spot of poetic justice (aka a ‘contrapasso’).

And so it is with the rotters who try to sneak round the well defined professional parameters of the recruitment process.

Each bad deed leads to its own particular misery – with the same inglorious result: career ignominy.

To paraphrase Dante (and if you’ll permit a bit of Renaissance vernacular), their souls are fixed eternally in the state they have chosen for themselves.