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The recruitment soapbox - candidate double-ups

By James Bessant, 20th May 2014

If you’re no stranger to the world of recruitment then at some point, you can guarantee you’ve been on the wrong side of a candidate double-up with another recruiter. 

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What's the initial feeling you have when this happens? I imagine most people are thinking ‘annoyed’, ‘frustrated’, ‘gutted’ or something to that extent. The overriding thought which goes through my mind is ‘disappointment’.

As an industry, we need to be pushing harder to improve the processes which we undertake to aim to minimize these situations occurring. The key question to ask in this tri-party scenario is ‘who’s to blame’?

The candidate

Most candidates take the ‘more is better’ approach to their job search. If you’ve been out of work for a period of time, you can appreciate the need and desire to get back into a job. Given the economic downturn we’ve suffered, it’s no surprise that our client base fed back to us they’d received a dramatic uplift in candidate double-ups.

I personally feel that in most instances, the candidate can be absolved from responsibility. It’s common practice for recruiters to withhold company names which then makes it a guessing game for a candidate when they are approached by another recruiter.

Candidates do need to be inquisitive and honest when liaising with a recruiter. No client is going to appreciate receiving the same CV on multiple occasions. I visited a client in the past two weeks and she commonly has Scandinavian sales hiring needs. She stressed that every time a role comes up, it’s guaranteed she’ll receive the same candidate who’s been available on-and-off for the past 24 months. That person is effectively black marked from that business for simply just not saying that they’ve already been submitted on multiple occasions.

The client

One of the first areas I talk through with a new client is their introduction policy; how do they manage the candidate submission process and what constitutes an introduction by a recruiter?

A ‘first CV submission’ approach should be a red flag in most instances. A recruiter’s position at this stage should be to talk through what issues the client has suffered from with candidate duplications in the past. If there’s any indication that it’s been a problem, we should be pushing to explain the reasons why.

Our industry needs to work to educate our clients on why a first CV submission policy often leads to rushed processes, cut corners and inevitably frustration at all ends when the same CV gets received. Over the years, I’ve heard numerous horror stories of candidates not being spoken to but having applied for jobs and then suddenly receiving a call out of the blue to say they’ve got an interview for a job. How is this providing a consultative service which focuses on identifying the right applicant with suitable skills but just as importantly, the correct cultural fit?

Larger clients and RPO’s commonly utilise an ATS which immediately prevents the double-up issue in most circumstances. This can’t be expected with all businesses so it’s critical we talk through better solutions with our clients where a thorough and rigorous interviewing process should be seen as mandatory before any CV’s are sent across.

The recruiters (and our industry)

Put simply, this issue isn’t focused on anywhere near enough in our industry. We need to be pushing for improved standards and more stringent codes of conduct which will penalise recruiters who don’t work in a professional manner when working on behalf of the clients they are representing. I liken it to diving in the world of football; if you see someone win a penalty through the use of simulation, it only further encourages others to try it. We need someone to clamp down on poor practices such as not conducting thorough interviews or worse-still, sending a CV without having had any verbal dialogue with the candidate they are claiming to represent. It’s only when a business suffers will the company in question learn that it’s not the way to be a professional service provider.

As an industry, we’re naturally competitive people. However, we need to move away from this traditional sales mentality to focus upon working in partnership with rival recruiters to become a true extension of client’s internal recruitment / HR function. We work with a few clients who encourage knowledge sharing between recruiters to ensure all sourcing avenues are being considered throughout the course of the recruitment lifecycle. This is a positive trend to see as whilst we’re not going to give names of candidates to our competitors, hearing how other recruiters are working focuses the mind to go the extra distance to provide the best possible service to your client.

The final word

As it can be seen, we’re all partly responsible for errors occurring with candidate duplications during a hiring process. My personal feeling is the recruiters involved need to push harder to have serious dialogue at the outset of a relationship to fully understand how the client manages the introduction process with the consultancies they utilise. Don’t sit in silence when you have a chance; you’ll only have that moment of serious frustration when you hear your candidate’s already been submitted when they’ve told you they’ve got no applications out through other agencies.

There definitely needs to be greater importance put on improving standards in the recruitment world. Company brand reputations can be significantly damaged by recruiters not conducting thorough enough interviewing processes. Until this is seen as being a more serious matter, candidate duplications are always likely to be one of the biggest bugbears of working agency side.

Tags: Park Street People, PSP, Need, Standards, recruitment news, employer advice, languages, assign James Bessant

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