Tapping Placed Candidates – Agency Recruiters What’s Your Policy?

Recently I was reading an article by James Witcombe from SMAART Recruitment around his approach to client and candidate care on the agency side of recruitment. It really struck a chord with me. The article centred on the fact that SMAART don’t represent or place any candidates employed by any of their clients – whether they placed them or not. It’s an interesting take on candidate and client care, particularly for an industry that gets labelled as unethical and under handed a lot. Ah, how the few spoil it for the majority.
While I think that the ethics and heart are the right place (which is fantastic) with this approach – how much do you think having this strategy would impact your agency business? Being client side now, that approach gives me two major outcomes:

  1. You aren’t going to poach any of my staff (good to me), or help any of them get a job elsewhere – even if there are no opportunities for them to grow in my organisation (neutral to me really).
  2. You aren’t going to hunt potential people for roles I have with you from any other client of yours, thus reducing my candidate pool (not so great for me).

When I was in agency, I operated on a no tap policy to placed candidates. I think this is the way to go – if I as a client pay you to place someone, I don’t expect you to pull them out – ever!
[bctt tweet=”Does your recruitment agency have a no tap policy when placing candidates employed by your clients?” username=”ATCevent”]
If a candidate approaches you for an advertised role then that’s a different story. If a candidate approaches you for a career chat then that’s a slightly grey area and you need to tread carefully. I think it’s always important as an agency recruiter when dealing with people you have placed, or candidates who work for your clients, that you act with integrity. It also pays to get them to talk to their manager before you represent them. Transparency is refreshing for all parties.
Many an agency recruiter has been called a cowboy (or girl) and only after the moo-lah (so many cow jokes here!). However, in 2016 those who operate on a “stick and flick” model or act inappropriately seem to run out of clients to piss off very quickly – you’d be surprised how connected the internal recruitment network is.
Agency recruiters – what’s your policy? Love to have you share it.
Image: Shutterstock

This article first appeared on Recruiting in NZ blog on March 7th, 2016. 

10 Responses to “Tapping Placed Candidates – Agency Recruiters What’s Your Policy?”

  1. Great article, I very much agree, as an agency recruiter you should not actively seek to pull your own candidate you have placed to put into a role. As you said different story if they approach you. Part of being a great recruiter is being someones recruiter of choice and help develop a career from Junior right the way through to a Senior player in the game. I think the approach to not engage with placed talent is poor talent care, you want to become their trusted career advisor for many years, not just for one role.

    Reply
  2. Great article, I very much agree, as an agency recruiter you should not actively seek to pull your own candidate you have placed to put into a role. As you said different story if they approach you. Part of being a great recruiter is being someones recruiter of choice and help develop a career from Junior right the way through to a Senior player in the game. I think the approach to not engage with placed talent is poor talent care, you want to become their trusted career advisor for many years, not just for one role.

    Reply
  3. Rachel Kemp

    I agree Liam – regardless of how long it has been, you should never approach to poach a placed candidate from a client.

    Reply
  4. Rachel Kemp

    I agree Liam – regardless of how long it has been, you should never approach to poach a placed candidate from a client.

    Reply
  5. Thanks for the post. When I was working back in agency and I took a similar approach but also committed to only working with two of the big4 professional services firms. It was a point of difference, which my clients appreciated. It did present problems, but the relationship was stronger for it. If done properly, it works.

    Reply
  6. Thanks for the post. When I was working back in agency and I took a similar approach but also committed to only working with two of the big4 professional services firms. It was a point of difference, which my clients appreciated. It did present problems, but the relationship was stronger for it. If done properly, it works.

    Reply
  7. Rachel Kemp

    Thanks for your comment Stan – I’m a firm believer of choosing your clients wisely! I like your strategy of not working with all of the market.

    Reply
  8. Rachel Kemp

    Thanks for your comment Stan – I’m a firm believer of choosing your clients wisely! I like your strategy of not working with all of the market.

    Reply
  9. Graham Gourley

    This has been the hoary old goat of recruitment since like forever!
    In my opinion, it all comes down to maturity – yours, your client’s and your candidate’s.
    As said earlier, it starts with very carefully choosing the clients you want to work with. You must be on the same wavelength. You have to be able to build a long—term partnership based on trust, credibility and reliance. You have to be seen as part of their team – the part that brings market intelligence and objectivity.
    Your client relationships are your primary ones because you enter into a commercial arrangement with them. Bluntly, they pay your bills! Therefore your candidate relationships become secondary. However, since you have actively approached them; if you’re a head-hunter like me; the relationship you develop with them is initially based on trust and opportunity. The search recruitment process can often be long and protracted so the relationship you develop with candidates can be professionally quite intimate. So much so that friendships can easily form and you can become their career strategist in the longer term. And – candidates become clients!
    In over 20 years of working as a search consultant, in both Australia and the UK, I can say that I have developed close personal friendships with both clients and candidates alike.
    In all that time I have never actively approached a candidate I recruited for a client, but plenty approached me.
    And – clients become candidates. Logically, the first person they call when they want career advice or for exploring opportunities is you!
    Like I said, maturity is the key and common sense prevails.

    Reply
  10. Graham Gourley

    This has been the hoary old goat of recruitment since like forever!
    In my opinion, it all comes down to maturity – yours, your client’s and your candidate’s.
    As said earlier, it starts with very carefully choosing the clients you want to work with. You must be on the same wavelength. You have to be able to build a long—term partnership based on trust, credibility and reliance. You have to be seen as part of their team – the part that brings market intelligence and objectivity.
    Your client relationships are your primary ones because you enter into a commercial arrangement with them. Bluntly, they pay your bills! Therefore your candidate relationships become secondary. However, since you have actively approached them; if you’re a head-hunter like me; the relationship you develop with them is initially based on trust and opportunity. The search recruitment process can often be long and protracted so the relationship you develop with candidates can be professionally quite intimate. So much so that friendships can easily form and you can become their career strategist in the longer term. And – candidates become clients!
    In over 20 years of working as a search consultant, in both Australia and the UK, I can say that I have developed close personal friendships with both clients and candidates alike.
    In all that time I have never actively approached a candidate I recruited for a client, but plenty approached me.
    And – clients become candidates. Logically, the first person they call when they want career advice or for exploring opportunities is you!
    Like I said, maturity is the key and common sense prevails.

    Reply

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