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I’ve been doing my research on the dreaded bad weasels. (Or as some recruiters call them “back door placements”).  In my previous blog.  I mentioned some interesting names for back door placements – bad weasel was my favourite.  But what I have found through my research is that very few recruiters have formal process for dealing with them. 

I’m pretty flabbergasted! (But excited about the opportunity for a bit of process to get this right and get more fees nailed down.)

BoBs are a Fact of Life

But then I start to wonder why the back door seems to have been something akin to “the norm”.  Why has it become a seemingly fact of life?  Is it because so many of you are dealing with the following:

  • Tech overload in the recruitment process
  • Options paralysis – too much choice
  • Disconnect between recruitment leaders and their staff (knowledge, use of tech, process, ability to “get on the phone”)
  • 2/10 vacancy fill rate is the current UK average (we fill most of our jobs, we just know how to work too many and fill not enough)
  • Candidates going direct to clients
  • Clients trying to do their own recruitment and disrupting their recruiter relationships

Who’s Fault is it?

I’m keen to see how much cash (and time) is being spent on bad processes which create back door placements (yes, it’s not always the client at fault).

  • Do we have decent, robust processes to ensure that clients get what you do and that it costs money?
  • Do your clients get that you are not a lovely charitable CV bank? 
  • What processes do you have for checking that consultants are communicating effectively with their clients?  Even when I used to be an IT Director of a Recruitment firm, this issue was massive – I remember having to regularly trawl through email archives searching for a magic email with terms which may or may not have been in the body of the email.
  • Is your CRM geared up to take the strain?  Do you have automated emails / CV sends / interview templates which deal with this and help minimise a supposed lack of understanding by the client?
  • What training do you give your recruiters for dealing with preventing back door placements?

And probably the most important (and the quickest win) – what are you doing to keep the candidate from doing something stupid!? Are you educating them as to your worth / your value / why working with you rather than against you is a good move?

What is it you do again?

If all you’re doing is giving them junk food content about what to wear and what questions to ask, then you are offering nothing.  If you help them understand what value you add to them:

  • You are an advocate for them (going direct means they have less help / advice / negotiation powers)
  • You know the industry, not just the client - invaluable
  • You’ll be there if it doesn’t work out – crucial (if not unfortunate… damn that free replacement term!)

In My Day I Got Rough and Dirty

When I was an IT Director of a Recruitment firm, I also got my hands very dirty with the CRM and scripts.  I had 200+ recruiters “using” the system to run their desk (I’ll let you interpret what I mean by “using"!).

I built a script into my CRM which gave recruiters a list of candidates who had been to interview and the job had “died”. 

The administration team would then get on the phone and call the client and ask say “can I speak to John [candidate] please?”  If the receptionist said “yes, I’ll put you through”, admin hung up and gave the data to the consultant to start “the process” of recovering the fee.  A crude process, but watch those recruiters get excited when an administrator hung up!

It ran like clockwork and often enabled teams to recover their lapsed targets.

Has Social Media Made Back Doors More Common?

Now with social media and other online platforms, the ability to find an AWOL candidate could be seen as being easier.  Or is it?

Return to the top of this blog and look at what the average recruiter has to deal with and then ask yourself when the hell they get time to do this…?  Has technology made back door placements more acceptable? Has 300+ million people on LinkedIn given us the excuse to just keep going, or is now the time to get back to basics and get a more robust, sustainable process?

Thoughts from the floor please.

Thanks to Recruiting Daily for publishing this blog

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  1. A candidate or client going behind your back always says more about how they see you than it says about them.

    If they are willing to go behind your back it says
    - I do not have a strong enough relationship with you that stops me being unethical.
    - I do not think that you add any value.

    A core part of the agency culture is delivering a service and building relationships that makes clients and candidates see the value in what you do and not want to let you down.

    alex moyle

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