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Home > Recruiting is a dirty, underhanded business…case in point

Recruiting is a dirty, underhanded business…case in point

June 5th, 2013 at 05:56 pm

So, I wrapped up my 2nd week at the new job. I worked 2 days last week and 3 days this week. I got the job, if you’ve followed by blog, through a recruiting company and the recruiter happened to be someone I know, a former writer I worked with at my last job who, after his layoff and being unable to find work, switched careers and got into the recruiting business. His name is “J.”

The agency is headquartered in Manhattan. I had never heard of them before. Most of the jobs he places are on Long Island or in the city, but this one was in Fairfield County, and he called me because he knows I’m a great writer.

He originally described the job as paying $35/hr. After I interviewed with the employer and they told the recruiter they wanted me, my friend J., the recruiter, said I’m afraid I’m going to have to reduce the pay to $33 an hour. He was evasive, I felt, when I asked who was lowering the pay, his firm or the employer. He later more or less admitted it was his employer, the recruiting agency. This was all communicated via email.

So he’s trying to wheedle me into accepting the job but I dug in my heels, pissed that he lowered the rate of pay. I wanted to try “negotiating.” It was a Thursday night, I think, and I knew he was going away for the weekend and probably wanted to wrap up the whole thing before he left. He kept saying, can I tell the employer’s HR person you’ve accepted? When can you start? You can make up the difference in pay when they hire you on a permanent basis. (This is a contract job…there’s certainly no guarantee they’d hire me on a perm basis.)

I resisted. His anxiety to make it a done deal showed through in his emails, so I felt I had the upper hand. J., you’re not cut out for this business, I was thinking, because I could almost see him sweating it. Finally, I said let’s split the difference, I’ll accept $34/hr. He was relieved and said he’d “make it work,” whatever that meant, I wondered.

So today I get an email from J. saying he “forgot to give me some paperwork” and can he meet me right after work in front of my office. I said, well, sure, though if it’s easier you can just drop it in the mail. I was a little curious about why he was meeting me as it’s a pain to get around the city with traffic and all at rush hour.

So we met tonight. He didn’t have any paperwork to give me. He explained that his employer, the recruiting agency, was again lowering the price they were paying me to $33/hr! And he had come to meet me in person to give me the difference in cash! Since I only worked a total of 38 hours, he handed over $38 and when I asked him if this was coming out of his pocket, he said yes!

What kind of outfit is this??? Surely he can’t keep this up indefinitely. He told me it was a dirty business and that because I was his friend, he wasn’t going to let this happen to me. Now I wish I could have said no, keep your money, but I really need every cent after being out of work for so long and yes, I felt indignant that this sheister agency would try to pull this on me.

In fact, if it wasn’t my friend I was dealing with, I’d threaten the recruiter to tell the employer’s HR and my immediate manager what they were doing. Surely they wouldn’t want that kind of bad PR. However, I’m not sure what would happen with that since it’s the recruiter that actually cuts me a check and pays me each week. (They are getting paid by the employer.) I don’t think the recruiter could “fire” me since I’ve already started working for the employer.

My friend confirmed that the employer is paying his firm a tidy sum, so this is one incentive the employer has to take me on a perm basis. My friend added that they (the employer) had also been looking for a long time for a writer but hadn’t found anyone they liked. (‘Til now, hopefully.)

I don’t know the business very well and I suspect there’s more going on at his end than I know. He’s kept urging me to work more hours, or that I suggest to my boss that I can work more than the 3 days a week I’m doing now. And he’s acknowledged that as far as his employer is concerned, the longer I work as a temp, the more money they make. But I’ve been complaining about the commute all along and said 4 days a week might be the most I’d want to work, unless I could work at home 1 or 2 days a week and that seems somewhat unlikely since my new boss told me at my interview that she wanted someone on site 5 days a week.

J. asked if I could see myself staying here a while. He also said that if I found another job, to please give him as much advance notice as possible. I haven’t really been looking as hard as I usually have since I started this job, but I have been keeping an eye on postings just in case something much closer to home came up that was also a good match for my background. So he keeps asking all these questions and there’s a lot I really don’t have answers to. Like, I don’t know what’s driving my manager’s decision to have me start at 3 days a week, nor how long she might envision me working at that rate before increasing my hours.

One thing I do know: I want to earn $34/hr. That’s what was offered to me, and that’s what I accepted. But now knowing that it’s coming out of J.’s own pocket makes me feel pressured to not accept more of his money, because he’s a personal friend and it makes me feel like a schmuck.

In hindsight, I’m suddenly realizing that I don’t even have a copy of the paperweight indicating they would pay me $34/hr. This deal went down so fast, I met J. at a Starbucks late one night where he had me sign a slew of papers for taxes, auto deposits and everything else. I signed something that indicated the rate of pay, but I never got a copy from him. All I have as proof of that agreement is the emails we exchanged.

5 Responses to “Recruiting is a dirty, underhanded business…case in point”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Ick. Keep taking the money regardless of the relationship. He shouldn't play games in the first place and he should keep up his end of the deal.

  2. PNW Mom Says:

    I'd keep the money too. Something sounds fishy.

  3. My English Castle Says:

    Sounds like he's in it strangely--like he already committed to the other rate? Sigh.

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    I decided to write him an email last night telling him pretty much what i've told you. When he responded back, he said that his company "asked for a higher rate for your services, but XX (the employer) wouldn't do it. That's why we had to come down on the pay rate by one dollar.

    This still doesn't make sense to me. The agency had been looking for months for someone, and so they would have worked out the agreement with this recruitment agency well before I interviewed with them, right? So why would the recruiter find a need to "ask for a higher rate for your services?" He told me the rate was $35 when he first told me about the job.

    Unless the recruiter was trying to do to the employer what they wanted to do with me.....wait til they had found the job candidate they wanted and then request more money from them. (With me, they waited til i had the job offer and then said we have to pay you less. Then they waited til i started the job, and then they said again, we have to pay you less.)

  5. rob62521 Says:

    Sounds like a mess, but I'd keep the money. He offered it and sounds like your friend is trying to do right by you even if the company isn't.

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