Eli Garfinkel on Successful Recruiting: Be Clear About What You Want (Part 3)

Interview by Ron Elkayam

We continue our interview with Eli Garfinkel, owner of Placemint Agency, a recruiting agency in Lakewood, NJ.

Is there something that is especially satisfying about helping people get good job?

It’s very satisfying to help people get good jobs and grow in their career, and also to help people get out of their financial problems.

I constantly get letters of thanks from candidates and family members—spouses, children, and even grandparents, who tell me how important my work with the candidate has been to the family.

If the breadwinner gets a good job, it affects all the relationships in that family and even outside of the family. It affects shalom bayis (i.e., harmony with one’s spouse) and also impacts relationships with children in a very positive way.

How do you balance your work life and family life?

I am blessed with a large family, thank G-d, so it can be a difficult balance. I am just clear about what’s important. You find time for what you really want to do. When people say they “can’t find the time”, it just means they spend a lot of time doing things that waste their time. If you know what’s important, you focus on it.

How do you give back to the community?

I like to give extra time and effort to help people in bad situations, like people who are going through a divorce, or who have a family member who is not well or going through a challenging time in their life.

I am constantly giving advice to candidates who are going through a difficult time, helping them with tips about interviewing, helping them figure out whether they take a job or leave a job, or when to ask for a raise, etc. And also I give advice to employers about hiring and firing and other topics.

Can you give me an example of how you helped someone with some good advice?

Sure. A recruiter that I know was working with a company in the medical field. A few months ago he sent them a candidate who then was in the process of getting her license nursing. At that point he mentioned to the hiring manager that once she gets her license, she would be a good fit for the company.

While they didn’t hire her, it turns out that her husband was also looking for a job, and was introduced to the company through the recruiter. He got the job and the company paid the recruiter for that hire.

A few months later, the recruiter heard that the company had decided to hire the man’s wife, who the recruiter had presented to the company before.

The recruiter was upset. He didn’t understand why they were thinking about hiring her without speaking to him, and of course, was upset that he would be losing out on his commission.

He called the company and the hiring manager said that he did not feel that the recruiter deserved any commission for the hire of the wife. In fact, he said, he got a lot of pressure from her husband to hire her, and so he felt his company was not obligated to pay the recruiter.

The recruiter did not agree, and so they began to argue. The employer, also very upset, responded by saying he would resolve the situation in a very simple way. He told the recruiter that he would just not proceed with the hiring process. The woman wouldn’t get the job, and so he wouldn’t owe any commission to the recruiter.

The candidate, who was looking forward to getting this job, as you can imagine, was devastated. She soon found out what happened and called the recruiter, screaming, and started threatening him with a lawsuit.

So my friend the recruiter called me and asked me what he should do. I asked him if he would like me to call the woman up to calm her down. He agreed, and so I called her up and I mentioned to her that I am a friend of the recruiter who wanted to help resolve the situation.

She responded by yelling at me, until I explained I had nothing to gain and that I just wanted to help her get her the job she was hoping to get. After she calmed down, I told her I can try calling the employer to help her get the job.

So I called up this employer, who I also don’t know at all. I told him that the recruiter is willing to forego his commission so that the woman could get her job back.

He initially responded by saying said no, saying that he first needed to understand what the was recruiter thinking. I said to him, “The recruiter is not a page of Gemara that needs to be understood,” encouraging him to hire her.

So he said he that he would reconsider.

Those are some good mediation skills, Eli. I’m curious, do ethics play a part in recruiting?

Absolutely. What may be in the best interest of the employer or the candidate might not be in your best interest as far as compensation is concerned.

A candidate came to me recently looking for a job and I got her an interview at a certain company that I work with. She was also working with other recruiters, which was fine, of course, and another opportunity came her way.

I happened to have known about this company that was offering her the job, and know it is a good company. I also knew her background and what she was looking for. I felt that this second opportunity was a much better fit for her and recommended that she take it, even though, essentially, I would lose out on my commission if she did not take the opportunity I had presented to her with my client.

In recruiting, you often get faced with these kinds of ethical questions, and I believe you have to do what’s best for the candidate and for the employer, rather than focusing on the commission you could make on the hire. I also believe it was clear that this was the will of G-d. In the short term, you might lose out on some commission, but it really is much better in the long term to do the right thing because people in general want to work with someone who has integrity and who is honest.

To get in touch with Eli, email him at [email protected] or give him a call at (732) 278-6526. You can also contact him on LinkedIn ((linkedin.com/in/eli-garfinkel), where you can read his helpful recruitment-related posts.

Ron Elkayam is a writer and former business owner and HR professional. He now focuses on writing in the areas of health, business, technology, and personal growth.

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