I was on the train this morning, and in my nosiness (I blame those big Samsung phones), I saw a lady – fully suited – texting someone, presumably her boss. at 9am: “Ugh, sorry I can’t come in today. Totally feeling sick. Staying in bed”
Well, she wasn’t – clearly. She was on the train, to London, and let’s be fair – probably going to an interview. As a recruiter, and an employer, I felt a bit sick. Somewhere, someone pushed her to do an interview in work-time. As recruiters operating in haste, on the whole, we are trained to almost relay the words “Well, if you want the job enough, you’ll take a sick-day, right?”. And if recruiters don’t say it – then often, the hiring client will – “If they’re not prepared to meet us on our terms, then they’re not really serious about the job?!”.
I’m not sure this is genuinely seen as a conundrum in the recruitment industry – but in truth, it does raise concerns. What is wrong with a job-seeker who is currently employed, wanting to show appreciation to their employer, and their contract, and only attend interviews outside of work?
From the hiring company’s perspective – if a candidate is prepared to take a sick day from their current employment so willingly; then what is to say they wouldn’t do the same for this company too – should they be hired? What does it say about that person’s attitude – or for that matter any employee’s attitude – if they are prepared to take a sick day at will. Frankly, it’s not the kind of employee I want.
Why isn’t the recruitment agency/recruiter advising this to their clients? Why are we not consulting that arranging meetings requires the full and untroubled attention of both parties and therefore it is best if the meeting is set at a time when all concerned had a clear mind, and weren’t supposed to be somewhere else?
So why are we asking potential employers to break the terms of their current employment, in an attempt to crowbar them into new employment? Why are we asking them to do to their current boss, what we wouldn’t want them to do to us?
Ethics and clarity in the recruitment process is just a practice, and this is an example of a part of that process that gets side-tracked. It really is no harm to wait a day or two longer, and ask the candidate to take legitimate time off in annual leave, do a lunch appointment, or to pop in early or stay late, to see the right candidate – isn’t it?
I welcome thoughts…