Recently we've been having discussions about what we're all doing for our clients, and yada yada yada... But there is still one thing that everyone seems to forget, and is a topic which is greatly overlooked by far too many in the recruitment industry...



Don't you think they are all having a hard enough time right now -with so many avenues for them to look at when trying to find a new job; who can they truly turn to for help? Who can they trust to be on their side when it matters?


We can all go on about how well we treat our clients, and what we can offer them - but I will say on the record that good candidates are your biggest asset if treated correctly. The war for talent has always been going on - and as many on here are saying... clients do not care where they get candidates from, as long as they can find the right ones. Agency loyalty is fading fast, amidst the pressure that bottom line costs are placing on the ability for hiring managers to make carefully planned decisions. We have job boards, RPO's, in-house teams, Managed Service Providers, recruitment market places and not forgetting our new best friend in disguise - Social Media... all competing with us to try and entice companies to use their services as opposed to engaging directly with us, the recruiters.


So... the client is getting confused about whether or not they really still need to engage directly with a recruiter, or use one of the other services mentioned above. What about candidates though?! Who's looking after them - being their guide, coach, mentor through the recruitment process?? They aren't just a CV, a profile, a name, a number - they all would love to have someone that they could trust to look after their careers for them.

And who can do that better than anyone else? US OF COURSE! If you as a recruiter can develop strong, loyal relationships with your best candidates, don't you think you'll be able to represent them exclusively - sort of like a sports agent model? We don't need to charge candidates to do this... and if we are the ones holding the exclusive relationships with the best talent (because we offer them a whole lot more than the services mentioned above ever can!)... then we hold all the Aces. Sure, you can't develop these relationships immediately with anyone who's desperately looking to move right now, but you can certainly do it with all of your passive candidates… which the majority of us prefer to work with anyway.

"Mr client, I appreciate that you have an in-house recruitment team, an offsite RPO team,  a social talent acquisition management expert  (yeah, I made that one up!), your own social media company engagement job portal, and all the other stuff you are doing…. but... we exclusively represent the top 10 best FD's in your sector and region, as their career agents. They trust us to handle their careers for them just like a sports agent would look after a football player, leaving them to focus on continuing to deliver the best results to their current employers. You won't get to see them without going through us – no matter what you do. Here's their resumes (can disclose full info as we can contract with the candidate not to go outside us), here's my details, here's our rates, feel free to give me a call when your own activities fail to deliver anyone who can match the caliber of our candidates. Best of luck!"


How do you like those apples all you agency haters?!


Now my advice is lets get out there and show the candidates exactly why they should partner with us as their career agents. Sure, we can partner as well with the smaller clients, the ones who still value our services greatly... but forget trying to partner with the big companies right now - they just aren't interested. And that fact is even more certain if they have a .... wait for it.... HR Team involved! Before the HR players shoot me down again... you know you don't partner with agencies, you just use us as a necessary evil. If the overall climate changes - and boy will it if we all start representing the best candidates exclusively - then I'll gladly look at partnering with HR if they are willing to work WITH us, and not dictate to us how we should work FOR them.


Anyway... Candidates are literally crying out for some added support to help them find their way in the dark. There are a lot of companies setting up right now in order to coach or mentor candidates - especially senior level ones; on how to find a new job or get back into work after being made redundant. They will charge a hefty fee for this too - but isn't that the type of service we should be offering to our candidates anyway, and for free?! Heck, if I'm going to place them at some point, and can get them to work with me exclusively - I'll pay them!


Think about what you are doing for candidates right now :- are you truly adding value to them? Do you treat them as individuals, and not just a CV? Do you coach them and guide them, even if you know you don't have the perfect job for them right now? Do you care about the impact a new job will have on their family, and what it could do to their family if they end up taking the wrong job? Do you truly care about getting them the best salary possible, or will you pressure them to take a job at a lower salary simply so you can close the deal and get paid? Would you still offer advice to them even if they were placed this time by another agency? Why would a candidate want to work exclusively with you - can they trust you to look after them?


Answers can be sent via pen and paper to my office postal address...


Too much effort ???


Ok, how about we just all meet up for a few beers and chat about the joys of our work...


Not enough time because you're too busy actually working or playing on social media, and somehow need to fit in time to spend with your family as well ???


OK, how about we just have a conference call...




You're telling me you still don't have enough time for that either ??? 


Ok, if that's all just too inconvenient for you all.... I guess you can always post a message on here then....


Damn social media, you're my friend, but also my enemy as well at times... just like my other cunning friends in disguise - McDonalds, Dominos, Pepsi, and not forgetting... Mr Jack Daniels! :-)


Submitted by Sean O'Donoghue

"Lead Talent Social Aquisitional Head Hunting Specialist"

aka: A Recruiter



Views: 1017

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That's right - but you can work around all of that, and still maintain the long term relationship with your candidate.


Ultimately, if the candidate you placed wants to leave 2 or 3 years down the road - what are you going to do? Let them go through another recruiter because your loyalty is to their boss, and not to them? Can their boss really blame you for helping out one of their staff members - especially if they were going to leave anyway? If you know you act ethically, and can prove that - where's the problem?


Like I said - it won't work for everyone - we don't all recruit in the same markets... but it can and does work for me - which is why I'm sharing it!


Dead On!!  I have been taking that approach since 2004 when I first met a High School Senior (captain of the football team and student body president).  I mentored him and grew our relationship for over 9 months before I recruited him into the Army.  Along with him came 4 others and the next year 8 others.  I spent less of my time making cold calls and more of my time building real relationships that continue to this day.


The moral to my story was just that when I adopted a candidate centric paradigm, my recruitment efforts (while slow and painfully annoying at first) paid off with annualized compounded divedends.  Then when leaving the Army to working in the private sector, history repeated itself.  Everyone said, pound the phones, build a huge catalog of resumes, and you will be successful.  Yeah, not so much for me.  I went back to the default program and considered one candidate at a time.  Almost two years later, my efforts are being repaid.  Take care of people and they will take care of you without a thought.  


No, I don't make more than 3 placements a month but I also do not have to spend 12 hours a day beating the phones up, paying for job boards, and expending supernatural efforts based upon extraordinary (and, yes, sometimes unrealistic) requirements. 


I love dealing with a few candidates at a time, perhaps because my memory isn't quite as good as it used to be, or because I personally enjoy meaningful interaction that frequently leads to a mutually successful outcome.


Not every one can do as we do.  I have an excellent work life balance.  My epitaph will not say "If he just would have made more phone calls" it will say "good friend, wonderful husband, and world class dad".


So if anyone cares to have my kind of success.  Take care of your candidates from day one, they are the most valuable resource.  IMHO....  Less, is more often than not, more!


Have a great recruiting day.

I do not want to be exclusive job search agent either, but asked them to update me just like I will update them...on what they are doing..Some candidate may never be able to get a job and I do not have time to talk to them ever day

My apology for being so unprofessional.


I place IT reps and SE's for full time positions.

Since I'm only dealing with a small handful of the potential employers asking candidates to work exclusively with me would be a disservice to a candidate.


Now the idea of asking them for a 2 week exclusive is an interesting idea.

Ultimately, if the candidate you placed wants to leave 2 or 3 years down the road - what are you going to do? Let them go through another recruiter because your loyalty is to their boss, and not to them? Can their boss really blame you for helping out one of their staff members - especially if they were going to leave anyway? If you know you act ethically, and can prove that - where's the problem?


If your client doesn't agree and you lose your them.

I agree with Sean.  And I have a proven case in point.

At our company, we ask for exlusivity from our candidates (independents) so that we can market them to our clients.  It works and it's worked for 25+ years.  Our consultants are seasoned and high performing.  They go to our A clients as we provide them with exceptional roles.  We have had consultants with us for 17 years.  We have developed long term relationships with them to market them to the roles they prefer.  We keep them as busy as they want to be and they enjoy a work-life balance with an abundance of choice when it comes to roles. 


It definitely works!  It's providing candidates a safe haven from being marketed all over town by every agency in town. 


Nancy - Great example, I love it - well done for going against the grain! This is nothing new to be honest, but it's something that isn't being practiced a great deal by the majority of agencies. Just look at what your priorities are - and when the war for talent heats up even more - you know you've got some of the best candidates on your side... you can't fail!


Morgan - that's right, if you take them on an exclusive contract, you have to deliver - but then isn't that showing commitment from both sides? Your committed to each other... and who would you rather be representing, a candidate who trusts in you and is 100% loyal - or a candidate that could be registered with 10 other agencies, plays their cards close to their chest, and doesn't care who places them at the end of the day because they just want another job???? Candidates don't know that there are agencies out there that operate like ourselves and Nancy's ... it's up to us to educate them more, and we certainly will be! If they know that this type of practice is out there, and can see the benefits... then more of them will be willing to form exclusive partnerships with the right recruiters.

What happens if you have a candidate sign an exclusive agreement with you for even two weeks.  They find out about another job or another recruiter calls them about a job that sounds wonderful to them.  You can't get the listing.  You can't even get the other recruiter to do a split with you.  Are you going to tell the candidate that you can't get it, they can't apply for it  or go through the other recruiter because of the agreement they signed with you?


I can see the benefit to the recruiter (you) but not to the candidate in this kind of situation.  If you have 5 places to send them that would great but as a what if, what if the one you don't have is the end all to be all job with a company they have always wanted to work with, you have to tell them "nope" you can't apply there you have an exclusive with us.  Seems like to me the candidate would hate you like you had plague over something like that.

Good point Sandra,  that has happened a dozen or so times to me.  They either networked their own opportunity or a Google finally calls them back.  In that case, I ask for a day or two try to establish contact with the potential employer/client.  I attempt to market them and if all else fails.  Live by the sword, die by the sword.  I wish them the best and ask for a talent
At our company, we don't require the candidate to 'sign' an exclusive agreement.  It's a verbal agreement with a long term relationship and trust factor.  If they find something else on their own (which has happened) without us, we encourage them to take it.  Interestingly enough, once we establish a relationship built with trust with our consultants, they rarely leave us.

Pretty radical concept Sean and I think you are on to something that might gain some traction, if done the right way.  

I specialize in a niche Industry and about 80% of my deals were with hiring managers who were not actively seeking to fill an open job.  We basically market the skilled candidate to the hiring manager-not for a job but for a meeting.  The hope is that the candidate will sell the manager on what he can do for the manager/company.  This works best if the recruiter has a known presence in the Industry and the candidates he represent can deliver immediate value (revenue generation) that will justify their salary and my fee.  

When the larger firms started to cut back on paying headhunter fees, forbidding us to directly contact their hiring managers and only recruit on jobs that were approved, that model disappeared.  However, the need still existed on the candidate side-these candidates expected to be wooed, wined & dined and they wanted someone who they know and trusted to do the leg work and negotiation for them.  

So the only way this concept can work with all the HR red tape involved, is if the candidate pays a fee-up front.  

If the recruiter is any good, he will directly contact the hiring manager to get a referral down to HR to get the interview process started.  HR will not object because they won't have to pay a headhunter fee.  It the candidate is any good, he will not only get an offer, but get a huge increase in pay to off-set the fee that he has to pay the headhunter.  

This concept produces a win-win-win-win for hiring manager, candidate, headhunter and even HR.

Everything Nancy said!

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