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…and this is where the average Recruiter moves on. After advertising a role, or perhaps headhunting a candidate, phone screening them, interviewing them, selling them on an opportunity, and finally presenting them to a hiring manager or internal recruiter, we stop dead in our tracks. For those of you not in the industry, if a client is in possession of a candidate’s CV, they essentially “own” this candidate for a period of at least 12 months. When I say “own” I mean that a recruiter cannot make any money out of this placement with this client. And when a Recruiter can’t make money, they become as much use as a soluble tampon. This approach however is clearly flawed. The hiring manager gains no insight as to why we may be representing this candidate, the recruiter fails to make a placement, and worst of all, the candidate typically doesn’t get a job.

There is another way.

Firstly, we need to ask the obvious. When did the client receive the CV? Air New Zealand have every Kiwis’ CV buried somewhere in Snaphire. Do they “own” their next CEO already given (s)he applied to be a summer intern in 1983? Secondly, we need to understand how the hiring manager came into possession of the CV. Was it sent directly by the candidate? Was it scraped from SEEK Premium Talent Search? Was it sent by another agency? Was it sent by an agency without the candidate’s permission? All of these have a bearing on who “owns” this candidate.

Lastly, most importantly, and perhaps an unpopular view with a number of people, having a CV in your inbox doesn’t mean sh!t if you don’t act on it. Hiring Managers love to tell recruiters that a candidate has already applied directly. Well whoop-de-doo. You wrote an ad and got a CV. Treat yourself to a cookie. If you haven’t called the candidate within a month, they are not a candidate of yours. It took an agency supplier to see the potential in a CV. To make the call. To interview the candidate. To take the notes. To sell them the opportunity. If the hiring manager has phone screened, interviewed, or even left a message with the candidate, then fair enough – there’s no fee. However, sitting on a CV and doing nothing with it should not protect you from paying an invoice. In my opinion the rule of ownership (and therefore fees) with applicants should be simple: Did the actions of the Recruitment Agency result in this role being filled? If yes, pay money.

As much as venting my spleen makes me feel better, life is rarely so simple. It is easy for recruiters to blame hiring managers, but alas, there are other villains at play. These are of course candidates and recruitment consultants themselves. And here’s how they get it all wrong.

Candidates: Candidates do not help themselves when they fail to tell recruitment consultants that they have already applied for the job directly. Perhaps they think that two applications are better than one. Perhaps they think that no one will notice. Perhaps they have applied to so many jobs that they forget. The outcome of this, to quote the next US President, is “not good”. Firstly, it erodes the trust and relationship between you and your recruiter. And when you want a job, you want recruiters on-side. Trust me. Secondly, it makes you look stupid in front of the client. Yes it does. Thirdly, it creates a “situation” between the recruiter and the client, and in New Zealand, people tend to walk away from “situations” more than deal with them. You are placing yourself in the “too hard basket”. And that’s not the “offer them a job basket”.

Recruiters: Recruiters do not help anyone when they send a CV to a client without the explicit permission of the candidate. Even if your candidates sign those ghastly terms with the small print saying you’ll be flicked out everywhere, every recruiter should ask every candidate every time if it is OK to present them to a specific client. It’s really not difficult. It’s so easy in fact, that in 19 years recruiting, I’ve never even thought to send a CV without speaking to a candidate first. And I’m hardly a saint.

Sadly (for me), the sector that probably sees the above the most, is the one I co-own a business in. Currently, at least 50% of my recent conversations with clients have started with “Sorry. We’ve already got their CV“. Be it Recruiters who should know better and have already sent their CV, to the actions of other rec-to-recs who send first and ask questions later (actually they don’t even ask questions – they just talk at you with made-up words), we constantly fight the good fight against some pretty tough odds. It keeps me young I suppose.

Anyway, more next week. I may have fallen off my soap box/high horse by then.