FEB 2011 UPDATE: Pleased to announce she of the dozy recruitment consultants was offered a full time role. Which means I should get less calls from dozy recruiters. Which is good, obviously…
Right. Given the irreparable damage that could be done to both businesses in question, I shan’t be naming names, tempted as I am…
A core member of my team is a contractor. She’s bright, sharp, very diligent and highly organised.
Quite the commodity.
I’d love to take her on full-time if and will do my best to as budgets loosen across the financial year. We have an excellent working relationship and I fully appreciate if a full-time role comes along in the interim, I may lose her. In fact, I’ve done everything within my power during her time with us to develop her as I would any member of my permanent staff .
Internal / external training courses, coaching, development, you name it. She’s a member of my team and the back of house payroll / HR / contractual differences makes no difference to the way she’s treated on my watch. As you’d expect, we have an honest, open forthright relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. Somebody pass me a tambourine…
Anyhoo. She asked if she could use me as a reference on her CV. Of course, I was only too happy to oblige. Nearing the end of her contract (and the extension uncertain), she began looking. And I get a call. Then another, then another. All with voicemails asking for Sophie. I even answered one and told the pushy salsey gentleman in question, he had the wrong number. But it didn’t stop there.
Three more calls and I eventually I lose patience and track down the owner of the business. A small, but reasonably well thought of marketing recruitment consultant. By this point, I am a little cross, but her actions only add fuel to the fire.
She lied to me.
Claimed it was a cross-wire coincidence, and she hadn’t worked with my staff member in months. Rather than coming clean, admitting the rather embarrassing, reputation harming incident, she decided the best course of action was to lie and cover it up. But worst of all, she didn’t return any of my calls. She did it via text!
Three weeks later, the same situation rears is ugly wrong numbered head. Two calls this time from a medium to large-sized marketing recruitment agency. Deciding to nip it in the bud, I speak to the recruitment agency in question who absolutely did the right thing.
The honourable gentleman I spoke to explained that the junior data entry clerk had made an error. He did not double-check it, therefore it was his fault. He apologised profusely and asked if there was anything he could do to make up for the error. He accepted responsibility for his actions (applause), just as any good manager / leader should.
In the world of business, we are faced with decisions every day. Some of them small, some big but all with consequences however we act. There are times where withholding information can often help us gain a competitive advantage, but I would advise you think very carefully before lying outright.
They usually come back to bite you on the posterior. And the loss of respect and damage it can do to your reputation can far outweight what may seem like a teeny tiny white lie. As for life in the marketing world, never before has the sentiment behind the slightly outdated words of one of our industries great geniuses ever seemed more true:
‘Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine’. David Ogilvy
Iain G. Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And would advise you be very careful when selecting a recruitment consultant…