I always wondered if a Headhunter with a christian or any other faith background find themselves questioning their morals when pursuing a high profile candidate using unethical headhunting techniques like 'lying through their teeth' when getting past the gatekeeper and then subsequently probing the company until you find your target?

What are your thoughts...is headhunting ethical?

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First question; are we harming anyone? If the answer is yes, stop causing harm and be ethical. Recruiters, who are unethical or just very irritating, get caught and the world is smaller than ever. Plus, we have to get though our days, is emotionally intelligent to be ethical, it just is more rewarding and feels good.

Second question; as a recruiter if someone thinks or feels we have to lie they don't know enough about recruiting tact. We have other options - keep an open mind, keep learning more. More is accomplished with trust and honesty - really, people who trust will want to you help you and that is an absolute truth. By the way, often a better way to find out who our target is in a company we need to build a decision tree in is through a candidate who has worked in or is working in the target organization. Build a rapport with insiders, some may be surprised how secrets become known to us and we become referred.

Third question; should we refuse to do things we feel are unethical? Let me suggest an answer - Absolutely! Good recruiters are talented professional people who should make good such choices even if they are hard to make. Then have pride in moving on. We can not become top-notch if our processes are based upon a need to be unethical - it is simply dumb in the long term. If you are reading this, chances are you are not a dummy. Your career should not be based upon a series of things you are NOT proud of! There might even be some bosses or employers we should walk away from as they are not raising us up, but holding us down.

This question simply underlines a problem we have in our industry with newcomers espeically who are not given quality direction or training to get results the right way. The top recruiters who are sought after to build rapport and have high level clients because they can navigate and execute better than most when recruiting. Typically they have amazing relationships at the top because they have done well along the way. We help to build companies and careers - powerful stuff. These top performers are most satisfied in their work as executive recruiters. Most of these top-performers will tell you they are ethical and that they must be.
Great discussion starter, passionate responses..... after reading all the responses did you get what you were hoping to Paul?
Priceless.

I think 800,000,000 is the figure used to frame the number of religious deaths throughout history; I've asked at conferences and online about this issue and I don't believe the ethical zealots have provided me with anywhere this many deaths by unethical recruiting.

Nick Leslie-Miller said:
Head hunting occupies a moral high ground far above that of any religion. How many people have been butchered to death during the search process? How many have been butchered to death in the name of Religion?

I know - I thought Nick's answer was great too!
;)

Maureen the Company Prober
Lying is wrong, but I agree with a previous post that said that just by having a certain job does not imply that you HAVE to lie. You have to live with your own conscience, yes....but in response to another post that asked if it is a sin if you don't really think it is a sin?...Yes, a sin is a sin no matter how you feel about it....there are grey areas, but one of the ten commandments says do not bear false witness....so that is straight from the Bible...no interpretations there. If you have to lie to get ahead, then maybe you're in the wrong business....and just by asking the question, it sounds as if you already feel guilty. That's the number one sign that you are probably not being ethical.
Honestly, I have to say that I think the question is offensive, because the implication is that all headhunters lie through their teeth. I have been a recruiter for over 15 years and I do not lie to my candidates or my clients. When someone tells me something in confidence, I keep the confidence. When a gatekeeper asks my name and company, I tell them proudly. I can't tell you how many times a gatekeeper has asked the nature of my call and I say, "I am an executive recruiter and I want to speak with him about a position that we are recruiting for" - and I get right through. If you can't get through, call back after hours and use the automated system to figure out the extension. Or, figure out the way they set up their email addresses at that company and send an email. There are plenty of ethical ways to do be a successful headhunter. If a headhunter finds themselves lying, that makes them unethical - it does not mean it is an unethical profession.
Nick Leslie-Miller said:
KarenM / Hirecentrix.com said:
Nick,
You asked the question below -
Nick Leslie-Miller said - So a client asks you to find the three best FMCG marketing product managers in your state how do would you go about

a. Finding them in the first place and
b. How would you benchmark Mattonen
karenm@hirecentrix.com
www.hirecentrix.com

I would like to close again with suggesting the following about ethics from the Institute of Global Ethics

The following is quoted -

Religion is Not univesal, Laws are not universal -- but ethics/values are indeed universal --

The peaceful living together of people and nations requires a minimum consensus of ethical values. 1) Respect the other as yourself. 2) Do not lie. 3) Do not steal. 4) Respect life. 5) Protect nature. -- these are universal

Values provide the basis for judgments about what IS important for the Organization to succeed in It’s core business. Even when not written into a code, principles of professional ethics are usually expected of people in business, employees, volunteers, elected representatives and so on.
Ethical Behavior is the bedrock of mutual trust.

So I take that you have never told a lie
Of course it's ethical! What matters is how YOU conduct your business. I feel that I have strong morals and deal with both clients & candidates with ethical treatment but honestly, if I had a dime for everytime somebody lied to me, I wouldn't have to recruit. I have stretched the truth in the past and probably will stretch the truth in the future but I admit it. As fas as morals go, I have clients asking me to "raid" competitors as a matter of routine. I have candidates lying through their teeth on resumes. You deal in a world that is very subjective. What is a lie to you may not be anything more than a simple statement to others. Look at the past election campaigns. They are the professionals. If you believe in and know right from wrong, you'll do OK. If not, run for office.......Enjoy the day...........
As a 29 year self-employed recruiter I don't lie when I source--and I certainly don't tell the truth, either. I don't always use my full name when intensively recruiting from a company, give a private line-not main number, refer to myself as a "consultant" when asked, don't specify the company the job's with unless receiving a resume from a prospect, and don't tell people how I got their name other than "phone networking."

I'm trying to be effective while avoiding company detection as long as I can--with small companies you're often detected within 6-10 recruit calls. Do I proudly state my company name when recruiting? No way. That's a sure bet to get a call from Corporate Counsel or Security as when you cold call you can never be sure of how it's received.......found the same response when single when asking a girl out, you never know.

Recruiting is legal. However, we all know the company being recruited out of isn't happy about it and will try to make your life miserable to stop you once discovered--it's in their interest. I'm a dangerous adversary to the company and a helpful ally to passive job seekers. I'd rather the company not know who I really am and not know how to contact/email me even though they know I'm recruiting.

I'd much rather deal with every single recruitee at a company hanging up on me due to corporate emailed memos to "watch out for the recruiter" to find the ones who do want to speak with me versus deal with legal wranglings, even though they'll likely be tossed out of court.

Just my two cents, not believing some of the non 'self-preservation' comments on recruiting I'm reading here.

Bill
With the telemarketing "do not call lists" today in one's homelife if someone's selling me a product presently I've initiated the contact. As Recruiters we're often cold calling people who didn't ask for our phone call. They could be anywhere from delighted I called to angered for my non solicited call interfering with their work. Any response they give to my contact, so be it.

The difference is they're paid by a company as an employee at will. The company doesn't want them talking with me. The company doesn't want me calling them. They'll do anything in their power to get me to cease and desist from recruiting from them. That's the game. It's not for the faint-hearted or altruistic. We're more like spies engaged in espionage as our activity, in essence, harms the company we're recruiting from at the least and takes valuable employee time away from their work at the most. When I'm sold a product it's my time, and my time only with no one being hurt.

Again, I'm trying hard to be discreet when I recruit and make a splash when marketing. The only candidates my clients will accept from me are "passive" recruited via phone they can't readily access on their own through their extensive Internet recruiting. I can't be sending the same candidates they find on their own. It's hard work with tremendous reward for success and punishing defeat for failure.

I won't lie, and I won't tell the truth until I'm certain I have a legitimate prospect.

Just my self-preservation two cents.

Bill
Ethical according to Encarta is “conforming to accepted standards”...based on this definition we have concluded that as far as headhunting goes, there remains no accepted standard. Loose definitions of ethics, even those that have been universally or academically accepted, remain loose definitions in our vast and changing world. Many fascinating opinions have been posted here, each as valid as the other, but that the end of the day we will each look to justify what we believe. Ethics, integrity, morality, these clearly have different meanings to each of us despite “Webster” or “Encarta”. If you are fully comfortable with what you do in your “headhunting” process, congrats, you’ve found a road that works for you...if you are uncomfortable with what you do in your “headhunting” process then perhaps a reflection of what makes you uncomfortable (unable to sleep at night) is necessary. This however is more of a personal issue than one that can be solved in a mass forum. There is no wrong or right, faith or no faith, religion or no religion, how we conduct our lives (career choice being part of that life) is as much a personal issue as what we believe. One thing is clear, we are each passionate about what we believe, and if that passion translates over into our work, then we are all destined for success, no matter what road we take to get there!
A good search professional hunts for the body, mind, and soul not just the head and in today's world there is no need to lie to find top talent.

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