Life as an ethical recruiter is frustrating!
You find a great candidate, spend a considerable amount of time interviewing and assessing their requirements and discussing suitable roles. At the end of that process, you establish the ‘right to represent’ and agree that you will forward their CV to one or more specific clients for roles that you have been working on and establish that they haven’t been spoken to by other agencies about the vacancies, for which, you want to put them forward.
So, you then prepare the CV, write a covering email and send the candidate to the agreed companies and await feedback and hopefully, a request for interview. You assume that the candidate has a good chance of getting an interview because you have done your job properly and only put forward the CV because you are quietly confident that they are a good fit and can do the job.
An email arrives from one of the clients to whom, you sent the CV. Surely, they want to see the candidate? But no, they have received the CV from another agency shortly before they received yours. You then speak to the candidate and it transpires that the other agency didn’t tell them, to which company they were going to send the CV, or even worse, the CV has been sent without their prior knowledge.
How does this affect the candidate and client?
This causes confusion for the candidate and client alike. The client is then put in to a difficult position and so as to not become embroiled in agency infighting, they opt to work on a ‘first in’ approach or not see the candidate at all.
We can’t blame the clients for doing this, after all, they just want to fill the position and they are sometimes under the misconception that they will have to pay the potentially hefty fees twice.
However, for the recruiters that take the time to speak to their candidate and get their consent to forward the CV to a particular company, the frustration at being pipped to the post by less transparent recruitment agencies is not only damaging to our businesses but also to the candidate.
It is not uncommon that multiple submissions can lead to clients steering clear of candidates where there is a disagreement of ‘ownership of the candidate’ between agencies. And who loses out in this scenario? Ultimately, the candidate who doesn’t get invited for interview and the client, who will forego the opportunity of a great candidate to avoid confrontation.
Why would an agency withhold the name of the company until an interview request is made?
Perhaps, it is a confidential vacancy, as this does happen, albeit, rarely.
It’s important for candidates to know where their CV is being sent. Personally, I find this subterfuge quite disingenuous because it is behaviour indicative of gaining the upper hand through not being transparent to the candidate. It is the candidate’s right, under data protection, to be aware of relevant information about them being shared and this includes CVs.
There may be good reasons for the candidate not to be put forward to a particular company; a previous interview, a former employer, co-worker, friend, family or foe, or perhaps, simply that the commute is too far or the firm is not appealing to them!
Is Your CV in Safe Hands?
Will we change our ethical stance to compete? Absolutely not. We will always seek permission from the candidate prior to sending a CV to a client. We will always ask if their CV has already been submitted by another agency for one of our roles and if they are not aware of any other agency submitting their details, we assume no other agency has. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
By way of conclusion, how can this situation be resolved? An open and transparent relationship with candidates, providing them with an honest and empathetic service and working closely with both candidates and clients to provide a level of service that they deserve.