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Job Hunting Question

A group of us were debating an issue that is facing one of the group.

He is a COO, lots of experience, not of the generation that went out and got certification after certification.

Answered a job wanted ad and was contacted by a recruiter.

Now we all know the recruiter works for the prospective employer.  The recruiter said it would be a tough sell because they wanted to see "Six Sigma" or "Agile" on the resume.

She also shared the job description that never specified what level of Six Sigma or methodology of Agile.  In fact we (the group) agree that the HR requirement was written by someone who has heard of these systems, but knows little or nothing about them.

The COO prospect was later told that they were firm on these requirements (even though he has been using GAP analysis and TQM for years.

All interaction between Recruiter and Client Company must go through the HR person.

So as it stands, he can’t get an interview.

Here's the dilemma:  One of my contacts knows the principles of the target company.  I can have an introduction made.

He informed the Recruiter of such, and of course the Recruiter thought it was a bad idea.

Should I make the intro?

Pros: He has nothing to lose; and might get the job.

Cons: The HR person will be incensed and the recruiter will lose income and probably never work with him again.

So again, what do you think?



(Contract Accountant) |

In my experience, the recruiter is more interested in the sell and less in the candidate. I found two "fantastic" positions through recruiters but they both ended really badly. I don't think it hurts to help out the candidate (or for him to contact the principles).

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

It is a VERY BAD idea to circumvent a recruiter.

If the recruiter has been hired by the company and the candidate goes around the recruiter, it sends a message to the company. And it's probably not the message the candidate would like to send.

If the recruiter has not been engaged by the company but is freelancing to try to make a sale, that candidate will be dropped immediately because of a potential claim for commission by the recruiter because she/he made the initial contact.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Lets discuss wrong message.

Why ?

Does it show a lack of initiative? Does it show a lack of playing by rules which may be self-limiting? Again, worse that I see happening is the Job is not gotten.

On other issues, the COO candidate can always make it clear that the recruiter contacted him but because of the Gatekeeper's
Requirements was ruled ineligible. This gives credit and commissions to recruiter.

As for the freelance recruiter, it wasn't their job and their is no claim.

Excuse typos, written on my iPhone.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

Wayne, I understand you like to challenge the status quo, but when you are in job search mode there are rules that apply. Those who choose not to play by the rules will be forced to suffer any consequences that result from playing a me-centered game with me-centered rules.

When you go around an engaged recruiter, the message is that you don't play by the rules. You like to go rogue. You have your own agenda and it trumps the company's agenda. If a company hired a recruiter, they did it for a reason. One reason is to serve as gatekeeper to ensure the company's minimum requirements are met. Clearly, the candidate you mention does not have those.

Do you really think the principals will "appreciate" this guy circumventing the process THEY initiated when he doesn't possess the minimum requirement THEY said was needed?

You might be right that it wasn't a freelance recruiter's job, but the "no claim" is in error. In this litigious society, everything is game for a lawsuit. Most companies will not risk having to pay a 30% commission they did not intend to pay, particularly if there are other good candidates available.

The world of recruiting is a small one and once you are black-balled, you can kiss that "necessary evil" at the executive level good-bye because you won't be called by any of them in the future.

Now, there might very well be other ways around this situation, but this way is not one I would recommend.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Thank you Cindy. As always we are on different sides of the fence on issues.

I love "rules" which are McCathyian styled.

We both are making assumptions. Maybe both of us is wrong, but I don't believe the recruiting world is that a) small b) connected and c) ethical.

Lets see what other C-Level people (the "THEY" we are talking about) say.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

Well, I do move in that world, Wayne, so I'm not making "assumptions." I actually have first-hand knowledge.

Topic Expert
Henry Schumann
Title: Manager FP&A
Company: Allscripts
(Manager FP&A, Allscripts) |

Plan B: Wayne's contact calls principal at Target Company. Contact indicates that he is aware of an individual (no name given), who is interested in position X at target company. The individual has training in GAP and TQM, but not Six Sigma or Agile as listed in job ad. Could principal at Target Company confirm that Six Sigma or Agile experience are deal breakers for the opening?

If principal at Target Company says yes Six Sigma or Agile are required, then have job candidate move on to next opportunity, and no one is the wiser about which candidate tried to "back door" the position.

If the principal says no, then Wayne's contact can follow up with target that HR/recruiter need to remove Six Sigma or Agile from the screening process. And again, no one is the wiser about which job candidate is forcing the action. But again, no guarantee that the job candidate will ultimately get an interview or job offer. However, at least one barrier to entry has been taken down.

Jim Schwartz
Title: Corporate financial advisor
Company: Wabash Financial Strategies
(Corporate financial advisor, Wabash Financial Strategies) |

^^^ What Cindy said. The world is full of requirements that don't always make sense. The need for a CPA, a frequent but often unnecessary part of many job specs, is one example. Not having this credential says nothing about a candidate's ability to perform the job, it's simply a job requirement that cannot be met in the short term.

Even if there is a lack of principles among the principals or recruiter or HR person, that doesn't excuse a candidate stooping to the same level. I think the advisor group is too focused on the short term. Yes, this particular opportunity might get away. But, employment and career matters are long-term propositions. The negative aura and ethical implications of taking a short cut will likely remain long after this particular recruiter is forgotten. Do I remember a candidate who lied to me 25 years ago? Absolutely, and even though he seems to have done well since then, I think about my interaction with him every time I see his picture or post on LinkedIn.

Taking initiative can be a way to separate from the crowd. However, the same action can be viewed very differently by others and may harm rather than help. If there's any doubt, be conservative.

I advise your COO friend to craft a letter or bullet list for the recruiter. This helps the recruiter sell the candidate if well done. List the requirements and show how the COO meets/exceeds each one. If your assertion is correct, the COO has both the experience and mastery of equivalent credentials. It will likely still be a tough sell. Even though your friend may be fully capable and qualified, as I note in my first paragraph that may not be enough to cause the recruiter to submit him or to overcome bias of an HR person in love (even if wrongly) with specific keywords.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

The CPA example was exactly what came to my mind, Jim. Those without it think it makes no difference, but a company who believes it is a requirement is the one calling the shots because it is the one hiring and paying the salary.

Candidates don't get to make that decision, although with a good value proposition they can sway that decision.

Topic Expert
Linda Wright
Title: Consultant
Company: Wright Consulting
(Consultant, Wright Consulting) |

Unfortunately (for lots of us and the COO), I have found Cindy to be right. Perhaps a networking contact can be made, but if the actual known name gets back to the recruiter, he/she will still be angry and unlikely to in any way endorse the candidate in. I think with respect to the next job, a contact can be made. I think the COO has to give up on this job.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

I agree, Linda. Networking is the key.

Topic Expert
Randy Miller
Title: Partner
Company: CFO Edge
(Partner, CFO Edge) |

I agree with Cindy and Linda. If the candidate does get in, the recruiter could have a claim to be paid his fee, regardless of how the candidate is hired. And it will send a message to the recruiter (and many other hiring professionals) that the company does not play by the rules.

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |

Networking: using your contacts to uncover the undercover market.

This isn't undercover, so "networking" into it is a good way to cause friction and burn multiple bridges at once, but not an effective way to get the role.

My gut says "go for it"; my first hand experience says "move on".

Daiv Simcic
Title: Accounting Manager and Integration Speci..
Company: UATP
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager and Integration Specialist , UATP) |

I think the candidate needs to make the decision on whether he really thinks it is a good place to work or not, or whether he/she is just settling. Look at the message the particular company is sending. Does he/she want to work for a company that is not willing to be flexible enough to consider talented people even if they don't have all the right qualifications.

And it matters a great deal to the company whether this candidate gets away. There are very few talented people in the work place (like 5%). So while the recruiter and company for that matter may believe it is portraying the right "long-term" attitude, they are only minimizing their opportunities.

The rules have all changed, so just getting around certain "unbounded fences" would not hurt the candidate. As far as worrying about the recruiter, if he was any good, he would look at the candidate and see if he was the best for the position, and not worry about the certifications so much as the individual (I am speaking of talent and not fit - fit is an outdated requirement). If the recruiter feels he is a good for the position and more importantly, for the company, it is in his best interest to make the interview happen.

So yes, it does ultimately come down to the company, which is why there are so few great companies, and so many average, below average, out of business companies.

Sara Voight
Title: Controller
Company: Critical Signal Technologies, Inc
(Controller, Critical Signal Technologies, Inc) |

I almost 'lost' two solid opportunities because a company and a recruiter stuck to the letters and did not look to the overall skills, experience, and accomplishments. In one case, a recruiter refused to consider my resume for presentation, so another one did and I got the job. In the other example, I simply lost the opportunity to speak to the employer and try to get my foot in the door. Fair? No, but I would rather focus on all the positive opportunities than focus on the walls and get stuck with a bad attitude or a reputation for circumventing the rules. I'm sure there have been at least a dozen other positions I would have been good for had someone considered presenting my application and resume even without all the requirements.

When on the market actively, you have to know that you are one of hundreds looking at the same position. The best position to be in is one where you are contacted first because someone brought up your name (reputation trumping all the requirements), which can only happen when you are involved in the professional community and don't insulate yourself from the rest of the world.


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