Ask any start-up founder what their number one daily irritant is and you can be pretty sure the word “recruiters” will leave their lips before you’ve even finished the question. ConSol Partners is the latest firm to get found out for telling outrageous lies to candidates and start-ups, discovers Milo Yiannopoulos.
“It’s infuriating,” the start-up chief executive tells me, clearly annoyed. “A recruiting firm we were using created an entire series of lies and fake emails that made us look absolutely terrible.”
Horror stories about the dishonest business practices of recruitment firms will come as no surprise to any successful technology entrepreneur, but this particular incident illustrates the extraordinary extent some companies are willing to go to.
“Here’s why I’m so angry,” explains our source. “The recruiter had a candidate they were sending to two interviews, one on Friday to us and one the following Monday.
“The candidate had another job offer via a different agency, and had to decide by Friday, which he told us. We interviewed him, liked him, but he wasn’t right for the specific role we had on offer, and, knowing his time pressures, we immediately emailed the recruiter to pass the message on.
“We found out the following week that the recruiter had not passed the message on. We suspect it’s because they wanted the candidate to go to the second interview they had organised. But that decision meant the candidate lost the other role they had been offered. He called us incandescent with rage. So we did some digging.
“We found out that the recruiter had made up a series of complete lies about how I was in a set of meetings and had been ‘texted’ but had not replied. This was the reason the recruiter said they couldn’t give a firm answer. But it wasn’t true.
“Even worse, we later discovered from the candidate that the firm had forged emails in an attempt to add verisimilitude to their story. So not only did they drag me in personally to a process I was not involved with, they also repeatedly lied about me. I can’t tell you how angry I am.”
The recruiter in question is ConSol Partners, a firm that provides “global contract and permanent staffing solutions” to technology start-ups and Fortune 500 companies.
We have seen emails which contain, according to the start-up, which is a source we trust, outright deceptions. The claims in these emails do not correspond with dates and times the start-up has on record. The Kernel has also seen an email from the candidate in question, who declined to comment on the contents of this article, explaining what had happened. He has no doubt about the sequence of events.
“[I didn't realise at the time] just how far ConSol went in forging emails and quoting [the start-up above] and their responses all throughout Friday. They were actually pretty detailed on what the dev team replied regarding the interview, and how they were texting [the chief executive] but couldn’t get though, then you sent her emails but she was in a meeting, and so on.
“It was the details that made me suspicious: they kept referring to [the chief executive] as “he” instead of “she”, which was unlikely if they had been dealing with things with the level of detail they claimed.
“It was all fake,” he says.
How many people do these practices affect? It’s difficult to say, though the founders we have spoken to agree that dirty dealings are par for the course with recruiters desperate to secure placement fees.
But not only are these firms damaging the reputations of the companies they place interviews with, they’re also damaging the employment prospects of the people they are supposed to be representing.
“Working in collaboration with growing organizations,” writes ConSol Partners on its website, “[we] take accountability for specific hiring assignments.”
Will ConSol “take accountability” for their series of lies? The company had not returned a request for comment at the time of going to press.
Recruitment companies, with the exception of headhunters at the higher levels, are often grubby, ugly places, staffed by low-grade, barely skilled operators. Few firms act ethically and responsibly.
For some reason, the people who run these parasitic organisations continue to imagine they can get one over on companies and candidates who are savvier and better-connected than they are.
The Kernel is currently compiling a feature-length report on the tricks and scams these unscrupulous companies try to pull on tech start-ups. In the meantime, this is one firm you’ll want to avoid.