I’m going to go right ahead and assume that all agency recruiters can relate to these behaviours, regardless of industry or specialism. If that’s a mass generalisation and I’m wrong, just speak now.


Okay great. That’s what I thought. In no particular order, here they are; the common cheeky recruiter moves nobody talks about (but everybody makes):

1. The Humble Hero

You’ve just made a massive placement. Now it’s time to do The Humble Hero. What’s that, you ask?

It’s that special walk you do up to the deals board in front of all your colleagues. The one where you write your big, fat fee against your name while everyone watches, acting all coy and embarrassed while secretly loving every minute of it. You hang your head low and try to hide the big grin spreading across your face. Play it cool, just act like you hate being the centre of attention and you could take or leave this placement. You’re all ‘no big deal’ on the outside, while on the inside you’re all, ‘BIG DEAL, I REPEAT BIG DEAL, HAVE YOU EVEN SEEN HOW BIG THIS DEAL IS?’

2. The Meeting Milker

This is the move where you milk your meetings (who’d have guessed) and really stretch the definition of ‘work-related entertainment’. It’s the move where your client cancels the meeting last minute, but seeing as you’re already in the pub, you and your colleague enjoy a cheeky beverage, because you’re already there. This move also includes when your client leaves after one round of drinks, but you stay for a bit longer and have one more for your troubles… Catching up with ‘candidates’ that just happen to be your best mates as well, and expensing lunch, is another pearler.

3. The Shameful Schadenfreude



pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune

You’ve had a really bad run lately. Your clients have withdrawn offers, put a pause to all hiring indefinitely and your candidates are burning you like fair skin in the summertime. Your management meeting comes up and everyone starts sharing their forecast and current work in progress, and you’re just sitting there wishing everyone else is having just as woeful luck as you are, because misery loves company. In these moments, you are committing The Shameful Schadenfreude. You’re usually a really nice person; a great team player with great sportsmanship, just not today.

4. The Damsel in Denial

Management is always reiterating how important it is to stay on top of your administration. Log this, log that. Now, if you’re honest, you know (deep down) that you don’t always update your records and fill in the right information on the CRM. When someone points out that something is missing, or that your supposed input is nowhere to be found on the internal shared system, you act totally dumb instead of admitting your sins. This move is called the Damsel in Denial, as your defensive reaction is very reminiscent of a damsel in distress.

“Well Sarah, it should be on there, so I don’t know what’s happened… maybe the system crashed when I went to hit ‘save’.”

5. The Judging Jeffrey

This Judging Jeffrey involves picking apart what other people are doing and silently (also harshly) judging them for it, for no good reason. You do this while sitting on your high horse. It occurs when you are on a conference call with a bunch of other agency recruiters, taking a role brief from one of your clients. One of your competitors asks a question and you just sit there, leaning back in your chair, shaking your head and thinking, “what a stupid question, that’s already been covered 100 times”.

6. The Fair-Weathered Fan

Your agency operates on a shared candidate model. You’re a huge supporter off this model when someone else from your company finds an A+ applicant that’s perfect for one of your live roles. BUT… you suddenly loathe this model when someone else pinches your best candidate, and offers them one of their roles. You try to convince yourself you have a real reason you shouldn’t have to share this candidate, but you know you’ve got absolutely nothing. This move is extremely hypocritical, and known as The Fair-Weathered Fan.

7. The Silent Sandbagger

You’ve worked out the best times for your various candidate placements to be approved for commission purposes. The Silent Sandbagger move involves remaining tight-lipped over a deal so as to push it over into the next calendar month. It involves assessing fee amounts against thresholds and your tiered commission structure, then manipulating your forecast and underselling current prospects. Cheeky, but effective.

Have I missed any? Tweet me and tell me: @feebspinks!

About Phoebe Spinks

Phoebe is the editor of Undercover Recruiter & Senior Account Executive at Link Humans.

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