When Does Your Company’s Recruiting Cross the Line?

The University of Louisville’s basketball program is under fire because of allegations by former recruits and players who claim that Louisville paid for strippers to entertain them on recruiting visits that included paid sex.

From ESPN.com:

Five former University of Louisville basketball players and recruits told Outside the Lines that they attended parties at a campus dorm from 2010 to 2014 that included strippers paid for by the team’s former graduate assistant coach, Andre McGee.

One of the former players said he had sex with a dancer after McGee paid her. Each of the players and recruits attended different parties at Billy Minardi Hall, where dancers, many of whom stripped naked, were present. Three of the five players said they attended parties as recruits and also when they played for Louisville.

Said one of the recruits, who ultimately signed to play elsewhere: “I knew they weren’t college girls. It was crazy. It was like I was in a strip club.”

When does YOUR recruiting cross the line?

Before you come down on Louisville, the reality is that this is probably happening at many institutions. Jalen Rose, former NBA player, one of the University of Michigan’s Fab Five, and an ESPN commentator, also said his recruiting visits to UofM, MSU, Syracuse and UNLV were like bachelor parties — and all included having sex and alcohol.

I think most of us would completely agree that taking 17 and 18-year-old boys on to a college campus for this type of activity is wrong.

My question is this: Where does recruiting cross the line when it comes to adults and working for your company?

I can’t imagine ever “paying for sex” for a recruit, since it’s mostly illegal unless you’re in certain counties in Nevada. I also can’t imagine providing drugs to potential recruits for any company I might work for, but then you see what’s going on in Colorado and Oregon.

I think you cross the line in how you recruit when you cross the line of the moral makeup of the majority of your employees and stakeholders.

For example, some companies are very comfortable taking recruits out to bars and getting them drunk. Many other companies can’t even fathom that kind of behavior!

Wining and dining

But, doesn’t wining and dining have a place in professional recruitment? If you could get a great software developer, one that might cost you a $25K headhunting fee, doesn’t it make sense to drop a few hundred dollars on a potential candidate?  It certainly does, if you know who your best candidates are!

That’s the problem, right? Many of us don’t know “better” talent when we see it.

So, giving out hundreds of dollars in recruiting swag doesn’t work when you give it out to everyone! It only works when you give it to the best. Then, it also doesn’t work every time. It’s like the famous line from the movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy that says,“60 percent of the time, it works every time!

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Louisville didn’t get every recruit who they paid hookers to have sex with them, but they landed some of those recruits.

Buying Beats headphones with your logo and sending them to software developers won’t land everyone you send them to, but it will attract some to take that next step. Those cost $199.

Is hiring great talent worth $199? Oh hell, yes it is! But, no one is sending Beats to software developers.

How far would you go for top talent?

I’ve always said that college athletics is on the forefront of what true recruiting is. They’re going after highly sought after talent that’s hard to attract to your organization. They find ways to make the best candidates feel extremely special.

This is way beyond candidate experience. This is closing!

Paying for sex goes beyond what I’m willing to do to get the best talent to come and work for me. But, I’m willing to do a lot of other stuff to attract top talent! What about you?

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.

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