Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

January 8, 2008, 2:36 am
Filed under: Research, Thoughts

I was CC’ed on this note today from a colleague (names have been changed to protect the innocent, except for the offender):

“…a couple months back…we had a recruiter who called [ABC’s Boston office], posing as someone from [US Publication] who wanted information about the Healthcare team staff in our office (supposedly a request from [Jane Doe]). On Friday, [Janet Doe] got a similar call from a gentleman called Tim Stanton, who said that he was from [biiiig company]. Tim said that he was planning on doing an audit for ABC’s Healthcare team. He dropped Jane’s name saying that he “knew Jane was head of the practice but needed to know the names of people in the Boston office.” Janet didn’t tell him anything but did agree to take his name and number and pass it along to the powers that be in the office. I tried calling Tim back but the number that he gave Janet – 212-619-1421 – rings and rings. No one picks up and there’s no VM. I believe that he’s fishing for our folks. Just thought you should be aware….”

I shook my head as I read through the message. Since my colleague knows I do research (and I suspect this is why I was copied in the first place!), I offered to dig around for some info since I know some people at the biiiig company. I contacted a colleague there and was informed that there was no such recruiter, or any employee for that matter, with the biiiig company by the name of Tim Stanton. I sniffed around and came up with 2 potential culprits for my colleague who was most grateful.

This to me is a sneaky, dishonest, and unethical way of getting the names of people within an organization. Before you puff up and disagree with me, let me give you the reasons I believe this:

  1. In checking with the biiiig company, no one works there by the name of Tim Stanton. I can verify my source at biiiig company as a valid source, so Mr. Stanton was clearly either misrepresenting the biiiig company by claiming to be an employee, or misrepresenting his own identity by changing his name so as not to be found.
  2. In having my colleague verify with their company, biiiig company does not even have an auditing relationship with their company, so there was no reason for anyone to be calling from biiiig company to gather any information for an audit.
  3. The number Tim provided as a return number was never answered and had no answering service for it. Now, I know that LOTS of recruiters use blocked, masked, or untraceable numbers, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but coupled with the other factors, it raises a red flag as to the intentions of Mr. Stanton.

Come on guys, if you can’t be honest about what you do and what your intentions are when reaching out to people, then perhaps you should question what you do for a living. Lying to ‘do your job right’ seems a bit contradictory to me. It’s stuff like this that gives recruiting a bad rep.

Please feel free to share your thoughts! If I’m off base, I’ll be the first to admit it 🙂


8 Comments so far
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You hit it out of the park. There is no reason to lie or ruse to recruit effectively.

As a recruiter and sourcer for 9 years in agency and now in corporate for going on 2 years, I never lied or rused. In fact, my old agency employer would warn you not to lie or ruse and if you continued, he would fire you. He spent 30 years building his business and did not want someone else to ruin his and the companies name.

In recruiting or sourcing, all you have is your name and reputation, why ruin it, I guess that’s why this individual is using an assumed name and is hiding from everybody.


Comment by chas216

“telephone sourcers” are trained to lie. its a sad fact. yall should prosecute these ruse’in scumbags, imo!


Comment by JeremyLanghans


Your story is sad but true from what I’m finding out. We recently began interviewing to fill a sourcing role in our office, and while many candidates “beat around the bush” when the topic came up we had one that was extremely proud of their expertise to ruse names from companies. Needless to say we didn’t hire him.

Comment by The Voice of IT

gdThanks for bringing it out for all of us to hear. The more we let people know that this practice is unacceptable and that it brings our industry a bad name, the more impact we can have on reducing or eliminating these practices.



Comment by SourcingCorner

Sad but true. People like this give the rest of the industry a bad name and lord knows there are plenty more like that.

Thanks for exposing this scumbag.

Comment by Scott

Get over yourselves. I suppose when you call to recruit someone you call their boss first to let them know exactly what you are doing? How do you obtain the information you use? Is the information always willingly given or do you use data mining companies who go into confidential intranets and email databases and steal the information from the company illegally? Is this more morally correct because you are not calling the company yourselves? And as you sourced people I suppose you told the receptionist and explained to her you were calling to recruit their best sales person that they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars investing in and years of giving him/her business support so that you could seriously damage their bottom line numbers for at least a year and increase your company’s bottom line three fold.

Comment by misiubear

you know what the saddest thing about all of this, is the arguments to justify Rusing – some of the myths and lies are –

1 – People who say they don’t lie obviously Must be lying (I wonder if that is because those who lie, can’t see the forest for the trees, and think that others can’t either; Yes, really one Does NOT have to lie to do this job)
Lying is the Only way to get the job done quickly

2 The ONLY way to do this job quickly and effectively is to lie
(back to the forest and trees anology)

3 THe companies don’t care how you do your job.. Well they don’t care as long as you don’t get caught, and if you do, there isn’t a breadcrumb trail leading back to them..

4 – Lying and misrepresentation, when sourcing Is NOT illegal. Hey, why do you think the companies are Having YOU do the dirty work? Uh Duh!!!

5 the biggest one that really still shocks me, is the one where they say that in Business ethics are Personal and Subjective.
Business Ethics are indeed definitive, UNIVERSAL, and very Objective.. Not subjective

6 because I don’t hear about them, there are not many lawsuits in this industry, and they won’t care about li’l ole me.. Hey, would you advertise to the world that you had been sued? What would your clients think? Many of the lawsuits in this industry have gag orders — fyi, even if You win, the expense of going through the lawsuit, makes that win a hollow victory.. It aint worth playing with fire to find out if you should temp fate..

In this industry Crap roles (pun intended) downhill – Negative behavior of one recruiter harms the rest of us in this very litigious industry.

Seriously, if you don’t know how to do this job well, legal or ethical, there are many of us out here who will be willing to teach you.. Yes, some of us will even do it for free, just because we care.

Invest the time for your future, you will be surprised to also learn that an ethical business is PROVEN to have more long Term success than the Short Term rewards of an unethical business..

Karen Mattonen

Comment by Karen M


Telephone name gen has become highly commoditized with the advent of tools like Spoke, Broadlook Diver, etc. because so many names are being uploaded to web DBs that offer a mthly licensing model (instead of the prehistoric ‘pay per name’ model). It’s a lot more profitable to have a customer base with residual mthly revenue than to work on a project-based ‘pay per name’ model. ‘Pay per name’ made some people good money for a while, and even some trainers, but now the cat is out of the bag. Most in our industry even know that, in 90% of cases, telephone name gen has become a game of the telephone name gen firms outsourcing the work to lowest cost providers. The firm that develops the business is often 2 or 3 degrees away from who’s actually doing the work, which is just how they like it. This way, you skim the $ cream off the top and then deny any knowings of how the work is being done. It’s like a GC subcontracting out the framing of a new home for pennies on the dollar and then saying, “Now you guys use good materials and be ethical when you do the work!” Yeah, right.

Ironically, it’s the ‘pay per name’ model that is the root of the downfall of the ‘industry’ (although it’s really not an industry at all). In fact, as telephone name gen has become more and more commoditized, you have firms willing to do anything to compete . . . leading to what we see here. As the margins approach zero, firms get more and more desperate.

I’ve sat back and laughed as Telephone Name Gen trainers have personally created the Multi-Level Marketing schemes which have led to the garbage we see today. At the same time, they include 2 to 3 paragraphs on ethics in their training materials and this is supposed to get them off the hook. On top of that, they repost blog posts like this one here in their own groups in an effort to have their sycophants blast the original author (or anyone who remotely utters the words, “ethics” or “morals”). The rondori is being set up right now, and I foresee the opening round of attacks coming within the next couple hours.

As we move forward into the nanotech era and social networks continue to bring people and information closer together, it’s becoming more and more obvious that names are nothing more than they always were – just names. At the end of the day, somebody still has to recruit somebody.

Comment by Joshua Letourneau, Mg Director (LG & Assoc Search)

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