A question for corporate recruiters and hiring managers...if a contingent hire goes wrong, which of these is likely to be at fault:

1) The hiring and selection process?

2) The onboarding and integration process?

3) The recruiter who introduced the candidate?

Hands up who answered 3?

I ask this because I was told of a situation recently in which a client decided after 4 weeks that a candidate that had been hired was a bad fit and would have to be released. They asked the recruiter not just for a 100% fee refund but to cover the 4 weeks wages that they had paid too...their justification was ‘well you selected her to which the recruiter had replied ‘no, I presented her...you selected her

At what point, I wonder, does the 3rd part contingency recruiter cease to be responsible for the success of their introduction?

We present candidates who we believe are as close a match as possible to what the client has briefed us to find, yet after this presentation the clients’ processes, over which we have no control and very little input, take over...interview process, selection criteria, offer, pre-joining communication, induction and onboarding, integration...that’s a whole lot of actions where something can go wrong that may influence the new employees ability to fit straight into the role and culture.

And what happens if an employee thinks that the company has misrepresented itself, its culture, its talent development agenda, the scope of the role offered? All these are often cited as reasons that people fail to settle and become disenfranchised early in their employment.

Most recruiters offer a refund/rebate facility and yet many employers feel the need to negotiate these more favourably. Why? This leads to the recruiting process starting from a position of negativity, of risk minimisation, as if you are almost expecting the hire to be unsuccessful. I did have a client once who laid down their terms for a rebate...100% for a 2 month period if the candidate proved to be unsuitable, but if it was the candidate who left, for any reason, then the company expected no rebate as they felt it was their responsibility to represent their business and culture, and the role and expectations, and the recruiter could not influence this.

I’ve rarely found another client willing to share the responsibility, which will, in effect, recognise that the hiring company has a large role to play in whether or not their new member of staff succeeds. Too often when an employee leaves within the first few months it is the recruiter who made the introduction who is held to account, but is this just an easy option? Would the hiring process be any different if the recruiter offered no rebate/refund?

Maybe it’s hard to say ‘How come we couldn’t keep this person, we went through a long interview process, bought them in and got the approval of the team, went through our usual induction programme...where did we go wrong?’ and easier to say ‘where did we get that guy from? Find out what the rebate is and tell them if we get another dud candidate from them then they’re not a supplier anymore’.

I know I can’t speak for all recruiters. I know that there are too many who abdicate their responsibilities of careful matching and selection, of getting to really know their clients and being able to add value to the hiring process, who don’t properly reference and check...yet there are many who do all of these things, and present strong candidates in good faith that their clients have robust hiring and induction processes in place to maximise the success of their new hires.

So I return to my original question of who or what is at fault if your new hire is unsuccessful. How many companies have an inquest when this happens? Supposing it is a direct hire or a referral, what would usually be the reason? And why is this different if the employee was introduced through a 3rd party recruiter?

Do you feel that there are times when we’re justified in saying...

...Don’t Shoot, I’m only the Recruiter

Views: 222

Comment by Fran Hogan on March 18, 2010 at 7:20am
Ah Mervyn, Thank you so much for posting this...a sore point with me. A 3rd Party Recruiter’s job is to source, qualify and introduce the candidate. Essentially, this should mean once that process is done, we have done our job. I mean that only in reference to the success or failure of the hire. The client hires....I don't. I take all the risk in the process leading up to the hire as a contingency recruiter.

We have no control over conditions once the candidate is hired. In fact, they are no longer our candidate but the client's employee. Actually I have always believed that once our job is done (a hire is made) we shouldn't have to guarantee anything but that would never fly. We end up guaranteeing the client’s ability to successfully train and integrate the employee and a myriad of other things required to ensure success.

I make sure I know everything possible about my client’s culture, standards, requirements and business. When I make the introduction I make sure I know everything possible about the candidate’s background, ambitions, abilities, accomplishments and personality fit.

If you hire based on that introduction….the candidate is yours now. Thinking otherwise is like blaming your friend for introducing you to your ex-spouse when the marriage didn’t work out. Pfffft I say!
Comment by Paul Alfred on March 18, 2010 at 1:30pm
I have to 100% agree with you Fran ... The Client in the end (should) knows best who will be the best fit for their culture and or Enterprise Environment ....
Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 18, 2010 at 3:54pm
I agree that we should be able to turn it loose once the deal is done but....let's face it. Interviewing and hiring is like having one maybe two blind dates and getting married. It is amazing to me that as many placements hold as do since both companies and people put their best foot forward during the interview process. References and assessment etc. etc. can not predict how people will interact in a new situation. We don't even buy a car that fast. It's an amazing process that it works at all.
Comment by Dan Nuroo on March 18, 2010 at 10:16pm
Corporate Recruiters get shot too... in my experience anyways. If using a 3rd party and they have the guarantee in place, you'd be silly not to envoke it. (and the blame needs to be shared, as the agency only made the introduction, but you charge the fee, you have to take some responsibility and share the risk!)

However, from an inhouse Recruiter, it is ALWAYS your fault when a new hire doesn't work out. No matter how it happens, there will always be someone higher up in the food chain who will read a cv and toss it down saying "on the nasis of this I wouldn't have hired anyway. This was always going to end in tears". Thank you Captain Hinesight.

The bottom line is this, people are people, you can't get every single hiring decision right, you'd like to but it is unrealistic. (back to Art v Science question) If there is a blaring issue, step in the process missed etc, thrash that out in the review. but other wise, suck it up and move onto the next one. Playing the blame game gets you nowhere....
Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 18, 2010 at 11:39pm
The other bottom line is that people are people. If they were refrigerators we would know what they do , should do and could warranty them for years.
Comment by Darryl Dioso on March 19, 2010 at 11:28am
One of my biggest beefs for sure. We recruited a sales rep for a tech company recently and the company let go of the person because "she was not meeting expectations". After debriefing our candidate, I find out that she was given no onboarding whatsoever - no product training, no sales system, no CRM, no management even - the sales manager was around only 1 day a week!....Yeah, they blamed us. Hmmm, this is kind of like blaming your Pastor for a failed marriage.
Comment by Peter Ceccarelli on March 19, 2010 at 12:42pm
This doesn't happen all that often. A higher percentage of hires usually stick. So why beat the bush and play the blame game when a few go wrong. It's typically due to poor selection by the hiring manager and interview team. It's also due to no performance plan in place when they start so there are milestones to meet and be measured by in the first 90 days. It's poor on-boarding and NO training on the job. It's all those things. I never take it personally when a new hire does not evolve beyond the first 90 days, no have I as the recruiter ever been blamed. It's everyone's fault to a certain extent. We all share the gain, so why not the blame. But again, it does not happen that often. I've had it happen once in the past 4 years. So we must be doing something right during the interview process. It takes real courage to pay attention to the one teeny-tiny red flag that pops out during the interivew process, and usually amongst all the other "glowing" interview feedback to sit back and say......"Hmm........there might be something rotten here and we should address it!". But most of us don't. And when we don't........we end up with a bad hire for a variety of reasons when we should have just continued the interview process with addtional candidates.
Comment by David Perry on March 19, 2010 at 4:40pm
Contingency driven employers should bear ALL the responsibility for a bad hire! IN 22 years in this business I've had to replace exactly 3 candidates --- and all 3 times they were contingent hires. I think that first and foremost good recruiters are deal makers and when you're doing a contingent search the drivers are complete the project and get paid. You have to assume the client has at least a modicum of interest in ensuring they actually hire the correct person.
Comment by Robin Stanton on March 19, 2010 at 7:38pm
The blame game is counter-productive. When a hire terms voluntarily or involuntarily during the first 60-90 days it is as an opportunity to review the candidates background, our hiring and onboarding processes, the training, etc to look for ways to to improve.
Comment by Paul Alfred on March 20, 2010 at 8:30am
@Robin... Its not that its counter-productive there are quite a few companies out there that really have a break down between there Key Hiring sponsors and Internal HR mgmt as to what key factors determine a great hire outside of skills sets ... If this is not determined early on you could have hiring requisitions open for months. Sometimes the fault sits right with the hiring manager for any number of reasons : Ego, Salary range not in line with market, word on the street if its a niche shop ... If that's not fixed forget about finding a qualified candidate. That super question how long has this role been open and why needs to be asked and answered.


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