The Sales Recruitment Network UK Ltd

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Sharp Practices in Recruitment and how to avoid them

Working as a professional recruiter it’s very disappointing when I come across people operating in the industry who do not work to appropriate standards; often they are disingenuous, ineffective and mercenary; the ramifications of their actions can be far reaching.

I thought I’d share some of these practices in order to allow employers to recognise when they’re being used and to help to guard against them.

A simple ploy is to get the brief and then inundate you with CVs. These won’t necessarily match the criteria you laid out but this tactic serves two purposes; it lowers your expectations and it gives the rogue agency ‘ownership’ of candidates.

The former version I’ve experienced myself when working as a Sales Director and running a large team. Thanks to the dreaded ‘preferred supplier list’ I was locked into a company with a strong market presence who ‘interviewed’ every candidate before putting them forwards. The people I got had indeed been ‘interviewed’ but often not for many months and now has significant changes in their circumstances.

Often the candidates wouldn’t match the brief the agency had been given and the agency would be very misleading regarding their backgrounds (often outrageously so) making the agency ‘interviews’ a waste of time. The net result is to lower the common denominator so that a mediocre candidate becomes a ‘good’ candidate, or more accurately the best available. Not a good way to run a business.

Where no face to face agency interview is undertaken this tactic is far more widely used. Throwing a lot of CVs at you in the hope that one will ‘stick’ is easy to do. It involves no skill or effort or even work by the agency can may result in a fee – money for nothing.

There are ramification for this to your company and to the individual whose CV is being abused. Please let me explain.

I recently had an experience with an IT Sales role that I’m recruiting for. It’s a very good, well paid role within an excellent company.

I found a very good candidate, John, spoke to him at length and explained the role and the company in detail. We agreed to proceed with his application.

When I submitted John’s CV (July 16) I was told by personnel that they already had his CV, it had been submitted by a leading IT recruiter in Manchester (we’ll call them Fairly Joking).

I spoke to John who was furious. He had spoken to ‘Fairly Joking’ in October ‘16, eight months previously; his circumstances and CV had subsequently changed. He had never been spoken to about this specific role, he had never agreed to be put forwards for it and hadn’t applied for any roles through them.

My client, being very professional, had given ‘Fairly Joking’ some feedback on john’s CV explaining why his ‘application’ was declined.

Had the client wanted to see John then Fairly joking would have called him and tried to sell him on this great opportunity. If he wanted to pursue it they would have called him back later that day and told him he had an interview, demonstrating what a great agency they are. Had he not been interested they would have told my client that he had lost interest. No harm no foul.

Except should John see an opportunity in the future with my client they would probably write him off immediately as he declined a previous invitation to interview. How many other companies has his CV been thrown at, how many other companies has John had any future possibility of employment removed from him because of this agencies behaviour?

He’ll never know and more importantly he’ll never know why his application was turned down.

From my clients point of view they have been misled, if not lied to. The feedback they took the trouble to give was never passed to John and would not be used in selecting more suitable candidates because this isn’t the agencies process.

Had they employed John they would have paid a fee not for professional services but for a bit of luck.

There are two good ways to avoid this sort of behaviour.

When you engage an agency insist that they discuss the role with the candidate: telephone, skype or face to face depending on your preferences. Get this in writing. When interviewing ask about the agencies involvement and identify when the role was discussed.

If the agency hasn’t spoken to them you know what you’re dealing with, it could be an effective way of extricating yourself from a ‘preferred supplier arrangement’ with an agency your stuck with. If they find you a good candidate that they haven’t spoken to you have no reason to pay them. They are in breach of contract. They won’t go anywhere near a court, they can’t win and don’t want the publicity. 

The other thing is to employ one agency; ideally retain them. In reality you gain nothing by engaging multiple agencies, all are ‘fishing form the same pond’.

What you do is initiate a CV race as the first agency to get a CV to you ‘owns’ that candidate, this is why the sharp practices above are employed.

Using one, well selected agency will ensure you get a professional service, will enjoy good communication and meet only first class candidates.

Retaining an agency seems to be out of fashion at the moment but why? Retaining will cost you no more than the usual fee (unless you go for the cheapest service in which case you get what you pay for). The benefits will be to work in partnership with a supplier for your most important resource.

If you would like to discuss the above further, please contact me through this website.

Michael Thomason

 

SRN are a specialist and experienced sales recruitment consultancy covering the whole of the UK, search our active vacancy database or register your CV and we can help you in your next career move.

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