Lady looking worried. Can she trust a recruitment consultant?

Should You Trust A Recruitment Consultant?

Recruitment consultants spend a great deal of time sifting through personal details in order to do their job. Fortunately, there are laws and regulations in place which prevent this highly confidential data from falling into the wrong hands. However, occasionally, recruiters come across information puts them in an awkward moral dilemma. In situations like this, can you really trust a recruitment consultant to do the right thing?

Putting a Recruitment Consultant’s Trust to the Test

Put yourself in the position of a recruiter and consider this scenario: A client you have an excellent long standing relationship with, asks you to fill a vacancy. As you are searching the job boards for suitable candidates, you find the CVs of several members of their team. What do you do with that information?

In situations like this, recruiters need to carefully consider their actions, to ensure that they abide by the law, look after their client’s best interests and protect their own reputation.

Legally, the identities of those concerned can not be disclosed but is keeping quiet the right thing to do morally? Such a discovery presents an unscrupulous recruiter with the ultimate win-win situation:

  • The opportunity to earn fees by placing those candidates in new roles with other clients
  • Creating a number of new vacancies with the existing client, which the consultant could potentially earn a fee for filling

A less honest recruitment consultant who is purely motivated by their own financial gains might keep such information to themselves. Let’s consider the long term implications of this for the candidate, the client and the recruiter.

The Client

In this situation, we imagine there has been a chain of events leading to so many employees wanting to leave at the same time. If this was your business, you would, without doubt, want the opportunity to turn things around.

Let’s imagine that our client remains unaware and therefore does nothing about the situation. This could send several undesirable messages to the outside world:

  • The company has made an unpopular decision which has upset their workforce
  • The company does not care to fix the problem
  • The company is so unapproachable that their employees would rather leave than discuss the issue with them

If the client remains unaware they have any internal issues, it is likely that they will make the same mistakes in future. Long term, this could be detrimental to their staff retention and reputation within the wider business community.

The Candidates

Leaving a job when something upsetting happens at work is not good for anyone’s career. The disgruntled employees may believe they are taking the easy way out but have they considered the bigger picture? Recruiters pay attention to the same names appearing repeatedly on job boards. If a candidate has a history of being a ‘job hopper’, recruitment consultants are usually reluctant to work with them.

The Recruiter

The recruitment world is an incredibly well connected one, where any news, good or bad, travels fast. If word got around that a rogue recruiter was privy to such information and didn’t give the client a chance to rectify the problem, it could seriously damage their reputation.

Doing the Right Thing

A reputable consultant who has a good relationship with their client would have a discreet conversation with the hiring manager. There is no need for the recruiter to convey their concern without disclosing the identity of the individuals or their team.

Of course, it could be that there has been no internal upset within the business and no further action is needed. It is entirely possible that the individuals concerned may have  independent reasons for seeking alternative employment. Maybe it’s pure coincidence they chose to act at the same time. Or maybe, the consultant has indeed highlighted a major issue that the business needs to address in order to improve their staff retention.

In the digital age we now live in, employees don’t just blow off steam around the water cooler. What starts as the tiniest niggle in the office can become blown completely out of proportion via instant messaging and chat groups. What may have started out as a minor upset, can quickly escalate and be blown completely out of proportion.

Either way, it is likely that the client will be most grateful for the opportunity to investigate and find out for themselves.

It’s no secret that the recruitment industry has a reputation for being ruthless. It’s understandable, therefore, that the outside world might assume that recruiters are only concerned with earning a fee. As the above example demonstrates, recruiters need to think strategically if they are to establish a good reputation in the long term.

Our directors, Nick and David have been in the recruitment business since 2004 and the majority of our clients come from repeat business or word of mouth recommendations. We like to think that this is largely attributable to our ability to consider the bigger picture.

If you have any questions about the recruitment services we provide, we would love to hear from you. Please, don’t hesitate to get in touch.