I learned a very important lesson with the very first placement I did on my own.  I was still working as a resourcer at the time, but was slowly starting to pick up my own roles.  The first of which was for an IT Technician.  I placed a candidate who I had known from several months back as he was the first candidate I had met and qualified as a resourcer.  Because I was so nervous to make sure I did everything right I think I had asked him every question under the sun.  I left that candidate meeting knowing almost everything about him.  His work experience, what he did in his spare time, even his girlfriend´s name.

When this position came up for IT Technician I thought of him right away and sent him in.  He nailed the interview and they loved him.  They made the offer, he accepted and he started shortly thereafter.

Several weeks later I got a call from the Operations manager who was nice at first, but as he explained the situation his voice got more animated.  It would appear that my perfect candidate had one problem.  He required a work permit.  My candidate had not mentioned this to me (nor had I asked) or to the client until a week into starting the job.  The client was good enough to apply for a work permit except that they were denied it by the government who instead slapped the company with a £1500 fine for hiring someone illegally.  They then called me with the happy news.

In the end it worked out that we would cover half the cost of the fine out of the placement fee and the client was good about it as it was a bit of an “oops” on behalf of all three parties, but still.  This is not the first impression you want to give a client or your boss for that matter on your very first placement.

Needless to say, every candidate I interviewed after that was asked about their EU status.  Not to say that this would exclude them from a potential position, but to make sure that my clients would know beforehand what they were dealing with.  Lesson learned.


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It's funny what candidates leave out by accident or on purpose ;) Either way it makes our jobs as the recruiter even harder. We are busy making sure that we have all the boxes checked and are human so somethings will slip through the cracks. Glad this situation worked out for you.

And it NEVER happened again.  Which is good because I spent the next two years on the language desk so I became a bit of an expert on work permits, visas etc. :-)

I think it this equally could be a HR horror story more so than a recruiters one. It is absolute basic stuff for them to check these issues and unless clearly stated by the client I am not sure its your responsibility. I have to deal with Visa's from time to time in Asia and whilst I check, I would consider that as much HR's responsibility as yours. It says a lot about your clients attention to details that they actually hired this candidate with checking he had valid documentation. As for paying half the fine, that is no client I would want to keep.

I think HR was fully responsible for this mistake, although it is our responsibility to ask this question too.  They are the supposed specialists in this type of candidate.  The candidate was also totally at fault.  He knew this could be a problem and was dishonest by not disclosing this up front.  I also had an accountant who was less than honest when he did not disclose that he had a felony on his record due to theft from his previous company.  He said he needed a job and he hoped they would not check. It can all make you crazy.

@Brian and @Shari, valid points for sure. Perhaps I should have elaborated a bit as the legal worker situation in Gibraltar (where I am located) is a tricky one. The candidate had been working in Spain for years and was legal to do so as there was a strong relationship between his native South American nation and Spain, but Gibraltar is different. He wasn´t aware of this and honestly at that point, being my first job, neither was I. There are so many obstacles you can come across in placing a candidate and I thought it best to ask the question myself for every candidate afterwards just to make sure to avoid a future headache. Still a horror story if you ask me. :-)

Are you on great terms with this client contact now, after the issue was resolved?? You took the right approach, in my experience. Clients appreciate right action when there are "sensitive" situations...

I moved desks so I didn´t work with the client for too long.  But I´ve been know to develop good relationships with clients since then and I think it was my making sure of having all bases covered.  I´ve had some client comment on it.  I think it´s good to learn early on in the job.  That lesson stayed with me. :-)


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