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The Only Way is Ethics

13 March 2014
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Hands up those of you that think ethics and recruitment go hand in hand.  If you’re one of those that hasn’t put your hand up, then you’re not on your own. The role of the recruiter has been tarnished in some people’s eyes, placed in the same box as car salesmen and estate agents as ‘necessary evils’ that seek to only line their own pockets rather than help their customers. Even if you don’t believe it, it’s likely to be there as a latent perception as I discovered when I received an email from a client who, after I’d expressed a candidate’s wish to meet discreetly so as not to encounter a former colleague, dropped me a line to say “I can’t believe a recruitment consultant would talk to me about ethics.”  It was followed by a smiley face and then a phone call to explain it had been meant in jest, but as someone who cares deeply about respecting the interests of both candidates and clients I have to say it touched a nerve. So how has this come about?  Let me count the ways: Consultants who ‘poach’ from their customers You know the ones I’m talking about: concerned with their month’s commission rather than the long-term relationship with their client.  You’ll know when one is on the phone because suddenly calls are conducted in whispers in quiet corners.  The less smart among them will call members of your team in turn – not an entirely discrete approach eh? Consultants who speculatively send CVs There are some consultants who view their candidate’s CV as their property to send to wherever they like without first discussing the opportunity.  By throwing a sheaf of CVs to their client they appear to have a wealth of suitable people when in fact not one of them has been consulted about, or matched to, the company or job role.  It might seem harmless enough but it in an industry as closely connected as NAV and AX, it only takes a conversation between a couple of people for a candidate’s confidentiality to be breached, and I’m yet to meet a client who appreciates being given a false idea on how many candidates are available. Agencies that view recruitment as a transaction When you’re trying to match a person to job role or a company, it’s not just a numbers game.  We’re dealing with long term career aspirations, company investments and carefully matching people to culture.  At Conspicuous we want our customers to feel we have an innate sense of what kind of person makes a good ‘fit’ for them, and we also want our candidates to feel reassured that when it comes to their career we’ll give them the very best possible help and advice. Agencies that think a job change is always the answer When a candidate approaches us, one of our first questions will be “Why are you seeking a change?”  If there is an issue with their current employer or job role our next question is: “Is it solvable?”  Unlike those agencies that see a job move as the solution to every problem, we advise all candidates to think about ways of resolving any issues before they begin a search for a new career – you can read more about it here.  Not only does this mean we offer a great service to our candidates, but we also protect the interests of our customers who would rather their staff spoke to them about potentially solvable problems than simply jumping ship. I’m committed to make sure that Conspicuous never appears on that list and in doing so I think it is possible to demonstrate that there are recruitment organisations that have respect, integrity and an ethical approach.  But what do you think?  Have you had these experiences or think I’m missing something?  Let me know your thoughts, share the problems that you’ve had and I’ll put them on the list.

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