The dreaded - "We're letting your candidate go - please find a replacement for free"

I've been a recruiter for 10 years and never had to replace a candidate yet until last week when I received the dreaded email - John just isn't working out.  We are going to let him go and the COO wants you to find the replacement for free.  My contract is for 60 days and it's been 75...but do I fight the 15 days they are past the contract - probably not.

Bummer for me and my candidate but lots of questions come from this:

Do I really need to do this for free?  They also picked the candidate so where is their skin in the game?
If I don't do it for free, they won't work with me again....but if I do work for free will they still work with me anyway?

I am thinking of asking the client if I can also look through the people who have responded to their posting as perhaps there is a good candidate there.  Has anyone ever done this?

Please share your thoughts on the best way to deal with this and can people please provide their experience in this area.

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

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If you replace John and take the attitude with your client that it is important to you that they get what they pay for they will be about one thousand times more inclined to work with you in the future. I would find out the details of why John is being terminated so quickly. Normally when it happens this quickly the problem is the candidate not the employer.

It doesn't happen often but when it does happen that close to the end of the guarantee period they probably were ready to let him go before the guarantee period but gave him a little more time so yes, do it for free, don't ask to go through people they got on their own unless you want to convince them they shouldn't have used a recruiter in the first place. Just bite the bullet and find a replacement fast if you want to keep the client.

Customer service that creates long term partnerships is going a bit over what might legally be required under the terms of a guarantee. Keep the guy who signs the front of the check happy and you might have the opportunity to sign the back of the check again in the future.

Yes what Sandra said.  Also, I would go in and do some forensics to find out what went wrong and how to prevent it next time.  If done right, it's your chance to create more of a partnership relationship with that client.  It will also tell you if there is any internal sabotage going on.

Thanks for the response Bill and Sandra.  I did talk with the hiring manager and got his feedback, all of which should help me in my new search.  I'm only concerned I won't be able to find someone to replace him in a timely manner but have already started my search.

 

 

 

If you don't find someone let them know you will issue a trade credit in the amount of the fee that can be used against future searches in any dept. in the company.  Most companies will use the credit and you keep your relationship with the client.  I don't refund ever but i do let clients know that in the event of a fallout if i am unable to replace or they fill that spot on their own i will issue a trade credit.  I have never had a client fuss about it.  Have only had two or three in lo these many years ,one i was unable to replace but they were fine with a trade credit.  Satisfied it and was able to bill a little over what the credit was on the next position but the main thing was that there was a next one.  There have been many more listings in the following years so it was well worth it.  I also did not get petty about prorating the credit based on the candidate having worked for two months.  They were delighted because other recruiters they had worked with would only credit part of the total amount.

 

Curious, what was the reason they gave you for the short term employment and termination?  Two of mine quit because they got another offer from companies they had applied to , didn't hear anything for two months , took another job then got the offer they wanted in the first place which was significantly above what they had accepted with my client.

The company is a startup and the candidate couldn't move at the fast pace they wanted him to.  They really liked him personally, but said he's the "fortune 500" employee, not a start up guy.

Thanks for your thoughts.  Hopefully I will find someone in a timely manner.  That certainly is my goal.

 

Agree with Sandra 100%.  If you fix the problem, they will love you and come back.  In hindsight, it was probably a mistake taking a Fortune 500 guy for a start up.  Different world - most can adjust but it takes time and your client didn't have that luxury. 

I like Sandra's trade credit concept - I never heard that before. Hope I won't need it but it's good to keep in mind.

Robye:  The answers to your questions are dependent on the importance of the client and your agreement with them. If you fee agreement requires that you replace the candidate within a certain period of time, you are honor bound to do so.  However, it it is past the "guaranty" period, you will have to make a decision based on the nature of your relationship with the client.  The first thing you might want to do is to determine, not in an email, but in a phone conversation both with HR and the hiring manager, the reasons why your candidate did not work out.  You must, of course, also ask your candidate and make sure the stories are the same.  The information you gather from those questions might help you in your determination.


I have a clause in every contract I issue. I also insert it in client generated agreements.  The clause essentially says that I will guaranty my candidates except for loss or downturn in business, management change or change in capital structure. It is a smart clause.  In over twenty five years I have only had to replace two candidates, but another hand full have fallen under the exception.  I hope this helps.

I place IT sales reps and the standard guaranty in Canada is 90 days.

 

In my market if your doing a good job you still have to replace 25%+ of your placements so I'm dealing with the problem constantly.

 

I definetly wouldn't offer a trade credit unless the customer is insistent. It doesn't give you the chance to fix the real problem which was a bad hire.  Trade credits keep you on the hook to work for free and you still haven't fixed the real problem.

Also a lot of the time the problem just disappears for many different reasons and the problem is forgotten.

 

Since they went past your 60 day guarantee you should ask if they would be receptive to a 50% credit on the replacement.  But be flexible because in most cases the client blames you. They just spent big bucks on a product that doesn't work. Imagine if you bought a car and it was such a lemon you had to throw it away. Who would you blame?

 

Barry

 


 
Paul S. Gumbinner said:

Robye:  The answers to your questions are dependent on the importance of the client and your agreement with them. If you fee agreement requires that you replace the candidate within a certain period of time, you are honor bound to do so.  However, it it is past the "guaranty" period, you will have to make a decision based on the nature of your relationship with the client.  The first thing you might want to do is to determine, not in an email, but in a phone conversation both with HR and the hiring manager, the reasons why your candidate did not work out.  You must, of course, also ask your candidate and make sure the stories are the same.  The information you gather from those questions might help you in your determination.


I have a clause in every contract I issue. I also insert it in client generated agreements.  The clause essentially says that I will guaranty my candidates except for loss or downturn in business, management change or change in capital structure. It is a smart clause.  In over twenty five years I have only had to replace two candidates, but another hand full have fallen under the exception.  I hope this helps.

It is hard after the guarantee period has passed to be ask to work for free, but these days good customer service is worth its weight in clients.  Did you remind them about the fee agreement and what was in it. Second be thankful that they are willing to take a candidate as a replacement with my law firms they all do a percentage of the fee back with no replacement free or otherwise.  My guarantee periods at minimum 4 months but more like 6 and I have one firm that is a year.  

I would make sure that the client understands that this type of person does not grow on trees and that you are doing your due diligence to find the right candidate so that this does not happen to them again.

I agree with Sandra.



Theresa Hunter said:

It is hard after the guarantee period has passed to be ask to work for free, but these days good customer service is worth its weight in clients.  Did you remind them about the fee agreement and what was in it. Second be thankful that they are willing to take a candidate as a replacement with my law firms they all do a percentage of the fee back with no replacement free or otherwise.  My guarantee periods at minimum 4 months but more like 6 and I have one firm that is a year.  

I would make sure that the client understands that this type of person does not grow on trees and that you are doing your due diligence to find the right candidate so that this does not happen to them again.

You are brave!  One year would be a tough guarantee to keep up with although I do have to say in the past few years most of the people i have placed still work for my client. 

 

Thanks for all the comments - this was my first blog and I have to say I enjoyed it.  I thought from the beginning that I would replace the candidate for free, but then I had a few moments where I thought maybe they should have some skin in the game too....but I'm hoping as most people have said here that they will think better of me and continue to use me in the future.

The best news for me is that tomorrow I have 3 phone interviews for replacement candidates!  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

 

Thanks again!

 

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