Cold-calls and Madison Maclean recruitment

Update: I did email Madison Maclean to complain, with a link to this post on the 19th January, and as of a week later, I still have had no response.

Update 2: Today, 19th October 2010, I received an email from the manager of Andrew Holden. He requested that I remove this blog post. Since these events did happen, I won’t be removing the post. I am however adding this comment to say Andrew no longer works at the company (and hasn’t for some time), although I have no confirmation if that was the same person who cold-called me, and whether you choose to work with them in the future is entirely up to you. I was not offered an apology.

Original post

I think it’s a fairly well agreed statement to say that recruitment agents aren’t particularly nice to deal with. Especially when they’re cold-calling you at your place of work with jobs you’re not interested in. I will just say that I have worked with 1 nice agent, who got me the interview for my current job at the BBC, but she had the right knowledge at the right time when I asked for it.

So, a little story about yesterday and what not to do if you’re contacting me.

Around 4.30pm my office phone rang (I don’t publish this number, and I’d have trouble reciting it myself – you can only get it from the outside by calling the reception and being asked to be put through). My phone never rings at work, except for cold-calls from recruitment agents, so I’d already anticipated answering, saying “no thanks” and hanging up. A 30 second call at best.

Instead, I answer and the chap on the end of the line does his usual speil of who he is and where he works and if I’m available to talk at the moment. I answer “No, not really. As you can probably tell I’m at work, and also, you’re a recruitment agent and I’m not looking for work at the moment, so I’ll save you the time and say “no thank you””.

“But you haven’t heard what I want to offer yet…”

Ok, that’s true, but I still wasn’t interested, thanked him for the call and as an ending question, I enquired as to where he got my number.

“From your linkedin profile”.

Now, I’d like to direct everyone to my linkedin profile. Click through to contact me and find the section. What does it say? You have to be a member to take a look, so to save you the time, this is what it says:

Please email me. Calling my company and getting to my desk phone via the switchboard is unappreciated (and this keeps happening, so stop it). *NO* cold-calls from agencies.

To be fair, I added the final line about cold-calls yesterday evening, but the rest was there about not calling my switchboard and to email me.

So, being caught out with a lie, I expected an apology or at least some sort of sign that he had become confused or disorientated, and I point out that I expressly say that I do not want people to phone me. No, instead, he says: “Well, I might have got it from a colleague that you’d previously spoken to, but you’re clearly all over the internet. You’re inviting people to phone you, and you shouldn’t expect people not to. I’m perfectly within my right…”. I’m sorry, what? I *invite* recruitment agents who can’t be bothered to read my profiles properly to cold-call me about jobs I’m clearly not interested in? I correct him and said that wasn’t the case, and he continued to argue the point, at which time I decided this wasn’t worth my time of day, thanked him again for his call and hung up on him mid-sentence. That might have been rude of me, but not half as rude as he was. I quickly vented on twitter, and some of the responses I received were interesting:

Some choice coloquialisms seem warranted. In the King’s English, you might remind them that a combative cold call accomplishes nothing

by erickolb

wow. does this mean you need to have a ‘no recruitment agencies pls’ signature appended to every online post you make?!

by gradualist

there’s something about that argument that strikes me as a bit—for want of a more appropriate adjective—“rapist-y”.

by fatbusinessman

Reading that again, it sounds like a horrible rape defence

by jaffathecake

From what I can tell, part of a recruitment agent’s job is building up a relationship and repertoire with potential candidates. Cold-calling people, lying to, and arguing with potential candidates does not seem to be the fastest way to build a lasting bond.

Identifying the company

I had to google the company to remember who it was that called me, as I’d seen red and forgotten exactly who it was. I’m so used to just saying “no thanks”, hanging up and that being the end of the story. I knew it was Madison-something, but couldn’t recall which. Turns out there’s a whole ton of Madison-something recruitment agencies in London alone, each apparently specialising in IT. It strikes me that there’s too many companies with names Madison-something, too many agencies and too many that specialise in the same thing. So, I can imagine the area is highly competitive.

He had hinted that he’d got my name from a colleague, so I searched my inbox for “Madison” and bingo, I had an email from Madison Maclean in 2008 from an Andrew Holden. I can’t recall if that’s the name of the guy that called me, but he’s certainly the person I responded to with “I’m not currently seeking employment at this time, and probably not ever in the financial services area.” after he emailed me in 2008 with job opportunities in the banking area, so I’m happy to let him take the blame for not taking me off their books (that I never signed up for in the first place).

As a favour to me, could you avoid Madison Maclean if you’re job hunting? Thanks.