I’m currently looking for a new job. As part of this joyous process I have re-enabled my CV on Jobsite. This usually results in a vast quantity of phonecalls and emails, and this is what has happened. In amongst the promising and the not-so-promising, I had an email from one recruitment agent that included a questionaire. Some of the questions were, in my opinion, quite unprofessional, so I thought I’d share it.

Along with the usual questions about current salary, type of position sought, reasons for leaving the current job and notice period, the following gems were to be found.

Where should we avoid contacting?

This question may seem quite innocent. They want to avoid putting you forward for positions you may already have applied for, either directly or via another agency. However, it is also asking you to reveal the names of any companies you know of that are looking to recruit people. They use this information to cold-call the companies you tell them about to try to get more business.

Current company?

While I can understand this one as trying to avoid being put forward for a position at your current company, this can be avoided by them telling you what the company is called before putting you forward. Some agencies have a problem with doing this because you might answer the previous question for another agency thereby giving them the name of a company that is known to be recruiting. The more likely reason for this question is to get the name of another company that might be looking for staff. You’re looking to leave so it’s quite likely the company you currently work for will be looking to recruit a replacement fairly soon. Chances are they’ll squirrel this company name away for a month or so, and then cold-call them.

Associate companies?

Again, this is just gathering company names.

Current line manager?

This is asking for a contact name at your current company. Having the name of the person you want to talk to will often get them past the standing instructions given to reception to refuse all calls from recruiters. I’ve also known agencies to pretend to be a customer to get through.

Are you a home owner?

This is the one that really really threw me. Why would a recruiter have any reason whatsoever to ask this question, unless they were also representing a home insurance company. If you get asked a question that doesn’t appear to have any connection to looking for a job, don’t answer it.

How many years IT experience?

Easily gained from the CV, this is pure laziness.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t think recruitment agencies don’t do a valuable job in matching people to positions. I’m also not saying that they all use dirty tactics, but in my opinion some of the tactics used by some of them are sneaky and unprofessional. Please don’t fall for it. If you’re looking for a job, please don’t feed the machine, tell them just what they need to know to match you to potential positions.

They don’t need to know if you own a home!

Rant over. Time to return a few more phonecalls.

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