I was going to write this weeks blog all about how recruitment can learn lessons from Cricket Australia and about the impact a manager can have on team performance, culture and staff retention…I am a sucker for a sporting analogy! But then I spent most of yesterday, when I would normally write my blog, embroiled in a battle with a competitor about who had the right to represent a certain candidate to a particular company. It is not a common situation I find myself in…. experience has taught me how to avoid these unpleasant scraps. But every once in a while, through no fault of your own, you can find yourself dragged into something like this. It is annoying, messy, wastes time and in my opinion it is largely avoidable…but not at the moment. Why not? For the simple reason that there is little motivation to stop a rogue recruiter ‘trying it on’ should they feel inclined to.
Now, I don’t want to paint a picture of recruitment being a dodgy industry full of unscrupulous sods trying to make a quick buck. From my experience the large majority of recruiters are the opposite – decent professional honourable folk working within ‘the rules’ in a competitive market. But, as we all know, there are those who have little regard for doing the right thing and will do whatever it takes to make a dollar. And whilst I honestly don’t waste much time worrying about them, I do get pissed off when you come up against the same offenders time and time again.
When the vast majority of us are doing things the right way, why should those that don’t, be allowed to continue to operate and get away with it?
So, instead of another sporting based blog, here is a very quick five point plan to put that right:
1. The introduction of a recruitment licence (different to a qualification) with a set of rules that must be abided by. A central body that award licences both to individuals and agencies manages it.
2. Any licensed agency or individual can be audited anytime.
3. A formalised process by which anyone (candidate, client, competitor or someone else) can make a complaint against a licensed recruiter, and that complaint will be investigated and a determination made
4. The power to punish licensed recruiters if they are found to have breached the rules, both with monetary fines and in extreme cases removal of the licence.
5. As any licence will have to be voluntary it will need to be supported by an on-going campaign to promote its awareness and give it credibility not only amongst recruiters but clients and candidates who use recruiters also. This is the key one – without it none of the above matters.
I should mention that, although it is not the first time I have raised this topic, my five-point plan is more food for thought than an absolute solution, And it probably has more holes in it than Swiss cheese – I look forward to being shot down and taken to task over it!!! But I’m putting it out there again because. …what is the alternative?
The usual argument against legislating the recruitment industry is that ‘rogue’ operators don’t last long and exit the industry leaving a trial of messy deals and unhappy people behind them. Probably true. But I have been working in recruitment for over 10 years and they existed back then and they do now.
The other common argument is that it is simply not required. Well, the next time you are on the receiving end of your candidate getting back doored, a competitor stealing a placement from you, not having a fee paid, not being paid a bonus by your employer or whatever else…then you can’t really complain.
I have always gone along with the theory that, if you have nothing to hide and operate professional and honourably (all be it with a fiercely competitive spirit) then why would you not want this. I am certainly no do-gooder, nor do I want our industry to become full of red tape, and neither am I perfect. But I for one would prefer not to have our industry open to rouges and, if it is ever required, have a bit of back up in my corner…then I could write blogs about sport which is much more fun.