To Share, or not To Share...

At a very early stage in my career (I feel the need to qualify this now) I played a key role in having someone fired for sharing a Candidate’s information with a competitor. The competitor had a new opening, but the firm didn’t have the expansive database that we had.  The recruiter from that competitor used to work for our firm, and decided to reach out to a recruiter presently working for us to ask if he had any resumes/candidates that could fit the role he was working on.  The recruiter from our firm agreed to this (they were good friends too) and sent over a series of candidates from our database.  This was in direct violation of our company policies as the candidates in the database were considered a form of intellectual property at the time (this is all way before key Job Boards, LinkedIn, etc.). 

When I learned about this I took an attitude of defensiveness on behalf of my firm and acted in a matter of power in regards to my position.  I had the recruiter from our firm fired.  To this day it remains one of those very murky situations that I regret and has shaped how I think about activity like this moving forward.

There is little doubt to me that the Databases of Recruiting Firm are proprietary and should be considered filled with confidential information.  This includes the actual Candidates, but also their status, priorities, networks, etc.  The purpose of this blog is not to argue against any of that.

The purpose is to pause and think about another very human side to this ‘transaction’ (ugh…what a non-human term).  That is, one firm has a job and no candidate.  The other firm has a candidate that they literally cannot use for any of their jobs.  If the firms choose not to share this candidate will likely just get a job elsewhere.  But is that what is best?

This ‘moment’ is something that small staffing firms have a unique opportunity to participate in and create new attitudes about how we can provide authentic benefit to the job-seeking/candidate-seeking community.  Large firms will never give into this idea; this protectionist-approach serves their growth model for various reasons.  But smaller firms can participate in community-giving and connectedness by simply working together at times and sharing certain resources….that they can’t use anyways!  

It is often the case that a peer from a competitor or working as an internal recruiter will post a job opening that they are searching for; upon seeing this I will at times realize that either my connections could be a good candidate for the role (so I’ll LIKE it), or that I know a really good person to contact for the role.  So…I share them…and  you know what?  All parties are really grateful.  My peer is able to make a connection or placement, the candidate is able to make a connection or find a new role and ultimately the industry as a whole has a moment where they can move away from some of the unfair stereotypes towards one that is concerned about the well-being of the people involved in this ‘transaction’. 

I understand all of the reasons for not doing this.  It is part of our ethical responsibility to an organization to protect their best-interests.  I also though want to be a part of a business community that is obsessive about the best interests of people, especially those that sincerely just want a better job.

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