Worryingly early in the day to attack the forum (I usually wait until my mid morning coffee!) but I would be very curious to hear the opinions of those in the strategy consulting sector on this matter. Feel free to reply if you are a recruiter of course but I want to know the industry's perspective on this - what would you want me to do if you were my client?...
I learned by coincidence that I candidate I know reasonably well looks set to be offered a job by a very good client of mine. He is a bright guy and will doubtless have sailed through the interview process.
I am very worried that my client may be making a terrible mistake. He has a bad reputation amongst some of the client base the client serves, I know that he has left something of a trail of destruction behind him from his most recent assignments. I know that the version of events on his CV from his last assignments is the greatest work of fiction since Oliver Twist. I do not want to be too specific as I may end up revealing who he is. Let's just say that he is a disaster waiting to happen, something I am aware of via a number of different reliable sources. I had the opportunity to make a good fee by placing this guy (with the latest interest rate hike, it is always tempting to take the money and run...) but I just could not bring myself to claim a fee for recommending someone I would not recommend if you follow.
I also know that the client knows what he is doing. He is a brilliant individual and virtually always gets these things right, which is why I am surpised that this has happened - perhaps I was wrong all along? Usually, I would make it pretty clear to the client and present the evidence. This is always difficult as your motives are often questioned in these situations, the impression being that you are just annoyed that you have potentially lost an opportunity. In this instance, it is going to look particularly bad as I suspect that he has found his way in via a "spray and pray" recruiter, who has got lucky with a pot shot. If I object, I am just going to appear jealous and as trying to dismiss some of my competition. The reality is, however, that I ruled him out due to bad industry references and would not represent him because I know too much about him. Now it looks like someone else with fewer scruples or less market knowledge could make a fee by placing him with my client. This is the issue we face, you actually lose money by doing the job properly sometimes.
My options as I see them are these:
A - do nothing. if they wanted my help with this particular hire, they should have asked for it or outsourced their entire recruitment process. They know where I am and what I know, they did not consult me, it is their look out. Also if he joins and inevitably messes things up, the other recruiter is going to get it in the neck for not referencing him properly.
B - bring it up informally in a conversation in some way.... "did you hear about this guy!!!... what a legend he has become..." type of thing
C - explain honestly the situation and present the evidence against this individual, trying desperately not to sound like a bitter recruiter who has lost out on a fee
Basically I read this forum enough to know that, while I have a great relationship with my strategy consulting clients, we are very much looked down on as head-hunters. In my experience they get very uncomfortable when you question their judgement, such is the sense of superiority they have (which by the way is part of the secret to their success and something I admire). They are so used to handing out advice, I find, that they are less comfortable than my other clients when it comes to taking advice. With my end user clients, I would just pick up the phone and tell them not to hire the w@nk@r!". In this instance, I am kind of damned if I do and damned if I don't if you follow. The likelihood is that he will demand obscene amounts of money and mess it up for himself anyway. I would struggle with my conscience if I said nothing but I am not certain that raising the warning flag is the right thing to do either.
So, industry of strategy consultants......
A) what would you do in my situation
B) what would you want me to do if you were my client.