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 was what i wondered.  If you would cut them loose rather than stand in the way of another opportunity.


I shudder everytime a candidate says, "I just want to work with you, i am not going to any other recruiters."  As a generalist i may have a spot as an SVP of Marketing right now that i am talking with them about but i might not have another marketing spot for six months so I immediately tell them that they would do themselve a disservice by not contacting as many recruiters as they can find who have jobs in marketing on that level.


If i get a CPA with public accounting background ready to make a move i ask them to give me a few days to cover the market because i have a lot of contacts in that verticle.  So for me it depends on what they do.  A difficult to place candidate i do not want calling me twice a day to see if i have anything for them or dropping by my office to flop down and discuss more about what they do and how well they do it.  It doesn't take long to build up a stable of candidates who are like a nest of baby birds chirping for a worm.


I can see how it would be a good thing for a niche recruiter but for a generalist it's suicide by candidate.

I wish my candidates would call me more often - I really like them. :) But I'm very much a people person.  I deal with very professional people for the most part who wouldn't call me twice a day.  I've been a niche recruiter, a generalist and I've worked in corporations, large consulting firms and agencies.  I would still do it this way wherever I land because it establishes trust on both ends.

Sean - Nancy's example from my understanding is that she is placing independent contractors.  Nancy - can you clarify?  I also place contractors - have done so for quite a while.  Many of them move from one project to the next with my company.  ( Side note:  I love contracting!)


This would not be an example of what I thought we were discussing. 

I might have a little different take on all this if i had not had one of those days yesterday where there was a steady parade of people in my office from the time i walked in until 6:00.  Phones ringing, email binging in, phone interviews being 10 minutes late, candidates checking in and three people visiting with each other in the reception area waiting to "visit with me for just a minute".  Sent my whole day into the ditch.  I have not yet been able to figure out a way to get anyone on any professional level to keep that "visit" to that "minute".  It's not that i don't like them but it was one of those days that i was very envious of people who work from home.


"Mother McCartt" was a little beaten up by the baby birds yesterday and didn't get much done that should have been done in terms of research and cold recruiting that takes some planning and is best not done with lurking candidates who can overhear parts of conversations.  My private office has glass half way up and no door so privacy is not what it should be.  I locked the outside office door at 6:00 turned out the lights and hid in my office to make some calls while one was still trying to get in.  Please God send them another recruiter to visit with so i can place somebody.

Jerry - it's both.  Although, it's not as difficult to get an exclusive commitment from someone looking for an 'employee' role that potentially lasts longer (although that line in the sand is becoming fuzzier as time goes on). 

I think the key is branding. If you have a good enough reputation as a recruiter (and as a company) as a trusted advisor and leader and you have established relationships with your clients, you will in turn have little problems finding great followers who won't need much convincing.


Sandra - too funny!! LOL!  Sounds like you have a few stalkers!!!

Would you be asking this of each candidate?

It depends on the candidate.

But yes, every candidate that I work with - this is our model.

Oops.  Sorry Nancy!  The "are you asking this of each candidate?" question was meant to be directed back to Sean and the others. 


I'm wondering if this exclusivity agreement would be reached with each candidate in this type of business model?

Nancy McGarry said:

It depends on the candidate.

But yes, every candidate that I work with - this is our model.

Hi Jerry...


I did mention previously that this type of model won't work for all recruiters and all candidates - especially those who deal with high volume, such as contractors or temporary staff. If you are placing dozens of new candidates each week, it would soon become a nightmare to try and keep on top of every single one - let alone being able to continually rotate those candidates so that every single one you've worked with can be placed by you and you alone. Is it impossible? No. Not if you work with a network of like minded recruiters, who also place in similar markets, and can help you find work for these candidates when needed.


The main point is that candidates have someone they can go to for advice when needed. They might not be looking to move right now, but who can they talk to about the market? And when the time comes for them to start looking actively, who can they trust to represent their best interests, someone who knows them inside out and will present them to clients in a better way than any other recruiter?


Why do sports professionals and celebs use agents? It's not just because of the money involved - it's because they need someone they can trust to look after their careers. Because this practice of representing candidates exclusively has become standard in those two industries, companies appreciate that they can only see the people they want in their business / team / film by going through the appropriate agent. If that happened in our industry - we wouldn't need to worry about RPO's, HR, In house recruiters and so on .... because none of the companies would get to see the candidates they want the most without going through one of us! And how do you ensure that they know your candidates are high calibre - you help your candidates to make a good name for themselves in their industry: - make sure their competitors know who they are, and how much value they are adding to their current organisation. There's a lot we can learn from the like of Jerry Maguire!


I've always hoped that my candidates view me equally as important as their accountant, lawyer, or doctor even. Those are people that they basically trust their lives to - but isn't their career one of the most important things in their life as well? If their career isn't managed in the right way, will they ever realise their true potential in the markets they operate through? A bad career move can affect a candidate in such a dramatic way - and would the recruiter who placed them really care? Most of them wouldn't, as long as they stayed past that darn rebate period! I'm different - and I'm confident enough in my perm placements to offer a 12 month rebate period! I know that the candidates I'm placing trust in my judgement, and appreciate that I won't force them to take a role that isn't perfect for them in every way. It's got to be a win win for everyone - the client, the candidate, and the agent.


I really didn't think I was pioneering a new "business model" by the way Jerry - it's something we've always done and was aware that others like Nancy also did. We are pioneering many other new ways of recruiting through our group, because our group is entirely different to any other recruitment business in operation today. I will always share methods that are working well for us, it’s in our interests to – as our primary goal is to support our industry, raise standards, and increase recognition amongst clients + candidates for all of our combined efforts. It’s not just about us, it’s about supporting the industry we know and love, to ensure that it continues to grow and stays around for many years to come.

Keep up the good work everyone, Carpe Diem!

Ring Ring.

Recruiter: I can help you because your skillset is exactly what I am looking for and what sets me apart from all other recruiters is that i only work with candidates that make an equal commitment to me in terms of their willingness to allow me to represent them in the marketplace on an exclusive basis. It's a much better way to work with a recruiter.

Candidate: You mean you will take a very interested roll in helping me find the right opportunity and all I need to do is agree to allow you to be the only recruiter out there who can represent me to new opportunities?

Recruiter: Exactly

Candidate: OK. I agree.


3 weeks later.

Ring Ring

Recruiter: is this John? you don't sound like John.

Different Candidate: That's because I am not John, John resigned yesterday. Some recruiter called and presented an amazing opportunity for him and though John told me he thought the recruiter was a real aggressive ass, the position presented was perfect so he quit real fast and he starts on Monday. He did tell me about you though. he said you were a real nice and caring recruiter. I got to go. By.


haha! Good point slouch - there's a lot of asses in the world. 

Sean - your views come as a breath of fresh air.  Too often I have been compared to a 'pimp' or a 'headhunter' and I've had clients tell me what slimeballs their former recruiters are.  Recruiters don't have the best reputation. And as we well know, many candidates will one day be a potential client!!!  As you mention, this model won't work for everyone.  There's a lot of slimy out there.  Slimy lawyers, slimy agents, slimy recruiters. Those with integrity, those without. This doesn't mean you're slimy if you don't use the model, but don't knock it either!

By the way, Jerry McGuire is one of my all time favourite movies - in my experience, the well meaning, trusting yet skilled and intelligent people always win in the end.  I believe in Karma.

Remember - your reputation will follow you.

Ahhhh.... Jason...


Good take on what we're talking about here. I won't disagree with you, that scenario can easily happen.  But only if you treat your candidates just like the majority of all other recruiters do, hence why you don’t must believe this wont work!


My candidates would all tell me if another headhunter called them with an opportunity that sounded interesting. Why? Because they don't know this other headhunter from Adam... and this headhunter doesn't care about the candidate like I do, they just want to make a quick buck. Does the headhunter know what the candidate is looking for in their career, what really matters to them, and why they are extremely happy in their current role? Of course not – most headhunters are calling candidates up blind, and my candidates know that. Would the candidate rather have some stranger present them to a new company, or me? They'd go with me every time... well, my candidates would anyway. And what if that candidate allowed the headhunter to put them forward to the role, but then they failed to get the job... and in the process their current employer managed to find out they were looking elsewhere. How bad would that be? My candidates know this also.


Will a candidate really leave a role after less than a year if they were handled correctly... not likely. Sure, it does happen, but if you know you’ve made the perfect match between client and candidate, then it’s a rare occurrence. Never happened to me in all my years of recruiting, not even once. And if they do decide to leave after a year or two – they will come to me first, or tell me that a headhunter has called them and they’d like me to look into the opportunity first for them. Like I said – if I can’t get a candidate into a company which they are really interested in working for, I’ll find someone who can. And if that fails, I’ll personally recommend the candidate to approach the company directly, and I’ll still coach them through the process. Why? Because they then become my contact on the inside of a new company that I’ve not been able to work with. Is that hard to understand?


I’m not going to attempt to tell you all how to recruit – I can only explain what works for me, and the recruiters that work with me. It’s just from my viewpoint... but you all may learn a thing or two – or you may simply ignore me because you feel you know better. That’s great... you go for it!

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