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  • Writer's pictureJason Downes

46/52: Partnering

Employing people is not easy and I believe the recruitment consulting industry needs to do more to set themselves and their clients up for success through partnership arrangements. If people are the most valuable part of an organisation, why is the process of finding and attracting them so often left completely to chance? Why do we continually choose to work in a way that bombards our clients with phone calls without providing the outcomes they need?

Contingent vs Partnered:

My job is not complicated, but it can be very difficult to get the best results when the wrong motivators are put in place. With the exception of the executive market, a typical opportunity for a recruitment consultant exists on a contingent basis. This means your fee is contingent on you placing the successful candidate whilst competing against a number of other recruiters who are also banking on finding the 'best candidate' first. Contingent recruitment motivates a consultant to work fast, cut corners and present whomever they can before a competitor does. While this can yield quick results, it often drives poor outcomes including inappropriate candidates, double-ups, a poor experience for candidates and a plethora of unwanted communication for the client.

Partnered recruitment, however, involves an exclusive arrangement of one recruiter (or a team) to find the best person for their client. From the outset, the approach is focussed on clear processes with quality outcomes. Consultants get the opportunity to consult by working together on what 'good looks like', how a message should be conveyed to their market, how this role will support the strategic initiatives of the business and so on. Interviews are conducted together and once an appointment is made, the partnership continues to ensure the new employee is successful well-beyond their probationary period.

While it might be easy to blame our clients and say that they always offer recruiters contingent-only assignments, I'd argue that we are not good at educating our clients in the best way to work with recruitment agencies to drive quality outcomes. Would a Lawyer accept an offer of work from a client if they knew they were competing against five other lawyers and their fee would depend on who did the work first? Would a Plumber, Doctor, Gym Instructor or Teacher consider similar conditions or work? No, they know that approach is not best for them or for their clients.

I love being a Recruitment Consultant. There is no greater satisfaction than working with a client to help them achieve their vision and no greater joy than helping someone secure a quality role. Our industry, however, has a confidence problem and rather than working with our clients as partners, we too often choose to compete against our colleagues in a race to the bottom.

If you're a recruiter, I'd encourage you the next time your client offers you a contingent assignment, to spend some time educating them on the benefits of a partnership approach. And if you're a client looking to hire someone to your organisation, consider if working with one recruiter might be the best approach to get the very best result.

What is your experience? - I'd love to hear from you whether you're a recruiter or a hiring manager.


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