3 mistakes clients make when using contingency recruitment

  • Post published:21/10/2015
  • Reading time:5 mins read

If you are open to an argument about why it’s better to partner just one recruitment agency at a time, and not three or four, this article is for you and a must-read!

There are three good reasons why hiring companies multi-list their job orders and expect recruitment agencies to fight it out over the very same job vacancy. If the hiring managers just knew, this madness would end sooner rather than later. Here is why.

Mistake 1: 4704_pen_pencil_cup_color

Do you believe you are increasing your chances of filling the position by 300 to 400 percent if you engage and work with several recruiters at the same time? You may think that the three to four recruiters have different databases with their own unique candidates, and the recruitment agencies each press a magic button to unveil never-ever-to-be-seen candidates. The truth of the matter?

Sorry, but let me tell you what really happens behind the recruiter scenes, in secret, away from public view. Recruitment agencies know of about four suitable candidates off the top of their head. They do a quick search in their databases where they may find another three people. They make seven phone calls. Three of them have already taken other jobs. Two are not interested in moving to your company or location. One or two are just not qualified. So at the end of it, they might get one or two candidates – or maybe none at all.

The other recruiters have the same kind of list. They go through the 10 people in their head and through their proprietary computer databases. Here is the catch and a dirty little secret. Most of these candidates are all on the respective lists, simply because people typically register their resume with more than one recruitment company and on Internet job boards like JobsDB and the like.

Hiring companies who multi-list their job vacancies with several recruitment agencies are shooting themselves in the foot, really hard. Dumb and dumber comes to mind.

Mistake 2:

3303_audit_files_colourThe root cause is that clients only pay a fee contingent on hiring a candidate who was presented by the recruitment agency (hence the term contingency recruiters). Recruiters of course know that client companies often multi-list their job openings. Because all clients have to do is sign a document confirming that they will pay a fee if they hire. Consequently there is neither commitment nor risk for such clients.

When poverty comes in at the door, love flies out of the window. An old proverb that conveniently explains why a recruitment consultant gives up easily on your job, in cases where a quick database and Internet search shows up no relevant candidates. As contingency recruitment companies will only receive an income, and the recruitment consultant a commission, when their candidate is hired, it now becomes a matter of speed and not which recruiter can do the best quality job for you.

A recruitment agency consultant may easily work on 20 jobs at the same time. To beat the agency next door, it’s all about getting that resume under the client’s door before anyone else. This forces the consultant to be a lot less worried about what exactly defines the client’s perfect candidate.money_stack

Are you thinking the same as me? It’s like throwing spaghetti on the wall; meaning a trial and error method – try whatever to see what works. But the recruitment consultant must move quickly to the next, hopefully easier, job to stand any chance of meeting targets and receiving a commission.

The irony of this mad circus is unfortunately not favouring hiring managers and their companies. Rather than getting full commitment when they get recruitment agencies to compete, they really get a lot less attention and service.

Mistake 3:

My apologies for repeating myself. If you are still reading, you are likely seeing already why multi-listing to contingency recruiters is not a client’s best option.11286_5347_29 first aid box_low

Anyone working in the recruitment profession should call a spade a spade. They ought to explicitly explain to the client why asking several recruitment agencies to compete on the same job is harmful to their best interest. But guess what, few contingency recruiters have the courage to stand up for what they believe in. Remember, they only get paid by their client if a candidate is successfully hired.

The nature of a contingency business is all about keeping the dreams afloat. It’s hoping for the miracle that a wonderful perfect candidate pops up, just at the right time. A quick effort, easy money and time to take the next telephone call.

In summary:

Dear clients, with due respect: By all means, let recruitment agencies and search firms compete for your business. We don’t have a problem with that. But don’t let us compete on the same job vacancy; at the end of the day, you are doing yourself and your company a grave disfavour.

PS You are welcome to leave a comment – just below!9545_Sunrise - LowRes

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.