I used to be super-hardcore in Silicon Valley. I moved to London, sold out and worked for financial services companies. Now back to the startup life.
Here's where I rant at nobody in particular.
Let's run through an entirely hypothetical situation for a second.
You're a recruiter. You find out that there might be a newly funded financial technology startup that's hiring, perhaps by looking at Blog Posts or LinkedIn Profiles. You think "hey, that's a great opportunity to get some business."
You then proceed to start calling engineers and telling them that there's a recently funded financial technology startup in stealth mode that's hiring, and they'd be brilliant to work for, and get some strong expressions of interest, including CVs.
You then contact the CEO of said company through LinkedIn and say "Hey, I see you're hiring, and I've got some candidates that are already interested!" The CEO might in theory point out to you that you in fact do not have a Master Services Agreement or any other contractual relationship with said startup, and that he's not interested in any candidates that have come through that might trigger a financial payout with a firm with which the startup lacks a pre-existing business relationship.
Now you're in a bind. The CEO flat-out says that he's not willing to sign any type of contract with you, but you've already told the candidates that you can get them introduced to the firm. You've been caught out in your lie.
I suppose what you could do is come clean with the candidates and just tell them the name of the firm and its CEO so that they can get in touch directly. In fact, the CEO might have even suggested this as a way forward for you. But I doubt you're going to do this. If you were interested in acting ethically, you might have contacted the CEO before lying to candidates.
I think more likely what you're going to do is tell the candidates that the CEO isn't interested in them in particular. And for that, and the situation that led to this mess, you earn a merit badge in Unethical Recruiting to add to your stack. You've also earned the wrath of said CEO, who will proceed to make sure that the reputations of both yourself and your firm are effectively ruined with everybody said CEO knows.
Hypothetically, of course.