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A job seeker mailed #KeepClimbing about their abusive recruitment experience.  Recruiters appear to behave like thugs when they lack professional standards and accountability processes.

Recruitment Abuse

It’s true,  South Africa’s recruitment industry is a sharp reminder of slave trade once an essential feature of Cape Town culture.

Removing choices from potential labour markets dates back to the 1650’s and continues to inform current practices.

Does inequality data illustrate how recruiters, like slave traders, are solely motivated to price flesh and lure unsuspecting victims (applicants) into unlawful traps resulting in prejudiced job offers?

hiring youth: recruitment

Abusive Recruitment: Lack of Regulations

Lack of human resource management professional standards allows unlicensed, Constitutionally destructive practitioners to enter the field.

Companies don’t just use external recruiters to save time and money, but to avoid legal action for running unlawful recruitment campaigns.

Section 23.1 of the SA Constitution says ‘Everyone is entitled to fair labour practice.’ Human resource practices deny citizens their right to pursue better opportunities and make prejudiced job offers.

Do HR people know what a person goes through to get to an interview?: Abusive Recruitment

So ……I am headhunted via Linkedin. I am not initially told who the Company is, nor what the remuneration is. No job description or profile is available.

Finally, a few days before the interview I’m told who I am meeting with and am given the name of a company. I do research but cannot find the details linked to the Company anywhere.

Eventually find out it is linked to a larger group. I use the larger groups info as my research material. I also find out there is a lot of financial drama and negative info on the Company. However, I agree to go for an interview.

abusive recruitment what are your pay expectations

I leave home at 7 in the morning. It takes me two trains….delayed train travel due to incorrect information given to me at info center.

Then arrange an Uber which does not arrive at the pickup point.

With less than 30 minutes to walk 3.7km, I get into a local taxi which takes me on a joy ride prior to saying he can drop me off 1km away.

I ended up bribing him to take me the rest of the way.

Upon arrival at the address specified, I found out it was the incorrect entry point. I have to phone the secretary to collect me.

Abusive Recruitment in Cape Town

Upon meeting my interviewer I am told that this is merely a discussion and that there is no info as the job has not yet been created and that it is in process. I am also told a future interview will take place with the executives at a later stage if I am selected.

Giving feedback on the Company when asked what I know about the Company, I am told that all my information is incorrect and that they are not part of the larger group. This places me at a serious disadvantage.

The I’m asked what value I can bring to the table, I define everything I can do as I don’t know what they are looking for. 

After the interview I managed to get trains home and find out  the buses for the rest of the journey are on strike so I have to walk home.

I get home after 8 at night. The agent calls me back to get feedback, I report my findings.

The next morning I got an email stating I was not selected for the job. Once again I feel like the most undesirable person in history seeking employment, story of my life it seems.

what are your pay expectations

My question is in SA:

Do HR people know what a person goes through to get to an interview?

Are they aware of how much work you put into research beforehand?

Do they know how stressful the above can be for an individual just to get to an interview on time if you are not fortunate enough to currently have the means to get to the interview?

Do they know how much money you have to spend to get to an interview?

Why do they only focus on the one thing you didn’t achieve and forget to see what you have achieved when it comes to qualifications?

I am basically so fu…….off with SA HR. I am surprised there are not more suicides in SA due to the HR and employment-seeking process. Thanks for listening. 

Dear CT Applicant: Abusive Recruitment

Unqualified and unlicensed recruiters don’t understand job seeker psychology or how to attract candidates and compete for talent. Most view job seekers as desperate dogs who must grovel and be grateful.

The massive amount of sloppy corporate recruitment adverts we see on Linkedin reflect how most human resource practitioners suffer from the same ignorance as their sloppy external recruiter partners.

Linkedin makes it easy for recruiters to find you, but it doesn’t mean every opportunity is real. Unfortunately, you weren’t headhunted, you were simply an invoice line, in other words a recruiters fee.

When you’re headhunted, you’re told as many amazing details upfront as possible, because they have their sights set on you and don’t want you looking anywhere else.

They don’t call you to an interview, they call you to a meeting or lunch – to sell the opportunity to you. When you’re headhunted, you clearly have power.

what are your pay expectations

Do You Know Job Advert Pay Secrecy is Banned in New York Now?

Your experience shows how you were misled and mistreated by a recruiter who personally reached out to you. Try not to take recruiters seriously unless they state pay and position expectations.

Chances are high you’re participating in a labour market survey,  this means there is no job, it’s false advertising.

Don’t respond to these recruitment fakes because no one will care about your experiences – they want to see how desperate you are for any opportunity so they can keep sending you on random trips for their billing.


The recruiter was clearly incompetent, they failed to brief you correctly and ensure you were applying for a relevant, viable opportunity. This lack of professional oversight incurred costs to you.

You should ask for the specific reasons for being rejected, and when they respond, ask if they appointed someone.

Find out as much as you can and get legal advice.

The recruiter sent you to a job interview and received money for your effort to get there – you need a lawyer to question their business ethics, what they receive money for…. and you need to claim damages.

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Leonie Hall

Leonie Hall, disruptive thinker and dynamic strategist, is an expert in education, development, quality management and innovation. She has spoken at local and international conferences; and currently works as an independent consultant and content developer. Contact Leonie for a consultation.

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Job Applicant Describes Abusive Recruitment