could this unreasonable recruiter trash-talk my friend?

A reader writes:

I’m writing this on behalf of a friend. I’ll call him “Dan.”

Dan is not looking for a position but was contacted by a recruiter. The recruiter does not work for any one company, but is retained by various companies to recruit for them. The recruiter thought Dan would be “perfect” for a position with Large Company in Midwest city. Dan told the recruiter no, he was not interested in moving to Midwest city. The recruiter persisted, Dan gave it some thought and decided Midwest city might be a good fit, so why not? He agreed to an interview.

The first round was to be a phone interview with Large Company. The recruiter said he would handle all the details. The recruiter scheduled a day and time and Dan confirmed. The day before the interview, the recruiter called Dan six times. Dan was unable to take any of the recruiter’s calls due to work (his current job does not allow personal calls during work hours). On the last call, the recruiter left a message saying he had cancelled the scheduled phone interview because Dan was not returning any of the recruiter’s calls.

Please note: Dan already confirmed the day and time, provided a phone number, etc, days earlier. All of the phone calls were in less than 6 hours during normal work hours and the recruiter knew Dan had a job. The actual interview was scheduled for the following day. The recruiter was not calling to change the interview, just to re-confirm.

Dan was frustrated, but since he wasn’t really looking and he wasn’t sure he was interested in Midwest city, he didn’t pursue it any further.

A few days later, Large Company e-mailed Dan a survey asking about his interview experience. Dan filled out the survey truthfully and said the recruiter was difficult to work with. Now the recruiter is calling Dan multiple times a day asking Dan to call him back. Dan is not returning the calls.

Dan is now worried that the recruiter will trash-talk him on the Internet and badmouth him to the recruiting community. Is that possible? Do recruiters do such things? And do other recruiters believe them and avoid candidates based on that? If it is realistic, is there anything he can do?

If I were Dan, I’d call the recruiter back and tell him exactly what I thought of his actions.

Could the recruiter trash-talk him? I suppose, sure. But it’s unlikely, and the damage he could do is limited anyway. (And it wouldn’t be on the Internet where everyone could see it; it would be in one-one-conversations — but again, unlikely. He deals with tons of candidates; he’s just not going to be that motivated to go after your friend.)

Frankly, the recruiter might not be calling about the survey anyway. Based on his aggressive use of multiple phone calls previously, he could just be calling about a different position. Either way, Dan shouldn’t work with the guy — but there’s no reason not to call him back, even if just to tell him to stop calling.

{ 69 comments… read them below }

  1. AnotherAlison

    While I think the recruiter’s move was inappropriate, as is the continued calling now, I don’t think Dan handled the 6 phone calls well. Did he have his phone off? If so, maybe I give Dan a pass. If not, well, if someone calls me 6 times, I’ll figure out a way to answer at least once. He doesn’t get a lunch? He can’t discreetly go to the bathroom or outside for a minute? Unless he’s doing surgery, how is this possible? I’d be surprised if there weren’t some parents at Dan’s company, and I guarantee they take personal phone calls during the work day. It’s annoying when you can’t get a hold of someone, and I can see how 6 unreturned calls may have caused the recruiter to think Dan wasn’t going to be reliable in showing up for the phone screen.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Back when I had a real job, I never even looked at my cell phone during the day. It stayed in my purse, or sometimes even in my car. If someone needed to reach me in a true emergency, they’d be someone who would have my work number and could reach me that way.

      I don’t see any way that it’s reasonable for the recruiter to assume that because he couldn’t reach someone during an 8-hour period, they were going to miss a scheduled call the next day that they’d previously confirmed.

      1. AnotherAlison

        I think times are changing with respect to personal cell phones. In 2008, my cell phone never left my purse. Now it’s sitting on my desk all day every day, and it’s okay for mgmt to text each other all day long.

        I agree, that assumption by the recruiter isn’t reasonable, but I can see how one person could get to that conclusion. (It’s kind of crazy ex behavior. . .)

        1. Josh S

          My first workplace was a call center. We were chained to our phones (metaphorically speaking) and only allowed a maximum of 15 minutes off-time when we were scheduled to be on the phone. Including unscheduled bathroom breaks, going off-phone to write additional notes for complex calls, etc.

          Further, we had only 30 minutes for lunch (which we weren’t allowed to eat at our desks–had to go to the cafeteria, so it took pretty much all 30 minutes to get there, get food, scarf it down, and get back).

          Cell phones were strictly prohibited on the call center floor. Like, you can have it in your pocket/purse, but it better be off/silent, and it better never show up. We had access to SSNs and other personal information, so any sort of recording device was a big no-no. And talking/texting while on-phones was a fire-able offence at the 2nd occurrence.

          Most people left their phones in a desk drawer, turned to silent for the day.

          So completely reasonable that “Dan” wouldn’t have noticed the call until after the day was over.

        2. jmkenrick

          This also depends a lot on what you’re doing. If you’re in meetings all day, and/or doing customer service, or performing a job that involves dealing with the public, it’s really difficult to answer personal calls without being rude to the people you’re working with.

      2. Kelly O

        I would agree that six calls in six hours is excessive. I can have my phone on my desk (it’s my clock and radio in its cradle) but I keep mine on vibrate and do not answer unless it’s an emergency or I have a moment to get away gracefully.

        If Dan were in the middle of an important project, had a meeting, was in his boss’ office discussing something, or otherwise unable to answer the phone, it wouldn’t be possible for him to stop and answer immediately.

        The thing is, he was up front with this recruiter about his situation. It’s not like the recruiter didn’t know he was already employed. I must admit it is a huge annoyance to me when recruiters don’t seem to “get” that I can’t drop everything and take their call immediately, or that I may not answer every email as soon as its received.

        But the call volume? That’s crazy. And couldn’t the recruiter have sent an email to follow up? Or left a voice mail?

        1. Vicki

          “I must admit it is a huge annoyance to me when recruiters don’t seem to “get” that I can’t drop everything and take their call immediately, or that I may not answer every email as soon as its received.”

          This. 100x this.

    2. Stells

      It depends, I think. I know in our company employees are not allowed personal calls during their shift because we deal with very confidential information (re: health records). If parents or guardians need to be reached, we have a number for the security office, who will track down the employee to take a call for a personal emergency.

      That being said, our employees are allowed cell phone use in the break room as long as they are clocked out (which is for (2) 15 min breaks as well as a lunch break). Also, the same is true for accessing personal email (it’s blocked on business computers). So it’s feasible that if one of our employees didn’t turn on and check their phone on their breaks (they have to be turned off once they enter teh secure area) then they would have missed the recruiter’s calls.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Right, but also people just use their cell phones differently. Some people, like me in my example above, ignore them entirely during work because that’s their preference (totally regardless of what their employer does or doesn’t allow).

        1. Jess

          And it’s not unheard of for a workplace to not allow cell phones, either. The OP didn’t say that was the case here, but my husband’s last job (just a year or so ago) they didn’t allow people to bring cell phones inside the building, and they had to go to a special computer to access the “unclassified” internet (and thus their personal email). The company handled classified information and these were security precautions. When he was job hunting and was expecting calls, he’d go out to his car and check his cell phone messages on his lunch break–but he only went out and did that when he was expecting a call. He certainly would not have seen this recruiter’s missed calls until after business hours.

          1. The Other Dawn

            I agree. My husband works at a company that handles classified information and works on government contracts. Many areas of the building do not allow cell phones at all. If he worked in one of those areas, he wouldn’t be able to answer any cell calls until either his lunch break or after hours.

        2. Anony Mouse

          I don’t get reliable cell reception in my office. Often, as soon as I walk outside, the vm indicator lights up. The people who are important enough to bother me at work know my direct line at work, period.

          1. anonymous

            I get terrible reception at my desk at work. It’s kind of nice to have the distraction of my phone removed.

    3. Jenny

      I think the key here is 6 calls in 6 hours. It wasn’t 6 unreturned calls over the course of days. For an interview that was already confirmed.

    4. Rin

      I don’t get any reception in my building, and I don’t take lunch breaks, so I can’t check my phone at work. Even if I did take a break, I wouldn’t use it to go downstairs and outside about thirty feet to see if maybe someone’s called me.

    5. Anonymous

      I work in a park and I don’t have cell service in my building. So my phone stays off the entire day, with no problems. Call my work number or email me; if not, I’ll get back to you after work or first thing next morning.

      1. Anonymous

        Even if you are in a job where you can take a personal call, in order for me to take a call about another job, it would require me to actually physically leave my office building and walk at least a block away. Can you imagine if a colleague overheard that call?

        Or if people became suspicious because you were lurking around taking secretive phone calls and then taking a few hours off in the next days for “an appointment”? In small office it would take about 10 secs for someone to figure out what was going on.

        Answering a call from a dentist to confirm a appointment is sorta different then taking calls to discuss a new job.

        1. twentymilehike

          Oh goodness .. THIS. I’m shocked at the amount of people that I’ve talked to recently that just. don’t. get. it. when I tell them I can’t just pick up the phone at work and have whatever conversation I want. There are five of us in my office and if I did anything out of the ordinary they are like flies on honey trying to figure out what I’m up to. I wore a skirt once and got a the third degree about why I was “so dressed up.”

    6. Anonymous

      In certain job situations, there are times when you cannot answer your phone in the span of 6 hours. My job as a live-on-air TV crew behind the cameras does not allow me to answer my personal cell at all in the time frame I am working which can be either 3 hours up to 8-9 hours depending on the situation. So I completely understand that if Dan cannot answer his cell in a 6-hour time frame, then there is a good reason.

      1. Alisha

        ven if you are in a job where you can take a personal call, in order for me to take a call about another job, it would require me to actually physically leave my office building and walk at least a block away. Can you imagine if a colleague overheard that call?

        This is what I’ve always done. For many years I worked at a large office park by a famous body of water in my city. When doing phone screens or interviews, I would head down to my favorite secluded spot on the shorefront. You couldn’t hear the waves lapping or the birds or anything and the reception was great. But it was 15 minutes out and 15 back, plus time to review notes for the call – not something I could just drop everything to accomplish for sure!

        This recruiter sounds new and naive about how professional, non-recruiting jobs work. I actually worked in roles where I designed UIs for mobile for the past five years after the iPhone came into play, and I was always on one of our company’s test phones. My actual cell phone was in my bag, half the time turned off, and I frequently missed calls because I was too busy to look at it. Additionally, the office park was in a so-so area of town, and we’d been warned of electronics thefts in previous years. I’d been robbed at one point so I was more cautious since I knew the police reports were no joke. It wasn’t malice…I was just doing what I thought was logical and the best action for the situation.

        1. Alisha

          p.s. “Famous” if you live in a small city in flyover country – we’re not talking the Thames or the Indian Ocean here. Bedtime ahoy!

  2. Stells

    Sounds like this recruiter is more disorganized than anything and probably couldn’t remember the interview being confirmed.

    He will probably vent at “Dan” to other recruiter buddies, but we (generally) avoid using names unless it’s a coworker and they are considering the person for a position – and even then it’s likely that the second recruiter knows how this recruiter is and will ignore his “advice”.

  3. Kimberley

    Call him back, tell him about your experience working with him. If he becomes argumentative or aggressive – tell his manager. My guess is that he doesn’t even know about the survey. If Dan would like to continue working with him, he needs to outline how best to communicate with him. There are good recruiters out there and my gut feeling says that this guy is not one of them.

  4. Jamie

    Wow – the entitlement. There are days I’m out of my office for most of the day and don’t even look at my cell until I’m getting ready to leave.

    How many times does a meeting need to be confirmed anyway? And maybe I’m just an old curmudgeon, but if I already did this via email (which is the best way as it leaves a record) I would be very irritated if someone kept blowing up my phone to make sure I really, really, really meant it when I confirmed.

    If he’s strange enough to bad mouth you by name, then he’s strange enough that most people listening to him would consider the source.

    I wouldn’t worry about it and just tell him to stop calling.

    1. The Other Dawn

      “(which is the best way as it leaves a record)”

      Some people still don’t get this. I spend a lot of time trying to get people to use email more since it leaves such a nice paper trail. Not only that, but you can refer back to it at any time to make sure you’re not missing a detail.

      1. A Bug!

        Some people would rather not use e-mail precisely because it leaves a paper trail. I know that I often get calls from people in response to e-mails I’ve sent them, and it’s usually because they want to promise me something but don’t want to be held to it down the road if they don’t deliver.

        I definitely see refusal to communicate by e-mail as a red flag. While not all such people are untrustworthy, it definitely puts me on the lookout for other signs.

      2. Vicki

        Oh, my yes. You and I would get along so well.

        I had one recruiter who insisted on phone calls because of the “personal” touch. When I finally got to a place where I could call him (because I do not make or take personal calls at the Job, on principle), the calls would be nearly content free.

        If this recruiter ever contacts me again, my response will be “No.”

        1. Alisha

          My experiences are similar, headhunters and recruiters both. When they request an “urgent” phone meeting, I come away from it with little useful information about the role or contract they’re proposing. One headhunter (prob. a recruiter, but calls herself a “headhunter”) I’ve since fired wanted a phone call for every step of the interview process – including this job at a company I can never apply to again because I interviewed with the wrong department, for a job I was only 10% qualified for, and every time I opened my mouth, I dug my own hole deeper. It was THAT bad, but she told me it was something completely different than what it was, which is why I interviewed at all. (That was the one time she sent info by e-mail, of course – go figure!)

  5. Kerry

    This is kind of a side note, but is this recruiter a time traveler from 1981 or something?

    The way you reach people with jobs is via email. That’s because there are people who can’t (or don’t) take personal calls at work. If you work in a call center, go to all-day meetings, serve customers, or any number of other things, you just don’t take calls during the day.

    Email. It’s this new invention that allows you to at least unnecessarily reconfirm stuff in a way that isn’t totally harassing and obnoxious. Look into it.

    This recruiter is a boob.

    1. AnotherAlison

      Email is good, but in this situation it looks like the recruiter (for whatever crazy reason) was insistent on getting an immediate response from Dan. If Dan isn’t allowed to take cell phone calls, I doubt he can log into his gmail on the work computer, and I bet he isn’t using his email on his phone either. (Obviously the normal thing would have been to confirm by email days ahead of time and consider it confirmed with no need to constantly recheck. Possibly, the recruiter did only confirm by phone and was disorganized and didn’t write down that it *was confirmed* already, which would explain the frantic calling.)

      1. Kelly O

        I don’t think it’s fair to assume that Dan is not able to receive email on his phone, but again it’s a matter of being able to read and respond. More and more people are accessing personal email on their phones, which is great, but also adds the prior caveats about being able to read, respond, etc. that go along with calls.

        And if Dan had his personal email on his personal phone, but was at work, it might be considered odd in his office to respond on the personal phone. Who knows?

  6. OP & Friend of Dan

    Thank you Alison and all the other commenters. I have forwarded this link to Dan.

  7. Thomas Abt

    I guess I would start by saying that I would never trash talk a candidate to any of my colleagues or clients. It just isn’t something I would do as a professional headhunter. Secondly, the recruiter on this one should find a different line of work. You must respect and protect a candidate’s time and confidentiality, multiple phone calls just to re-confirm a telephone interview are not needed. Dan should call the guy back and let him have it!

  8. Josh S

    It’s not clear from the OP’s letter, but did the recruiter actually leave a message all 6 times, or call 5 times (no message) followed by 1 call with voicemail message?

    If I get a call from someone during the work day that I don’t anticipate to be important/urgent, I ignore it/screen it through voicemail. My voicemail gets transcribed and texted to me (Thanks Google Voice!), so I can see if it’s anything that needs an urgent response.

    If the caller doesn’t leave a message, I assume it’s unimportant. (I know many people don’t even listen to messages any more, they just return the call from caller ID; perhaps my behavior makes me old fashioned?)

    In this case, if I got 5 calls from a number with no voice mails, I’d assume it was a person trying to catch me when I can talk. I’ll wait for them to call me again at a convenient time. The 6th time, with message, I’d return the call. But by that point (in this case) it was too late.

    In short, this recruiter is pretty much an idiot incomprehensibly rude.

    1. Anonymous

      That’s what I was wondering, too. I would understand if Dan didn’t have voicemail set up or his message box was full, but if not… why not leave a message?

      I don’t understand people who call multiple times, but never leave a message. Or they call 5 times, leave a message, then proceed to call another 10 times.

      1. Catherine

        “I don’t understand people who call multiple times, but never leave a message. Or they call 5 times, leave a message, then proceed to call another 10 times.”

        I believe you’re referring to my mother. It comes from being panicky and controlling.

          1. Kelly O

            Do we all perhaps have mothers who are related? My brother also does this. I am, therefore OCD about leaving messages, even if I was only calling to say hello.

    2. twentymilehike

      “If the caller doesn’t leave a message, I assume it’s unimportant. (I know many people don’t even listen to messages any more, they just return the call from caller ID; perhaps my behavior makes me old fashioned?) ”

      Josh S thank you for this!! I used to do this, but got someone in trouble once–they weren’t supposed to be using the company phone and when I called the number back they were SO busted. SO, it turn, I just don’t do it. Not only that but so many of the hang up calls I get are wrong numbers. If they call a bunch I finally call back and that’s almost always the case. My friends all know to leave a message if they want a call back, and I would assume anyone on a professional level would absolutely leave a message. One message. One time. And then put on their patience hat.

    3. Colette

      Yes! I understand calling twice – you weren’t ready to leave a message, you had to think about what you wanted to say and call back. Any more than that makes me that much less likely to prioritize your call.

      Man, I hate it when someone calls multiple times thinking it will make me think “answer the phone” instead of “I never want to talk to this person”.

      1. Alisha

        I was just thinking that some recruiting firms have a sequence of about ten or so different phone numbers that show up on my caller ID. However, if it’s a new recruiter, I may not answer because I’m screening my calls. I have no choice. Ever since I signed up for the mandatory state re-employment program that goes along with getting my unemployment checks, I’ve been getting bombarded all day and night with Robo-Calls to sell me life insurance, vinyl siding, Wal-Mart gift cards, cruises, vacations, dental plans (cue the Simpsons episode…”Lisa needs braces”), and the best of all, products for senior citizens. Now I may be weary, but I’m not old yet!

  9. Laurie

    Hmm.. I’m with @AnotherAlison here. The recruiter has a stake in this, and may have wanted to confirm the interview, given Dan’s prior reticence in even interviewing for the position. Yes, the recruiter should have emailed Dan after three of his calls went unanswered, but Dan could’ve called the recruiter back during lunch or emailed him after seeing all the missed calls.

    What stuck out to me here is the whole business with the survey. Dan took the time to complain to a company that his interview experience was blighted by a third party recruiter, then when the recruiter called him back, Dan avoided the calls? Doesn’t speak for very mature behavior. If you want to complain about a person in a way that could harm someone professionally, at least take the courtesy to state to their face (or over phone or email) that you were dissatisfied with so-and-s0. It doesn’t make sense to 1) complain in a courtesy survey and 2) refuse to take calls from someone whom you have professionally harmed.

    And now Dan’s worried about being bad-mouthed by the recruiter? Pot calling kettle..

    1. moe

      I thought it odd, too, that Dan is avoiding all the calls. Not that recruiter hasn’t got a touch of the whack-a-doodle himself, but there are very few problems in life that are best handled by dodging them and hoping they’ll go away. Just answer the dang phone!

      1. Mander

        Seems to me like the recruiter has veered into harassment territory after the constant calls and the weird cancellation. I’d stop taking their phone calls, too, especially as the implication seems to be that they did not leave any further messages to explain what the calls were about. It doesn’t strike me as immature to ignore someone who is harassing you.

    2. jmkenrick

      Well, it’s not like Dan was actively seeking out the company to complain. They sent him a survey to get a better idea of how their recuiters are doing, and he answered, honestly, that he felt the recruiter was difficult to work with.

      That’s good info for the company to have. Additionally, surveys like that are generally anonymous, and it’s totally reasonable that someone might be willing to provide anonymous feedback, but doesn’t actually want to have a confrontation with the person about it.

      The recruiter was hired to attract talent. That’s his job, and he owes the company that. Dan doesn’t owe the company or the recruiter anything at this point; it’s certainly not his responsiblity to have to dicuss with the recruiter why he didn’t like him. (Although I agree that it would be a nice, grown-up thing to do.)

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Agreed. Dan didn’t go out of his way to complain; they asked him for his input and he gave it. And he’s under no obligation to return calls from a recruiter who jerked him around.

  10. Kate2

    I’m not saying Dan’s at fault here, but I wonder if it would have been different if he was actively looking for a new job. As a job seeker myself, I know I practically run to answer my cell phone, especially if it’s an unknown number.

    1. Kelly O

      And I’m totally the opposite. Even when I’m applying for positions and know my number is floating around, if I don’t recognize the number I don’t answer, especially during business hours.

      I do indicate whenever possible that email is the best way to reach me.

      This is what I don’t understand about recruiters, I guess. You say you prefer to hire those who are already employed, but you don’t want to be respectful of their current employer, or the fact they may not be able to run to the phone every time it rings (or answer every email immediately.) But you have qualms about hiring the unemployed, who honestly may also not be able to jump on calls if they’re busy volunteering somewhere, or are otherwise busy.

      Plus, I don’t know about y’all, but I am not going to answer the phone if I’m in the car with my toddler babbling in the back seat. I’m not going to answer the phone if I’m in line at the grocery store. Or if I’m in the restroom at the mall. Or any number of other situations. It doesn’t mean I’m ignoring you, it just means I am not in a position to potentially have a career-changing conversation, and I respect both your time and mine too much to keep asking you to repeat yourself.

  11. Anonymous

    Given my recent experience with a potential employer who was irritated because I couldn’t drop everything during the work-day to speak or respond immediately to emails, I may have a bit of a bug up my backside about this.

    But during the day, I’m at..you know WORK. DOING WORK for the person who currently pays my bills. I would think a potential employer would be put off knowing someone they are recruiting is spending their day doing non-work things, but apparently not.

    But as a rule, I don’t spend my day doing things unrelated to my job, including checking my personal email, taking personal phones calls, job hunting or reviewing jobs offers and expecting that I will is unrealistic and sort of unprofessional. They need to understand you have commitments and if something needs to be done during the work-day I will need to make arrangements with you to do so. Your poor planning is not my problem, so please don’t assume I get personal emails to my phone, that I check my phone during the day or can come to a mid-day interview with less than 24 hours notice. Some people may be able to do this, but you shouldn’t assume they can.

    Moreover, given the number of us who are now assigned cells by our employer, do you think we can take these sorts of emails/calls on a company owned device? I don’t think so because I am not risking my current job for the possibility of one I haven’t been offered.

    1. Natalie

      “But during the day, I’m at..you know WORK. DOING WORK for the person who currently pays my bills. I would think a potential employer would be put off knowing someone they are recruiting is spending their day doing non-work things, but apparently not.”

      Considering the ongoing metaphor of job hunting being a lot like dating, these are the people who marry someone with a bunch of traits they can’t stand, assuming marriage will somehow magically change them.

      1. Anonymous

        HA this!

        It is much like the employer who wanted me to give less than 2 weeks notice to cover a mat level position because the woman was due, like yesterday.

        First, if I am willing to screw over a current employer for you, what do you think I may do to you in the future?

        Second, last time I checked the person I am taking the position over from is not the Virgin Mary and her pregnancy is no immaculate conception. You knew she was pregnant for more than a few months, so why would I burn any bridges for you, when you are clearly disorganized and have no problem encouraging people to be unprofessional? As the Anon poster said above, “your poor planning is not my problem.”

    2. Anonymous

      “But during the day, I’m at..you know WORK. DOING WORK for the person who currently pays my bills. I would think a potential employer would be put off knowing someone they are recruiting is spending their day doing non-work things, but apparently not.”

      Augh yes. I recently had a phone interview. The interviewer left a voicemail while I was at work saying “We want to do a phone interview and we’ll set it up for 10:00am on Thursday.” I called back and said, much more nicely than this but this is what I was thinking, “Um nooooo that’s the middle of my work morning, I can’t take off ~30min in the middle of a very busy morning for a *phone interview*, but I can do first thing in the morning or my regular lunch, take my lunch a bit earlier, etc.” They then emailed and wanted to know why I couldn’t just take a break at 10:00. I would do this for an in-person interview but not a phone interview! Thankfully they finally agreed on a more reasonable time for me (and then called late).

      1. Alisha

        O’tay (my, I love TV references tonight), one more comment before bed. Insomnia!

        When I was looking and still employed, FT, in-house, I encountered a company that did this with interview times. I said I needed something either at lunch or after close of business and would prefer a couple days’ notice. They sent me an e-mail back, “We are pleased to confirm your interview at 3 PM tomorrow…” I canceled – I had to, since I had that afternoon booked solid. Did they think I was going to screw over the people paying my bills and keeping a roof over my head to get to an interview I simply couldn’t make with basically no notice? (Glassdoor showed that the position entailed a 12K paycut on top of a salary I already would’ve preferred was higher, so it wasn’t a big deal anyway.)

        Another gem was a company with a very young CEO who canceled and re-scheduled my phone interview three different times. Then, he took the ideas I pitched in my business plan, and used them for the company as well as in the new job ad, which asked for someone with analytical/data experience. I guess he got the business development part for free, but boy, that whole set-up was dirty. Oh well – another pooper dodged, right?

  12. Anonymous

    I had a similar experience to this. When I was looking for a new job, a recruiter would call me relentlessly while I was at work, leaving me messages like “I need you to call me back within one hour” etc. I was in a meeting-heavy position so after a couple hours, I would often come back to several calls/voice mails on my cell phone. This particular recruiter even went so far as to look up my company’s phone number, call and ask for my extension, then leave a voice mail on my work phone.

    When I turned down the position because it was a poor fit, I started to get relentless calls from this recruiter’s boss, wanting to know why I didn’t pursue it (after I already explained to the recruiter – who obviously did not take it well to begin with). I also was concerned about what they could potentially do (since they had the boldness to track down my work extension), however nothing came of it. Overall, it was very stressful position to be in and I will never use a recruiter again.

  13. Anonymous

    Imagine the situation the other way around. What if an applicant called an potential employer or recruiter 6 times in one day (whether he/she left 1 message or 6 is sort of irrelevant b/c if I don’t answer, it is because I can’t talk).

    I don’t think anyone would think the employer/recruiter was “wrong” for deciding against the applicant or running for the proverbial hills. I think we give recruiters/employers too much power in these situations because of their inherent position of power in these situations.

    No bad behavior should be tolerated; from an applicant or a potential employer/recruiter.

  14. Rana

    Hmm. I wonder (and it’s just speculation, since I’ve never in my life dealt with a recruiter) whether it’s even worth worrying about this person. I would imagine that any business who has worked with this recruiter before knows what they are like, and would moreover find it weird and unprofessional if they were trash-talking some random person on the internet. If I saw something like that, I’d be far more to assume that the *recruiter* had problems, than the person they were bad-mouthing.

    1. KT

      I was wondering the same thing. If the recruiter was this unprofessional and aggressive with Dan, he probably also acted poorly with the company in question. Maybe that’s why they sent a survey!

  15. Sera

    I would like to very much thank you for your answer. I just read a very different take on the same question today, posted by a recruiter in Portland — who made the point that she would actually contact potential employers and tell them NOT to hire some guy she didn’t like.

    http://pdxmindshare.com/blog/why-you-shouldnt-be-a-jerk-to-a-recruiter/

    I was so upset by the article that I posted a comment, which I never do. It seems to completely unethical and vengeful to try to sabbotage another person.

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