This didn't actually happen to me, it happened to a coworker. Where I work is a relatively new department of an established company (this may be relevant), and the manager is allowed final say in hiring and such.

My coworker was previously employed as an intern at a different organization and did not find a permanent role. They were then hired here. Sometime last week, a Recruitment Agency, who my coworker claims no familiarity with, contacted the main office of our company, asking for my coworker, despite him having a LinkedIn account with a direct email address provided.

This upset my coworker, who believes they now look unprofessional. My coworker claims no contact with the Recruitment Agency.

Is there potentially something unsavory about this, or could it just be a genuine mistake of my coworker or the Recruitment Agency? Is this some kind of common recruitment tactic?

  • 3
    They said "This is X from Recruitment Agency" to the receptionist who took the call.
    – Alister
    Feb 20, 2018 at 23:13
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    Because to my Manager is appears like my coworker is looking for work elsewhere, which is upsetting because he employed them out of generosity rather than technical knowledge or reputation. Basically my coworker looks ungrateful.
    – Alister
    Feb 20, 2018 at 23:36
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    @bhral recruitment is a sensitive business. A recent employee taking phone calls from a recruiter may create the impression that they are seeking employment elsewhere, which could undercut them in their current position. Good recruiters know how to be discrete. Feb 20, 2018 at 23:36
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    This is crazy. Recruiters call to find business as well as to find candidates - your man just needs to say that was probably the purpose of the call, and the issue is handled. I mean, how does your boss not know this? He's never been cold-called by someone trying to sell him candidates???
    – bharal
    Feb 20, 2018 at 23:42
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    @bharal (competent) recruiters don't randomly cold call line employees hoping to find business. They cold call HR or management. Feb 20, 2018 at 23:46

1 Answer 1


There are incompetent recruiters just as there are incompetents in any field. Recruiters are not paid by the candidates they place, but by the company where they place them. This leads some recruiters to have roughly the same attitude towards a candidate that a chef has towards a cow. "Look up the candidate's direct line or personal cell phone on Linked-in? Too much trouble! I'll just call the main switchboard, announce myself, and ask to be connected." It probably won't even cross their mind that this might create a very awkward situation for the candidate, and if it did: "Meh. Not my problem." The incompetent recruiters may not be in the business for very long, but they cause an inordinate amount of grief while they are.

  • Yeah figured as much, probably devoted too much time thinking about this. I was just wondering if there was some underhandedness to it, like the recruiter was thinking "Maybe if the candidate becomes uncomfortable because of us, he will consider moving and use our services".
    – Alister
    Feb 20, 2018 at 23:38
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    Unlikely. It depends what line of work you are in, but mature, competent organizations are going to be aware that people do get cold calls from recruiters (usually not so ostentatiously), so it would only have an effect in weird marginal cases. From my experience guess incompetent before Machiavellian. Feb 20, 2018 at 23:44
  • Thanks. I want to upvote your answer but obviously it won't let me as I'm too new.
    – Alister
    Feb 20, 2018 at 23:53
  • @JohnS.Ecret Did it for you. (And I agree with the upvote.) Feb 20, 2018 at 23:57
  • The no contact is important for two reasons. Identity fraud, and commission. They may be building a prospect database (for sales) and may be confused about the held role's hiring responsibilities. They may also want a reference for a third party, possibly an out of work prior supervisor.
    – mckenzm
    May 3, 2019 at 6:07

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