The Unethical Client

Plenty is and has been written over the years about agencies and some of their unscrupulous behavior, which cannot be condoned. However, occasionaly a client will do something that is just plain wrong. Just before Xmas our contracts team got an interview for an excellent first time contractor with a media based business. He is a decent professional guy taking the slightly scary step of leaving the security of permanent employment. His interview pre Xmas went very well, an offer was made and a start date of 22/1 was agreed, emails were exchanged confirming the offer and confirming contracts should be sent. Early in the new year we chased the client as we had not received the contracts. Some days later, two weeks before the contractor was due to start we get an email withdrawing the offer because the recruiter had found someone who could start earlier, leaving this first time contractor effectively unemployed.

My issue is that neither their Recruiter, Finance Director or Managing Director of this recently floated company saw anything wrong with this, despite being fully aware that he had resigned from his permanent job and turned down 2 other opportunities to accept their position. The argument they put forward was that as a contractor he should expect this to happen, which in my opinion is utterly wrong. They had no concern for the individual, for their reputation nor ours. To add insult to injury they then said that because we raised this matter with them they would no longer do business with us! Admittedly this in our opinion is not a great loss.

Now the recruitment landscape has firmly changed in many cases to incorporate the client/RPO-Internal Recruiter/Agency, we must work hard to ensure that the standards that we seek to achieve are maintained by solid professional relationships and supported by a good ethical code of conduct. This is now a three way relationship and each party must contribute to ensure that one reputation is not harmed by the other.

So why do I raise this matter? Because the technology market is desperately short of experienced professionals and they will use their judgement to select an agency to work with and a client to work for. Much time is spent on branding and modernising our industry, but all of this fluffy marketing must be supported by a genuine ethical approach or the battle is lost.


Gary Edelman

Chariman of Revolution Technology

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