In-house Recruiters – behaviours and ethics, improvements needed
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Whenever in-house recruiting practitioners come together online or in person you can bet your house the conversation will soon turn to the use of recruitment agencies and soon thereafter to how bad or unethical they usually are. Some of the more entertaining discussions in the online communities I am a member of are full of anecdotes of bad practice, lack of integrity, stupidity…..well the list goes on. Sadly the comments are all too true, frequent and similar in nature, so it is hardly surprising that all agencies good or bad tend to get grouped together as bad.
However on a number of occasions recently I have been party to some discussions and comments from the other perspective; those made by recruitment agencies about the issues they have with HR, in-house recruiters or hiring managers. Some of them are the expected moans about an inability to sell, usually coming from a blatant lack of understanding for their customers and not worth the consideration, others however deserve much more.
Whilst the in-house recruiters might enjoy “agency bashing” as a frequent activity, the agency sales people do have some genuine reasons to “bash” back. I give you a mashup of a couple of incidents from earlier this year, as an example of one of really poor behaviour. Sadly the in-house recruiters involved are members of The FIRM and yes they still are, in the hope that they will learn from others. Discussions have been had.
An agency is briefed on a role by an employer about a specific vacancy, asked to find suitable applicants and submit CVs accordingly. The agency supplies CVs to the inhouse Recruitment Manager as requested, in accordance with procedures. The Recruitment Manager contacts the candidates directly and attempts to bypass the agency.
Because this is a mashup of incidents, much of the detail from each is omitted, including the names of all parties, but you get the gist.
Let’s be clear on this, if the agency has been asked to provide CVs for a particular role and responds accordingly I cannot think of any justification why this kind of behaviour is acceptable. You should be ashamed.
I’d be interested to hear if anyone can try to justify it. This is also I am sure, just one of many moans or genuine complaints that could be aimed at in-house recruiters.
Many in-house practitioners generally take the high moral ground when it comes to ethics and professionalism and become quite partisan in either promoting or defending that position, myself included, yet I am all too aware that there is merit in what the agencies say and based on the above I am sure few would disagree. A couple of years ago I presented to an audience of over 100 inhouse recruiters and used the words “you are not as good as you think you are”. I had learned that at the time as a result of my own, then recent, job hunting experiences. As a result of the growth of the in-house recruiting function in the last two years I believe this to still be the case today, more than ever.
To be able to do our jobs properly we have to act with integrity. This is true when dealing with everyone in the candidate supply chain, no matter how they are sourced. To behave any other way is not only a mistake, but so damaging to your recruitment brand and to your own personal reputation. Even if you don’t have your own personal code of conduct, your company should without doubt.
I am not saying you have to deal with recruitment agencies, however I am saying that if you chose to, then doing so with the highest levels of professionalism and honesty can only be a good thing. I would hope that members of The FIRM think and behave the same way.
I welcome all comments and thoughts on this one