In recent weeks, I’ve been working with an organisation on some recruitment activity, which has proved to be eye-popping candy.
Now, I’m well-conversed with the approaches of recruitment charlatans; in fact, their peccadilloes were once the object of intense personal curiosity.
The UK recruitment sphere has long since been a social large intestine.
But now the pendulum of deceit appears to be swinging towards the candidates. Yes, there have always been rascals gagging to spin their yarns in order to trouser a sizeable stipend. But now rogue blaggers are aiming lower and even targeting minimum-wage work.
Even those seeking full-time employment are concocting elaborate backstories to conjure up a great personal fit for 12-hours-per-week posts. Better to have that and a dab of Universal Credit than sparse, standalone dole is the current theory. The desperation out there is palpable, and the lies more prevalent and in many cases more credible. Some of these sharks should be issued with an HMRC Starter Form and a BAFTA.
Tosspot candidates are nothing new. 10-12 years ago, graduate recruitment witnessed a new phenomenon of new starters reneging on accepted job offers, frequently on the day they were actually due to start. More often than not, they would simply not turn up and would ghost their new employer. That was all symptomatic of the numbers game surrounding astronomically high student loan debt, with graduates accepting multiple offers and hanging on to the last minute in order to snag the most lucrative post.
It was all considered fair game, given the broken nature of the recruitment sphere and the shameful shenanigans of dishonest and unscrupulous recruiters. After all, it’s what your average hirer would do to candidates in a heartbeat – and still does.
Now, we’re seeing people so anguished, they are developing acts that they could take on the road, followed by some sharp U-turning on avowed principles that would arguably pique Boris Johnson’s disapproval.
After what I witnessed in recent weeks, I almost strapped my kids into the Picasso and took a drive to Barnard Castle to recalibrate my orbs. Those breathlessly extolling the essence of a role are accepting offers on Tuesday and then withdrawing on Friday for alternative positions at a higher hourly rate with a more immediate start. And the higher rate might be as little as £0.50/hour before deductions for a part-time role.
Many will be opting for roles that carry higher rates because employers are desperate too. Unfortunately, a meaty slice of those jobs won’t go the distance, with the ficklest candidates doubtless dumbfounded when their bosses brusquely bomb them out when the inevitable, harsh commercial realities bite. What goes round, comes around.
Furthermore, we can afford ourselves a wry smile that there will be plenty of cad candidates who will be reneging on jobs that would have turned out to be far better prospects. That’s tough titties because this is going to be a long game, but desperation is characterised by its immediacy and rarely incorporates holistic consideration.
We might also guffaw up our collective sleeve at the many employers whose shyster recruitment teams will have fallen for the Hollywood-grade spin of the modern-day bottom-feeders and hired phony staff to the not inconsiderable cost of their organisations during what will be the most challenging trading periods in a generation. What goes round, comes around.
And we’re not yet out of the starting gate on the new depression, so this charade will roll and roll.
Normally, I’d adopt the ‘reap what you sow’ approach: grim recruiters getting burned and their business clients kicking then into the long grass. Commercial justice in a free market. In the current climate however, the upsurge in candidate duplicity hurts everybody and perpetuates wider economic challenges.
It’s a vicious circle in the most vicious of worlds, and the ripples are widening.
And it’s one I cannot see being broken anytime soon.