An extraordinary repeat call I get from a chinny

About once every two months I get a voicemail. It is a woman with a very flat and uninterested voice reading, slowly, a script. Politely and entirely uninterestingly, along these lines:

Good afternoon Mr [ ]. 

My name is [ ] and I am calling you from a legal search company called [  ] on behalf of my director, Mr [  ]  [   ].   We are acting for a number of major organisations in relation to a range of opportunities which may fit your needs or ambitions very well indeed. If you wish to discuss these with us as buyer or candidate, please do not hesitate to contact us on [  ]

it is the broadest brush, the widest net and the most unchoked scattergun of all time.

It is so boringly delivered that this poor uninspired soul seems to be boring herself.  There is no content.  There is no decision as to whether I am target for sales or target for hire. There is no apparent awareness of what I do, the firm I work for or anything. Just a wide ranging claim of relevance by someone slowly leafing through Legal 500 and doing the numbers game.

How on earth can this make money ? Does someone listen to this and think "Oh my God. Of course! That's where I was going wrong. I should call them immediately as I have always wanted to work for / hire from "an organisation which may fit my ambitions or needs very well indeed!"? 

I can imagine behind this poor soul there is some pushy bastard just shouting "Shut up and make the calls, Irene.  I don't pay you to be clever or make suggestions as to how we could do better. Just do the calls. Sheryl is up to the 4000 mark this morning so you've got some catching up to do. " Grim beyond grim.

Numbers game innit.  Someone will pick up.  Surprised they leave a voicemail like that though, normally it's call through and hangup if you hit a voicemail, perhaps times has changed.


On similar wtf lines, I walked past a wagamamma's earlier which had a board promoting their new dish.  the key selling point was a "vegan egg".  

I am now worried I either don't understand the word vegan or the word egg or both...

Muttley, if it is a search assignment they have been mandated on, then they have to make as many calls/emails as possible, so they increase their chance of getting their full fee.

Normally works like this :


1) Third of fee payable on acceptance of assignment

2) Third of fee on submission of shortlist/interview

3) Third of fee payable when candidate starts

So they need to get as many as they can to interview stage, so they get more fee.

but the notion that a bored caller who doesn't give a tenth of a shit is going to persuade a person to help them take it from 1) to 2) is nonsense.

These are the people who are surprised if you do pick up.  You answer the phone without checking the number and say your name, "Brian Ballsack?" and they go quiet. you can hear the churn of a call centre.  "Hello. May I please speak to Brian Ballsack".  just fuck off.

Just to be clear on this, ok... my name is not Brian Ballsack.  The surname is pronounced Bayzazk. I'm from Kazakhstan. 

Mutters' sister is third best prostitute in whole of country

Far worse than the horribly generic - I had an emailed enquiry through that would literally have been what you would have sent had my employer been looking to replace me.

"The company is owned by an [X country] based shareholder and is involved in [Y industry] and currently in the process of [Z very specific task].  They're looking to upskill their current General Counsel position and we wondered if you might be interested in a chat?"

"Yes I'm very interested in a chat to make sure its not a massive chinny fvck up that has caused you to contact me."

You're being screened for a con trick. Like the way those spamming emails have deliberately bad syntax  

I've had a few recently who leave voicemail messages about having been recommended to me as they've got a potentially interesting transaction they need advice on.  Gutting to phone them back and find it's a chinny and not a new instruction.

Astonishing that they think that telling someone who has a job they have legal work for them will result in that person actually going along with whatever crappo job opportunity they are flogging when they ring back.  Truly astonishing.  

) Third of fee payable on acceptance of assignment

2) Third of fee on submission of shortlist/interview

3) Third of fee payable when candidate starts

So they need to get as many as they can to interview stage, so they get more fee.

Speaking as somebody who works in retained executive search, can I just say you have completely misunderstood how the fee structure works.

Also, the OP sounds like it’s a recorded message and absolutely not from a reputable search firm. 

I was once placed years ago by a m7 who'd turned chinny (I had gone to the firm thru another very good mate but they specialised elsewhere).  the amiable fckwit accidentally sent me their invoice rather than the hiring firm.  back in those days it was comfortably north of 1/3 of final yearly total comp.  

stix - the calls from call centre types seeking to book appointments with their actual recruiter are increasingly common.  That works in both ways as a sentence...

Stix do enlighten me , certainly a friend who works at a major search firm told me that and when we have looked at retained search for portfolio companies that’s exactly how it panned out

Strangely enough Kimmy I hang up if they don't get the message when I say I'm not looking to move and only called back as I thought it was a genuine possible new client.

I get these from time to time. They have probably seen my Linkedin profile. Get that guy, someone probably told them.

Not interested, How many times do I have to tell them.

Well yes, third on acceptance, third at shortlist, third on signature of contract, but the number of candidates is totally irrelevant.  It is actually in our best interest to have fewer (but good!) candidates at shortlist because the process goes quicker and we can get through more projects.  

stixta, fair enough. But I suppose it is in your interest to fina a candidate(s) who are likely to sign as opposed to the time wasters who like the attention.

I don't think I've ever seen a time waster who just likes the attention.  We get the occasional person who goes all the way through then decides they don't want to move after all, which is annoying, but it's the exception rather than the rule.

That said, I don't work with lawyers - maybe senior business people are just less insecure.

The last one I got was from some big City law firm.They said 'We're not going to bother with the whole interviewing charade. We know who you are and we've checked you out. How much do you want?'

What I don't want is a daily commute anymore.

TBF, being krolled is not s pleseant experience, and is a bit over the top and expensive. Surely far better to have some off the record convos with people in the appointees network?

Cahambers, how much did you want giver or take a 100k, I guess this was in the 80'S though?

Chambers’ 19:24 post reminds me of the IT guy in the Office talking to Gareth about his go-karting.

exactly, sails, I imagine most people hang up, which is why I wonder why they bother to try. Surely lying about recruiting for a role is worse than being upfront about it.  Who is going to say, oh, so you’re not a potential client, well that’s ok, I dont mind being lied to and yes, I do want to be interviewed for this inappropriate job.  

What's worse is that they've called me at work when there are numerous other ways to contact me.  I can't believe any recruiter still calls people on their work direct line.

"Chambers’ 19:24 post reminds me of the IT guy in the Office talking to Gareth about his go-karting."


This sort of thing winds me up no end 


In answer to your question:


How on earth can this make money ?


The reality is in the long term it won't. There is no barrier to entry for recruitment so a lot of agencies take the (ridiculous) approach of just hiring a load of new consultants and letting them go, the ones that sink will be fired, the ones that swim will be kept. But as this is a short term "contest" it encourages short term approaches and so what you end up with is a group of people who may have made more money than the other newbies within the first 6 months but who have alienated half the market in order to do so


My standard line for when I forget to let the chinny call go to voicemail is "Yes, I am interested in the role.  Can we meet to discuss.  By the way, I'm five months pregnant, I hope this won't be an issue".  It usually shuts them up for a bit.

And no, I don't follow up on the poss discrimination point as I am never pregnant when I say this.

Obv., this line won't work for all poss chinny-victims being called.