IR Search Anton van Rossum

Anton van Rossum 

6 July

K.K. asks:

Since obtaining my MBA, I’ve gained several years of experience in leading sales and marketing positions in the semiconductor industry. Because my company was recently acquired by a large Asian ODM, I’m already proactively looking around. Soon after discretely setting my Linkedin status to “open to opportunities,” I received an invitation for an introduction to a semiconductor powerhouse. It’s the company of my dreams: a solid organization, innovative products and an indestructible reputation.

As I’d already been introduced to a position there by another agency some time ago, I thought it was appropriate to mention this to both the talent acquisition officer and the manager. After all, I always appreciate it when my conversation partners are open and transparent. Somewhat to my surprise, both of them dismissed my heads-up as completely irrelevant. The subsequent discussions went very positively, and I was told that I could expect an offer soon.

However, when I recently talked to the agency that had introduced me earlier, I received some disturbing information. Apparently, I was approached by the company two days after this agency’s contractual claim on my candidacy had expired. The agency had also learned that another candidate it had introduced there for a management position had been employed behind its back. After the agency had been informed that the candidate had been rejected, the talks and negotiations continued and the company hired him on its own!

I’ve had a similar experience with another chip company pushing the recruitment agency aside, saying they already knew me. I considered that unethical and it made me wonder about their behavior in other situations. And indeed – not much later, my reservations were borne out. So, I’m a little cautious now. What would you advise me?

The headhunter answers:

I’m sorry that you got to know this less ethical side of your dream company. At the same time, it’s also a good thing. Before making a long-term commitment, you need to have at least some confidence that you’re not going to end up in a rotten company culture. I can advise you right now to forgo the offer, but let’s analyze the situation first.

The candidate who ended up in that management position apparently had no scruples signing the contract. This guy would become your immediate colleague. Not a very pleasant prospect, as he’s a key person in this malodorous affair.

You being approached just a few days after that contractual clause expired doesn’t necessarily imply malicious intent from the talent acquisition officer. It could also have been a pure coincidence. However, it’s dwarfed by the indescribable arrogance to underhandedly and deliberately try to get out of contractual obligations. Why would a company in such a relatively small, specialist world do something like that? Surely, they must have been aware that it would come out in the open at some point? Apparently, they don’t care, trusting that a small agency will stand zero chance against their army of lawyers.

When you encounter such dubious practices on a first acquaintance, I’m afraid it will also occur elsewhere within the company. You have to be very desperate to sign up with them.