Acts of Lunacy (an occasional series from our Operations department)


Early in my career I supervised the recruiting operation for the market research company where I worked. Now, I believe in the world of work there is truly a lid for every pot. No matter what the talent, there’s a job for which everyone is uniquely qualified. My proverbial pot was not the recruiting center. Rather than a lid, I was more like a basset hound—built all around wrong for the task. But I needed the job so I took over recruiting operations.

I inherited a couple of recruiters who I’ll call Trish and Sparkle because well, those were their names and I can’t possibly make up anything better. We were in the midst of one of those nightmarish recruits. We scheduled every recruiter to work all weekend to finish the project. On Thursday night Trish and Sparkle came to me and pleaded for Friday night off to attend the best party ever. I explained my “no decision” by using phrases like crunch time, teamwork and no way in hell. They were clearly disappointed.

Friday afternoon Trish and Sparkle showed up for work wearing mini skirts, stiletto high heels and outlandish eye make-up—exactly the look you’d expect for an evening of phone recruiting. At 7:45pm Trish came to me claiming illness and asked to go home. At 7:48pm Sparkle approached my desk and did the same. I suggested a break to see if that might cure their illness. They said it would be of no use since they were really sick and needed to leave work immediately.

As you can probably imagine, Trish and Sparkle didn’t have a long or distinguished career at that particular company. In fact their employment was terminated at 8:03pm that same evening. That was early in my career and it would have been easy to assume that all employees would also try to scam me. It would have been a huge disservice to the 28 recruiters who stayed and worked extremely hard that weekend. Together we completed the recruit.

Honestly this type of thing happens every weekend in recruiting centers. It would be ridiculous to allow the lack of trustworthiness of a few to overshadow the good work of most phone recruiters. It’s the anomalies that provide the good stories. In reality it’s the professional recruiters who help us find our respondents. Nevertheless if you ever have to supervise a duo named Trish and Sparkle, I’d be cautious.