Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

February 13, 2008, 9:01 pm
Filed under: Research, Thoughts

I posted something a few weeks ago about a dilemma a colleague of mine was having regarding the misrepresentation of an individual who was calling in to their company to gather information. The purpose of that post was not to call out all phone sourcers as rusers. The purpose of that post was to draw attention to the practice of blatant misrepresentation of that individual and his actual place of employment. I think we could all agree that this person’s tactics were underhanded and do in fact give a bad name to the practice of good phone sourcing.

There has been a lot of talk lately about ‘rusing’ – the “art” of bending the truth to get someone’s contact information at a company. OK – that might not be a fair definition, so let’s check out some actual dictionary definitions of a ruse:
“a deceptive maneuver (especially to avoid capture)” – WordNet
“a trick, stratagem, or artifice” – unabridged
“a crafty stratagem; a subterfuge.” – American Heritage Dictionary
“a clever trick or plan” – Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary (Beta Version)

So now that that’s out of the way, I want to address some of the comments I’ve seen and heard regarding this method of sourcing.

Several people alluded to the idea that this practice is a matter of one’s moral compass. I ask this of all you who have children: do your children think that lying is wrong? If so, who teaches them that? Probably you, right? I am not here to point fingers at ANYone on this topic. I’m human just like you, and yeah I’ve lied. I have lied to my parents about being out with a boyfriend, to my teachers about not having homework done, to my music teacher about practicing my oboe, etc. You get the point. Anyone who says they don’t ever lie, just did 🙂 But I wanted to put this into perspective here – where along the way did it become OK for us to lie? When I worked in an office I had a quote up on my cube that reminded me, “The right to do something doesn’t mean doing it is right”. We all have the right to lie (for the most part, unless you are under oath!), but that doesn’t mean that doing it is right.

Others say “business is business” or “the company that hired me doesn’t seem to care”. I beg to differ – with all the strategic partnerships that companies form, there is legitimate concern of the credibility of those a company will partner with. We are judged on the company we keep. Whether that judgment is right or not is irrelevant, because we all do it. Companies are becoming more conscious about this perception, and I’ll bet that if the search firm they hired was caught, fined, and/or publically reprimanded for unethical or illegal business practices, they would either seriously rethink, or completely stop doing business with that search firm.

For the record, I do absolutely no phone sourcing. I do all of my outreach via email. I am upfront and honest about who I am, what company I represent, and what my intentions are when I contact people. I kind of have to be, because I work for a public relations company! If you have any questions about this, you can talk to my boss or any of the people I have contacted regarding new opportunities. Any of them would be more than happy to share their experience of interaction with me.

Call it what you want, it’s still a lie. I don’t participate in it, neither do lots of others, but ultimately you have to make your own choice as to whether you want to do it or not. Judgment is not being passed on anyone here, but I urge you to just think about these things. There is a ripple effect to everything we say and do. Let’s all go back to being excellent at what we do!

2 Comments so far
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There are many ways to telephone names source…get a layman’s perspective on telephone names sourcing here.

Comment by The Edge


OK, now let’s add the Receptionist to the mix. The Receptionist has been told that the organization needs to be efficient. They are told don’t let those in-bound callers contact someone that works here unless you are convinced that they have a need that supports our business goals, and not their business goals; or words to that effect.

Is the receptionist serving their boss well if they do that? Generally Yes; but not always. Sales opportunities lost, supplier opportunities lost are almost impossible to even estimate.

Another question, that is totally different; is the receptionist serving the other employees in the company well if they do that? Generally No; but not always. They are rejecting true networking opportunities, associations, true surveyors, as well as the occasional researcher, sourcer, or recruiter. They might say, “He is unavailable.” or “She is in a meeting.” or “they are out of the office.” And that might be completely untrue.

If the executives in that organization are underpaying the market, or mistreating their employees; or abusing their people, is the Receptionist being ethical in doing her or his best to prevent one of their employees from learning about considering a new career opportunity.

Researchers, sourcers, and recruiters do not Shanghai anyone into “pressed labor” against their will.

I do my best to do ethical contact data generation, but I also try to overcome bad employers with bad employment practices. I could make this seem more elegant, but in truth, I am as a Vulture, feeding on the carcass of employee discontent. We must never forget that there is only one true reason for employee discontent; and that is poor management. I believe that I am morally compelled not to give poor managers, too much credit.

All the Best!

Ray “VirtualSourcer”

Comment by VirtualSourcer

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