26 November 2013

Business Editor botches recruitment industry exposé: trashes personal brand instead

    
The past two weeks has been filled with plenty of online comment about the Murdoch press’s pathetic piece of click bait Former recruitment agent spills details on what really goes on in the industry that was published on News.com.au’s websites around the country on 14 November 2013.
 
Plenty of industry people leapt into the fray, including Scott Recruitment Services’ Craig Watson, people2people’s Lisa Johnson and SB Recruitment’s Scott Brown. All making excellent points in response to the extraordinarily cowardly ‘ex-recruitment agent’ who has so much courage and credibility he won’t put his name to the poisonous vile that he spews forth.
 
However my greatest criticism isn’t for the source of the article it’s for the so-called journalist, Victoria Craw, of News.com.au who wrote the offending copy.
 
You might think that such an unbalanced piece of muckraking would be the result of a work experience kid taking an opportunity to make a name for themselves. But no. Victoria is not a work experience kid. She is, in fact, the Business Editor (!) of News.com.au. Hard to believe isn’t it? She’s had this gig for seven months, having officially been a journalist for just over 12 months, after completing her Certificate in Journalism last year at UTS.
 
Victoria’s LinkedIn profile informs the world that she is ‘Trained in media law, freedom of information, search engine optimisation, shooting video and sound recording, presenting to camera, recording voice overs and editing using Final Cut Pro.’
 
She’s obviously a versatile lass, whose flexibility must be attractive to those good folk in senior management at News.com.au however it’s clear Victoria was missing in action during the induction session that covered her employer’s Professional Conduct Policy.

On page 3 the policy states, under Accuracy:
 
1.1 Facts must be reported impartially, accurately and with integrity.
 
and
 
1.3 Try always to tell all sides of the story in any kind of dispute
 
and
 
1.5 Journalists should not rely on only one source
 
Err, Victoria, I hate to break the news to you but you badly bombed out on each of those three points.
 
Oh, and while you’re busily swotting up on the Accuracy section of the Code before your next big scoop as Business Editor, you might also check section 6 (Confidential sources) because this is what it says:
 
6.1 The sources of information must be identified, wherever possible. When an informant insists on anonymity, verification of the information offered must be sought from other, preferably attributable, sources.
 
Duh! Another bomb out, Victoria!
 
It sure looks to me like Certificates in Journalism from UTS must be as easy to come by as bitter, unsuccessful ex-recruitment consultants who want to blame anything or anyone but themselves for their career tailspin.
 
I don’t pretend that the whole recruitment industry is full of vestal virgins who all operate with integrity every time. No industry can claim that. Of course we have our share of shonks and crooks. Of course some recruitment agencies have ethical standards that are as flexible as the folding stuff they are chasing.
 
But please treat us with respect and do us the courtesy of writing a balanced article quoting credible sources who are prepared to go on the record. I mean, we are an industry that has spent tens of millions of advertising dollars with your company over the past few decades. For that, at least, the recruitment industry deserves a fair hearing.
 
Instead, it appears that News Corporation have no interest in respecting their clients, training their staff properly or vetting what passes for ‘news’ before it’s inflicted on their readers.
 

What a debacle.

8 comments:

  1. Spot on Ross...two contemptible figures in this whole sorry saga. You provide an excellent point of order and identifies a real journalistic failure held up against the failure of Anonymous Recruiter. Thank you, also, for the backlink to my article!

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  2. Since when did News Ltd require something as arcane as a fact to base a story around? This is the same organisation that taps phones, creates fictional stories to support their conservative political agenda, and employs Andrew Bolt. News Ltd and Ms Craw should be ashamed of themselves, however it would appear that a sociopathic lack of shame is actually a key selection criteria when employing News Ltd staff.

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  3. Another pointless anti-recruitment piece. Must have been a quiet week in the world of business.

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  4. I agree with everyone that has jumped to defend our profession, and yes - recruitment is a profession. However there is a not insignificant percentage of agencies who do operate in the way portrayed in the article, and they give us all a bad name. The RCSA and ITCRA have been completely useless over the years in both promoting recruitment as a profession, and in attempting to weed out the unethical behaviours.

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    1. I am sure the RCSA and/or ITCRA would welcome your membership (if you are not already a member) and also your time being volunteered to assist in both those areas. Both associations rely heavily on volunteers to achieve their respective objectives. I invite you to be part of the solution rather than just making generalised criticisms about who you think is negligent in solving the problem.

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  5. If Victoria's goal was to stir the emotions of passionate recruiters, she has certainly achieved this. As a professional recruiter, fact finding and obtaining correct sources is part of daily life and when you fail to find the facts and obtain the correct sources, you fail to make the cut to put it lightly which is more than likely what happened to anonymous recruiter. Let’s hope this is a good lesson for all but more so for Victoria of what “not” to do.

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  6. As a 25 year veteran in the industry, these comments will continue to occur time and time again until the industry finally wakes up to itself and insists on regulation. We find organisations their most important asset and that is their people, and we assist candidates to find one of their great life defining identifiers and that is their career. I entered an industry many years ago that was highly respected by clients and candidates. The fact is as a whole it is no longer a respected industry. Yes many people fail in the industry, some because they are not suitable to the role and others because they are not given appropriate training and support to succeed. We want to be viewed as professional services however we do not insist on the minimum requirements that other professional services sectors face. Until we lift the required entry point for this industry it will continue to be devalued. Regulate the industry, insist on required standards of other professional services sectors such as a Degree and required ongoing certification through proper tertiary institutions and then the journalists won't have anything to report on. Find me a lawyer or accountant who is permitted to start practice as soon as they have made up their mind to pursue this as a career option. It takes years of training and then years of practice as an understudy to someone else. Not so in recruitment, Find a person, give them a go and see how they fare. I know of some organisations that don't invest in training until the person has proven that they have what it takes and then they will invest in training. Gee I wonder why the industry has such a bad name?

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