After 25 years recruiting in the security and fire sectors, we normally manage to source candidates for roles we are working on from our database of candidates; personal networks; recommendations etc. However on some occasions, perhaps for some of the very senior roles we work on, or some of the more esoteric positions, we use a dedicated researcher to develop candidates for us to consider.
I will be starting to working on a couple of such roles in the next week or so and whilst we have people we have used for many years, I thought I would investigate to see who else might be offering similar services.
One UK based company, I will not name them here, seemed to be offering the high level of service we need, so I sent them an email. They responded to ask when was a good time to talk and we agreed 10:00 the next day (yesterday in fact).
10:02, my mobile phone rings and a number from Brazil is showing, I answer. It is the firm of researchers, although not the person who said they would call. “Oh!” I said, “you’re based in Brazil” I said, “No, Mumbai,” came the reply. My mobile reception is not always great here in the wilds of West London so I asked them to call on my land line, which they tried, but were unable to connect on it!
When they called back on my mobile the company representative, in poor English, tried to rattle through their sales script with a colleague chipping in. I interrupted them, I wanted to have a conversation, not listen to their prearranged spiel. The price of their service was cheap enough but they could not grasp the concept that receiving a phone call from a Mumbai from a company purporting to be in UK, calling from a Brazilian number was, perhaps, a trifle suspicious. I asked them to email their Data Protection Policy and details of their service (I have not received this yet) and to get someone for their UK office to call.
When, that afternoon, one of their directors called me (I have not yet checked with Companies House to see if he is a director) he was I think, genuinely embarrassed and did not seek to defend their service and took my point that if a potential candidate of mine, say a senior security professional, received a call from a UK company, from India via Brazil, they may be reluctant to share much information. That is of course once they had stopped laughing and assuming they didn’t hang up the phone straight away.
It would appear, that this company does in fact does in fact offer the service I was looking for and they are probably an honest organisation offering a range of services at a range of prices. However the impression I now have is, shall we say, less than positive. As someone who tries to operate in and promote ethical business practices and someone who has delivered presentations on Branding and Reputation Management, I certainly won’t be using them.
It is at best, a classic example of how not to handle a new customer and a brilliant example of how to tarnish a brand and a reputation.