In a work trends survey, IBM found that 58% of candidates who had a negative experience with a recruitment process said they would not apply again in the future. When I read this I immediately began delving deeper into the reason behind it. Aside from an array of factors such as, lack of knowledge by the consultants, general unprofessionalism, confusion, and client flip-flopping, there seemed to be an integral core issue that wasn't addressed with enough emphasis. This is the issue of trust and integrity within the industry.
At the core of it, a client wants to find a knowledgable and competent team member without having to pay too much, while a candidate generally wants a healthy salary with a great work environment and a rewarding career. Those two initiatives can at times bump heads, which leave many a Manager struggling trying to find the perfect candidate without outsourcing to recruiters. If you are a Manager whose bottom line is expenses and wants to get an A-list candidate for a D-list price, I recommend you don't use a recruiter. At least not an honest one.
Why? Simple, you probably won't find a decent hire, and even if you somehow do, the chances are the experience will be awful. I've witnessed, on many occasions, a company reaching out to three or four different recruitment agencies in the hopes of increasing their chances to find the right candidate, essentially pinning business against business. In such cases, if a client has already hired out two or three other businesses, there's not much trust invested in you as a third. If there is no trust, how can there possibly exist any honesty or integrity in you as a recruiter?
I am a believer in action. If a company or consultant is good at their job they will actively place qualified candidates in great positions at salaries what are satisfactory to both parties. Regardless though, in this business, if you don't place candidates and offer excellent customer service, you'll soon find yourself out of business. So then why all the mistrust between clients, candidates, and consultants?
In my opinion, the mistrust, lack of integrity and honesty come from the way many agencies are structured. With most agreements, the recruiters are not paid a fee until a candidate is placed in a position. What this does is eliminate the urgency, and dependence both client and consultant would then feel if the opposite were to happen. Without an initial stake, the client has nothing to worry or care about if the consultant doesn't come through with viable candidates. Meanwhile, the consultant is essentially working for free hopping from job to job until they find a viable candidate to place in the first job as quick as they can.
I feel it's this lack of a truly vested interest that creates many of the frustrations in the industry. That's why we've decided to experiment with a retainment fee going forward. I feel this might build the perfect bridge between consultants, clients, and candidates. When a company decides to choose Coded People and places a retainment fee with us it says "Alright I'm putting my money down and I expect you to find a viable candidate for me". What this also does is:
Ensure that the company will most likely work exclusively with us
Shows that the company has hopefully done a little research and due diligence in choosing the agency they want to hire
Place greater importance on reviews/industry experiences a company has, thus further validating their competencies or incompetencies
Increases the quality of a recruitment agency's talent pool as more positive reviews and exposure will invite more A-list talent and CVs
Build trust and integrity between the consultant, candidate, and client
It may seem counter-productive to ask clients for a retainment fee, but it extends a piece of trust in us and our profession. A trust that can be ruined if we as recruiters fail in our responsibilities. Any recruitment agency who uses and abuses a retainment fee will surely receive negative reviews, and lack of opportunities that they'll either close shop or rapidly need to change their mentality. Meanwhile, the businesses who have built a positive reputation in the industry will be that much more cautious in how they are perceived, how they treat clients and candidates and will continue to better themselves as they grow. I think this could become an industry standard in the years to come.
Founder of Coded People