Recruiting for the Worst? Not Every Workplace Gets a "Best" Trophy

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by Nanci Lamborn – BrightMove Recruiting Software

Staffing firms, agency recruiters, and headhunter types, this one’s for you. Hiring managers and private employer HR folk, stop reading here. Go no further. Really. Because I don’t want to get you into trouble if your boss were to take a peek at your monitor or overhear your affirming remarks. So consider yourself disclaimered.

It seems that the Worst Places to Work club members now have quite a few more neighbors down at the bottom of the pile ( If your employer’s name is there, my sympathies. But the volume of the Worst Places members raises a fair question for recruiting. When a company from the bottom of the pile is one of your regular clients, how do you successfully recruit and place candidates there?

You hear tearful horror stories from the recently departed (who may even blame you for the outcome of their misfortune). Some candidates refuse permission for their resumes to be submitted to “sweatshop central”, and year after year the sweat shop continues to call you (and pay you) with several more vacancies for replacement. It’s quite the strange cycle of continuity.

I suppose it’s eerily similar to playing the eternal matchmaker for your sweaty cousin Jim, the poor louse. He always means well and he would never hurt a fly, but somewhere along the way he just failed to learn that there is more to this world than “I”. So Jim calls you, his favorite source for dating candidates, and you try to make a placement by glossing up the truth. “He doesn’t have a lot of expenses.” (He lives with his mother. He’s 37). “He’s a real animal lover.” (He has 37 cats). “He’s a technology whiz.” (He surfs the web to hack gaming sites for days on end). Jim definitely made the “Worst” end of whatever list he happens to be on.

The glossing isn’t much different when trying to place a candidate with Sweatshop Central. “It’s family owned and family run.” (By the Manson Godfather). “The offices are pristine.” (It’s a sterile manicured cube farm). “Upper management is a great group of guys.” (No room for gals that high up). “They really have that ‘work-hard-play-hard’ mentality” (You work 12 hour days so they can knock the daylights out of a golf ball).

So what’s a recruiter to do with such necessary evils, given that any repeat customers in the current state of this economy should be rightly treated as gold? We certainly cannot march into Sweatshop Central and demand a revolution. (Well, we could, but they’d probably call security). So, we keep playing matchmaker until the right ones come along. Some candidates may consider Sweatshop Central to be a vast improvement from their prior job, and some just may have the kind of personality that seems to mesh more comfortably with leadership.

There’s a right place for everyone. And if sweaty Jim’s recent and happy engagement announcement is any sign, then there really is hope for us all. <>

Based in Atlanta, GA, Nanci Lamborn, SPHR, is a freelance human resources writer and a senior generalist with a global investment technology firm where it’s an awesome place to work.

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