Oxford International, High Tech Ventures, and other annoying, cold-calling recruiting firms

If you work in the high-tech field like I do, and especially if you’re in management, you probably get regular cold calls from recruiters looking to either (a) hire someone into your company, (b) convince you to let them find you a new job, or (c) sweet-talk you into giving them the names and phone numbers of other people at your company for them to call as their next victims.

If I were looking for a job myself, I wouldn’t use any of these people.  I decided years ago that the way you find a good recruiter to work with is through word of mouth and networking, not through cold calls from pushy, often dishonest people who don’t actually care about you or your career.

If I were looking to hire someone to work at my company, I wouldn’t use any of these people, both for the reasons given above, and because we have in-house recruiters and it is very difficult to convince senior management that a job is sufficiently difficult to fill that external recruiting expertise is needed.  Even if I were going to use an external recruiter to fill a position, it would be handled by my HR department, not by me.

Nevertheless, I get several of these calls per week.  It’s gotten so bad that I don’t answer my desk phone when the caller ID doesn’t show a number I recognize.  If it’s someone I actually need to speak with, they’ll leave a voicemail message.

Today’s annoying recruiter incident was sufficiently egregious that I felt it appropriate to post about it on my blog to warn others off from the perpetrator, Oxford International.

The Oxford International recruiter called not once, not twice, but three times, and the third call was after I actually spoke to him and told him to leave me alone.

  1. Recruiter calls.  Caller ID shows no number, so I let it go to voicemail.  No message is left.
  2. Recruiter calls again.  Two calls in a row is almost always a sign that someone I know really needs to reach me, so I answer the phone.  As they so often do, the recruiter introduces himself vaguely using a tone of voice which suggests that we’re old friends.  When I ascertain that he is a recruiter, I inform him that I’m not currently hiring and that if I were he would have to talk to my HR department, thank him for calling, and hang up, all before he can waste any more of my time by saying anything.
  3. Recruiter calls a third time — I do not answer — and again leaves no message.

Interestingly, I am not the only person who has written on-line about bad experiences with Oxford International.

The other recruiting firm mentioned in the title of this blog entry, High Tech Ventures, found me a job in 1997.  However, I was so bothered by the way they worked that, after thanking them for finding me the job, I told them to please never contact me again.  What bothered me about them was:

  1. It was clear that were more interested in earning a commission than in placing me in a position that was a good fit for both me and the company that hired me.
  2. A couple years after they place you in a position, they call you up and try to convince you that it’ll be good for your career for you to leave.  Yes, that’s right, they actively try to steal employees they’ve placed from the companies with which they’ve placed them.

As I said, I asked High Tech Ventures back in 1997 never to contact me again.  Nevertheless, I continue to get phone calls and email messages from them, both at home and at work, on a regular basis.  I have repeatedly asked them to stop contacting me, and it does no good.

If you do find it necessary to work with recruiting firms, I suggest you take a pass on Oxford International and High Tech Ventures.

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14 Responses to “Oxford International, High Tech Ventures, and other annoying, cold-calling recruiting firms”

  1. joe says:

    Add Staff Finders to the list.

    5 different recruiters called me over the week, leaving me voicemails, all for the same job posting. In addition, during this time I received 5 emails for that same job posting from a 6th person.

    In some ways, this is worse than Oxford.

    I told them to f- off just now, that I was neither qualified nor interested. Let’s see if they stop…

    Never had someone assault me with email and phone spam just for one damn posting. Isn’t silence usually a hint? These lowlifes seem to think otherwise.

  2. james says:

    I work in engineering at a high-tech company. I’ve had Oxford cold-call myself and co-workers multiple times. They were trying to get us to hire contractors through them. (We don’t hire contractors period, so the conversation usually stops there. Not to mention that I absolutely despise telephone cold-calls in general as a sales method.).

    I believe these guys just scour LinkedIn for anyone and everyone who will take their calls, then call the employer’s main line and try to get in. They somehow got through our secretary/office assistants who are the front lines answering the public phone line. The secretary/office assistance now know better than to forward them onto engineers. Some of these people even call our technical support line and try their sales pitch on support engineers (wasting their time). I don’t believe that was necessarily Oxford but just cold-call sales people in general. I, on occasion, answer our technical support line and basically tell these people to f— off for trying cold calls on a phone line intended for our customers.

    My upper management has dictated in no uncertain terms that no employee in our entire company give Oxford even two seconds of their time. The calls have gone away, luckily.

  3. joe says:

    Pardon my language, but Fuck Oxford.

    I had 6 recruiters call me, all saying the same thing about finding my resume, all telling me to explain to them what I do, all wasting my time since I never heard from them after the initial call. That’s about 4-5 hours of my life wasted.

    On the 7th, before they even began their speel, I told them never to call me again. Which was fine until today, when they decided to “proactively” call me because they opened a new office.

    Sheesh, fuck off already. Go away, Oxford.

  4. Rod says:

    I would rather clean toilets than work for Oxford again. The boss John did nothing all day but threaten to fire everyone, I was told to lie to company secretaries about who I was just so I could get through to the company bosses. In a nutshell, they asked me to lie, completely dishonest work.

  5. Rod says:

    I previously worked for Oxford International, I left the company after a few weeks as the work was soul destroying, and also because after less than a week they expected me to be of the standard of someone working there four years.

  6. Jay says:

    Hi There, I completely agree with your words. I have actually worked with Oxford before and had to leave after only a month because the work is so dishonest and unrealistically target driven. I am not a dishonest person and I couldn’t handle the lies i was expected to tell to receptionists. I can only be thankful that I didn’t waste too much of my time there.

  7. john says:

    Is this really that much of an issue? I personally know that High Tech Ventures is a great recruiting firm. They find very interesting early stage start ups that my give a high tech professional some options where they can persue they career objectives.

    This company has been sucessful at starting a vast amount of multi-million dollar companies.

    It is undeniable that they are good at what they do. They respect there applicants, they are not suckers. They often invest in there own startups and get behind there products.

    You should be thankful that someone is even calling you about jobs in hard times like these. Realistically, there is no way recruiting firms make a significant impact on your work performance and if they do. Someone who can handle these “difficulties”

    Can’t you just get a block on numbers and update your spam folders?

    • jik says:

      The previous comment from “john” was posted from the IP address 72.248.205.178, which resolves to smtp.htventures.com. Four minutes later, another comment was posted on my other article about High Tech Ventures, from the same IP address, this time from “paul”.

      Apparently “john” / “paul” is unaware that blogs log IP addresses.

      I leave it to the readers of my blog to evaluate the trustworthiness of a company’s defense being posted by an employee of the company who neglects to identify himself as such.

  8. Leo says:

    Bill them for your time. Minimum 15 minutes, for interrupting other work.

  9. Rama says:

    These people called me few minutes ago. This article explained excellently what they are doing to thousands of people. I always tell them that I found a full time position working for government, and I am not planning to work as consultant any more.

  10. [...] A few minutes ago, I got the following email message from Ed at High Tech Ventures, a recruiting firm I have trashed on my blog in the past: [...]

  11. Don't CallMe says:

    Your description of High Tech Ventures is both accurate and appropiate; they not only annoyed me at work but they hunted me down at home and on my cell. Persistence can be taken to an extreme and when they call again, I have given my kids and my wife the permission to tell them that I have recently died in a fiery car crash and this is not a good time to talk. Hopefully they will feel bad enough to give the next guy a break and end their calling for the night; if the next person was so lucky.

    Get the message, if the jobs you have to sell are so good then why are you calling me? If I a m looking, I already know about the top 10 companies to consider…….

  12. Liam says:

    These guys are scum of the earth, I worked with them before. First day of training the instructor wrote this on the white board. Guys who work for us = suckers. This all happend in the Cork office in Ireland. Ran by a very arrogant plump man called John. Also thye office lap dog Lisa. Vary fake people in both work and real life.

  13. Andrew says:

    Ah, High Tech Ventures. At one point, my wife told them I’d died just to get them to stop calling.

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