Recruiters Beware - Are exclusive agreements really exclusive?

Oh the wonderful land of agreements between clients and recruiters...I am not sure the yellow brick road is paved in gold on this journey. To respect the identity of those involved no names will be used, but this story I am sure is more common then we recruiters like. The “fingers crossed behind the back” handshake on exclusive recruitment contracts – oh joy of joy!

Picture have just spoken with a corporate client who assures you they are giving you exclusive access to a number of their openings. That’s right, you and you alone get to recruit to these positions. Perfect, time to rock and roll. You reach out to your networks and 3rd party recruiters, rev your engine and the rubber starts hitting the road. Yes! You keep going about your business, new clients here, new placements there. Word on the street about a week later, the exclusive positions that you have a 3rd party recruiter working on, well they have contacts they can bounce these positions off to and get them mass marketed in the specific professional field that is being targeted. Sweet! Even better, you get notice that the word has gone out across the community and interest in all ready rolling in – ride the wave baby!

Then you hit the wall.

Your 3rd party recruiter gets a call from head office of the corporate client you have the agreement with... the message goes something like, “Don’t know who you are, or if your postings are ours, but who heck authorized this?” *Shock* Here comes the best part, looks like their local HR department decided they should look at positing the same positions, but your 3rd party recruiter beat them to the punch due to their connections/networks. So HR isn’t looking so good, and well they aren’t happy about it. And it gets better! Through the private yet not so private grapevine, word reaches you that this “exclusive” agreement to recruit to these positions, yes well it’s exclusive across endless recruiters and agencies – even international. SMACK! Ouch, that hurt.

So here’s my question, now what?

Views: 1326

Comment by Rebecca B. Sargeant on September 30, 2010 at 9:23pm
Oh man ~ nothing like clients like that!
Comment by pam claughton on October 1, 2010 at 7:18am
Get a better client, or better yet, do the work yourself instead of outsourcing to another third-party recruiter. Do a great job and earn a real exclusive, and keep it exclusive by delivering.
Comment by Lisa Switzer on October 1, 2010 at 10:37am
Rebecca - absolutely!

Pam - agreed knowing your client is key! In defence of my colleague they manage numerous exclusive contracts and are well respected for their expertise. They approached the opportunity by taking advantage of their 3rd party partner who is well connected in the area and field these positions were targetting. The main error in this situation was not having a good read on or deep enough relationship this client, and thus assume they could be trusted and that they were being fully honest. If the suggestion is that the exclusive agreement means excluding tapping into your resources to deliver i.e. 3rd party recruiters...then the client should have net out that out when the term "exclusive" was discussed. My understanding, it wasn't.


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