Now that’s an interesting statement to open up with, but to give it some context it’s worth signposting you to the 90’s film Jerry Maguire. Tom Cruise plays a sports agent who, witnessing his industry going down the toilet from a values and integrity perspective, has a moment of enlightenment and crafts a new agenda on the basis of mutuality. Less clients, more time, better service etc.
This is precisely where I am. Certainly, there are things I see and hear daily in my world that jar with me. As in Jerry Maguire, there’s nothing illegal here, it’s just not good practice.
Now I appreciate this is ‘my opinion’. I’m not suggesting for one moment that I’m the moral compass of the recruitment world, however, for sure, strong values and integrity are the cornerstones of what we stand for as an organisation. In fairness we’re not setting the bar at an unacceptable level and these shouldn’t be aspirational goals, just good practices based on a mixture of common sense and just doing the right thing.
Whilst I could ramble on all day on the subject, let’s look at three ‘questionable practices’ that as a company or indeed a candidate that you should look out for.
Poaching from your own clients
So the question here is simple….is it acceptable to actively poach candidates from your client? Personally speaking it’s a ‘no’ and that’s our stance on the subject. Yet it happens all the time and for whatever reason firms seem to get away with it. Why? It’s a combination of a number of things. But the key reason is largely because organisations don’t track this KPI…and most exit interviews are centred on why someone is leaving and not on who convinced them to move. And it could very well be your trusted recruitment partner poaching then; then oblivious to the fact, you then hand them the newly created vacancy, so they’re literally filling the voids they’re creating. My advice here is simple – track your leavers properly. When I challenged the chair of an award winning recruiter on this very subject, his reply was simply “….because we get away with it and we’ll continue until someone stops us….”.
3 month rebates
This is commercially naïve. If your probationary period is probably 3-6 months then why agree to a 3 month rebate? And it’s probably a reducing clawback so by week 12 you’ll get 10% of your cash back. Then you’ll go back to your ‘trusted advisor’ and ask them to go again. A 3 month rebate creates a commercial misalignment….ask for 12 months and make it a free replacement. Get the recruiter to own the placement and own the problem if it arises. Unsurprisingly the tenure of your hires will improve immeasurably.
“We’re in this together” – this is one for candidates
Recruiters are always looking for leads and candidates are often the best source. So stop falling for the “….I’m really keen to get you into the market quickly, but I don’t want to embarrass you by approaching companies you’re in conversation with….” – happens all the time. And certainly never tell the recruiter you’re the ‘front runner’….not only have you given them the lead, but you’ve also provided the benchmark.
Whilst I seem to be tarring the whole recruitment market with the same brush, in reality there are some great recruiters out there who do the right thing and make great hires….it’s just that this population seems to be diminishing. But I still have hope for a sector that has been my home for 27 years.
And finally, I’ll leave you with this one thought. These poor practices are happening because ultimately you allow them to – only you have the power to evoke change.