Home Truths: Recruiting


Lesson #9: Candidate Finders 4U or Quality Selections R Us

A true story…

“They said: ‘We want you to recruit people for us in exchange for a one-off fee that equates to 3.5 per cent of their basic salary (under £500).

‘We will not pay you until after they have been with us for at least 40 days and if they leave for any reason within 90 days then you are obliged to find us a replacement at no extra cost to us.

‘If you will not do it for that then we have somebody else who will.’”
“And what did you say then?”

“We agreed.”

“The last person you found for them that left…on what day?”

“On the 89th day.”

“Gosh! I am surprised…. What a coincidence! Who would have thunk it?”

“And they’ve told us over half the new starts are currently on performance improvement plans.”

“Never! And you believed that there was somebody else prepared to work to these terms because…?”

“They told us.”

“I see. Last question…. How do you spell gullible?”

In all-too-recent days gone by many mobile related companies willingly paid large sums of money to ‘recruitment’ companies to find new salespeople.

They did so because there were fewer good candidates than vacancies and margins were high.

Then, surprise, surprise, some of the recruitment companies got greedy and started taking shortcuts.

That eventually led to them putting adverts on ‘supamegawundajobs.com’, having brief chats with the respondents on the telephone and then sending their CVs to the potential client.

Next, they phoned the client (having never actually met face-to-face) and told them this candidate is absolutely fabulous based upon their lies on paper (sorry, I meant to say CV) and a brief telephone conversation.

All too many companies knew that this was going on and encouraged it by accepting it and the related sales staff turnover.

Let’s be honest. Where I come from that’s called throwing brown stuff at a vertical erection to see if any sticks, and is probably only worth about £500 a pop anyway.

Today vacancies are scarce, margins are lower and there’s a glut of available candidates. So it would seem at first glance that companies could further drive down the price they pay per recruit and demand even more painful terms as in the recent example mentioned.

However quality providers will walk away from those opportunities (!) if the terms cannot be renegotiated. Why? Because the quality provider has and always will invest time and money in meeting with many candidates and critically assessing their suitability before sending only the best to the client.

They could not afford to do this effectively for £500. Times may have changed but the basics have not.

If you are in the recruitment game then you know that there are two fundamental ingredients: vacancies and candidates, and that you will only make a profit by delivering value to your client.

Today, due to the high numbers of candidates looking for new jobs – all with an absolutely fabulous CV, a great reference (for going quietly) and a ten-page compromise agreement you need a lawyer to decipher – effective initial ‘selection’ of candidates is vital and not cheap.

If companies want more than just an internet advert and a telephone call or two, then they are going to have to pay more for it or do it themselves.

It is not certain how many companies will perceive the value in or demand more effective initial ‘selection’ of potential new recruits before interview.

One thing that is certain however is that any recruitment company which cannot demonstrate that value is likely to go the way of the mobile salesperson that only knows how to distress-discount and churn.

Maybe it’s time to review your recruitment and selection suppliers.