Recruiter Dirty Tricks No. 3- The Blind Introduction

So I had an interesting situation last week, and I’m sad to say its something that happens all too often. Luckily, it was resolved relatively easily, but it reinforced to me the huge failings that many people in the industry are making.

I had been working on a permanent management position for a medium sized Housing Association. As per their company policy, they had to go out to 3 agencies. Now, I’m fine to work in this way (although I’d rather not), as I appreciate that we operate in the Public Sector and you have to demonstrate Value for Money. The reason this isn’t often the best way forward is that it creates a race to get the first “introduction” of a candidate, which often results in just getting sent the “low hanging fruit”- the easy and quick to find candidates, rather than the best people in the market.

So, in this particular instance, I provided a shortlist of 3 candidates, 2 of whom were invited in for interview. The other 2 agencies sent 20 CVs between them, and had 6 of them invited in. (n.b. just dumping their database on the client rather than doing our job of assessing and selecting- perhaps the subject for another blog!)

I arranged the interviews, sent over some additional information to help them prepare, gave some critique on the presentation that they had to give, met up with them to give some final interview prep and build their confidence and then it was over to them. The good news is one of them was offered the role and accepted. But this is where the gall of one particular “consultant” came to the fore.

Upon finding out that they hadn’t been successful, and finding out who had been offered, they tried to claim that they should have had the introduction as they sent the candidate first!!! Upon looking at both e-mail trails, it turns out that they had sent the candidate first, so he did have a point.

I must admit, I was alarmed, especially having put so much work in. I also knew the candidate very well by now, and was sure that he wouldn’t have pitched us against each other, so asked him about the situation.

It transpires that he had not heard anything from the other agency for months and had even had a couple of calls not returned a couple of months ago. What they had done is just send a load of CVs to a job without having spoken to them, until they got a bite. And yet, they still felt they merited an introduction fee!?!?!?!

I wonder why recruitment agencies get a bad rep??

Luckily, when presented with the evidence, they backed down, but it still doesn’t make anyone involved look good.

So, recruiters, just think about a few things when you register your next vacancy:
1. Your product is your people/your network– get to know them, engage with them and make sure anything you send them to is the right thing for them.
2. Be a consultant!– we get paid handsomely for what we do, so earn it. Scour the market, assess who is the best, and then put your best selection forward. nail your reputation to the mast! Don’t just dump your database on the client, they have better things to do.
3. Don’t be so bloody lazy!

Barry Forsythe is Manager of Greenacre Midlands Division,  overseeing the Executive/Senior Level candidacy and vacancies across the East & West Midlands region. Barry has worked in recruitment for over 16 years and works alongside organisations to deliver advice, insights and experience to housing and associated industry professionals throughout the UK.

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