There’s an old one-liner that says the closest most recruitment consultants get to ethics is when they’re approaching the Dartford Tunnel from Kent. Like most well-worn gags, it gets a laugh down the pub on a Friday night because there’s an element of truth in it. The classic image of the sharp-suited recruiter with gel in his hair and £50-notes in his eyes as he assesses the latest unfortunate candidate to hove into his view, is one the industry has brought upon itself.
Like all sectors, recruitment has many hard-working, decent professionals whose reputation is spoiled by a few bad apples. But the good guys have a more fundamental issue that is damaging how they are perceived: the commission-based model of their industry. This leads to a “sell, sell, sell” culture where no thought is given to the match between the business and the potential recruit.
Agencies incentivise their employees with money, holiday and overly excessive sparkly gifts. Who wouldn't be incentivised when promised these things? Our issue isn't with the use of incentives. It’s with the use of incentives leading to inadequate talent sourcing.
A role that requires an in-depth search for specific talent is undesirable as targets slip further away and commissions fall. Commission-driven recruiters shift towards sourcing easier assignments with a much greater chance of quick success. Difficult roles are then left to rot without the attention they need. This is the lack of commitment that gives the industry an unethical face, reflecting poorly on all parties involved.
Most recruitment agencies in candidate-short markets are really placing candidates, rather than filling the roles they have been instructed on. They will find a great person, interview them and then send to twenty-odd companies. If the candidate is strong, they will definitely make a placement and therefore their commission cheque.
And that’s why we at Talentful are disrupting the industry and revolutionising recruitment.
We believe any good relationship requires commitment. That is why we work on a retained fee model rather than commission.
When clients work with us, commitment is made from the outset with a detailed proposition and a guarantee that the necessary time and effort will go into the search. After all, we are asking for a financial commitment up front. Once a partnership has been made, we are fully committed to finding the right people for the position, and we keep going until the role is filled. There’s no ‘we said’ ‘they said’, it’s a relationship that has a mutual end-goal: to find the best person for the job.
As we have a greater commitment from the client, our risk profile is improved and therefore we can pass a larger saving on to the client. We think it’s only fair. Other recruitment companies may have seen an opportunity to make higher profit margins, whereas we see traditional recruitment agency fees as excessive.
The pride taken at this stage will ensure that this message is echoed throughout the candidate’s experience. Talentful’s average time from briefing to placement is 28 days. Without the commitment and ability to fully collaborate with our clients, this would not be the case.
We don’t just say yes to collaborating with any business – that’s for another blog – we only work with clients who are ready to commit and hire more efficiently. We never compete against other third-party recruiters.
We’re deadly serious about changing the face of recruitment – and bringing an end to those ethics jokes.