Last week, a group of agents participated in the now infamous 'QueryFail' on Twitter (search for #queryfail), generating an enormous amount of debate about the rights and wrongs of doing so. I intended to just go on my merry way and not wade into this debate, but I can't stop myself.
I realise the intent was to educate, not to mock. And I understand many of the snarky comments came not from agents themselves, but from others 'watching' the stream. My issue isn't with agents trying to educate potential clients on what or what not to do - that's actually a good thing, and there are lots of great blogs out there that do just that. My issue is with agents publicly trading samples of people's (ignorant or not) hard work - without their consent - and opening up a forum for them to be ridiculed.
In my previous life, I recruited teachers from Canada, the US, Australia and NZ to come teach in the UK. Every year, we visited job fairs all over those countries and fielded thousands of phone calls and questions. I answered at least 50 emails per day from potential teachers and made dozens of phone calls. I know what it's like to see your inbox go up with fruitless questions from ignorant people who could answer the questions themselves if they actually bothered to do a little research.
But at the forefront of my mind was this: as annoying as some of these people were, this was our potential client base. It was my job to respond to these questions, no matter how ill-informed I thought they might be, or how much I doubted their ability to teach 30 kids. Sure, my colleagues and I traded jokes and made snarky remarks sometimes. But all in the privacy of our office. We would never take examples of 'bad questions' and post them in a public forum. That would be like shooting ourselves in the foot. And very unprofessional.
QueryFail was well intended. But was it well thought out? I'd have to say no.