Candidate Exclusivity… I want YOURS

Those of you who have read past posts will know that I am a Rec2Rec…  I source, and place the best recruiters in the market into reputable agency brands… Tough job I’ve got – no seriously, I have a tough job.

My candidates are recruiters and my clients are recruiters – oh, and I’m a recruiter also…

And, guess what?… The majority of you reading this article are recruiters as well.

For the most part we, (that’s you and I), speak the same language, want the same things and know how the game works… One of the most important, no essential, parts of our day–to-day roles is gaining candidate exclusivity – so why won’t you give me yours???

When I see a new candidate one of the first questions I ask is ‘What else are you doing? Who have you met with? Who have you applied to?’ OK that’s 3 questions, but please don’t judge me…

‘Oh… I’ve met with ABC Rec2Rec, and I’m going to see DEF Rec2Rec after this meeting…’   Why? That’s right WHY???

The way I see it elite recruiters, should identify with elite athletes… You are successful, have a great deal of currency in the market and your time is a very valuable commodity.  Like elite athletes who focus solely on being the best by training and competing, you too should be focused on what makes you the best: working within your networks, sense of urgency and superior knowledge of your market.  Not only that, just like elite athletes, your personal brand needs to be protected.

You can probably see where I am going with this, but if not let me subtly get to my point… Elite Athletes have only ONE Agent doing all of this work for them.  One Agent to represent them to their market, One Agent to understand their needs and motivators and find them the right home….

So, why do recruiters engage multiple Rec2Recs? You dilute your ability to control the process, you risk confidentiality and discretion in the market, and most importantly, you diminish your personal brand

I never speak to clients without the express permission of my candidates, but that is not necessarily a rule followed by some of my peers in the industry.  Here’s an example of a recent telephone conversation with a client… (remembering my candidate gave me permission to represent them to this client)…

‘Hi John, its Craig here. I’m just following up on the profile of Rex Citizen I sent through to you after our phone conversation this morning.’

‘Oh, yes Craig….Umm… I was going to call you.’ Immediately you know…. Don’t you… ‘I received Rex’s resume from one of your competitors this morning as well. He seems to be fairly active in the market – doesn’t he?’

I know you have all probably faced exactly the same situation recruiting in your market.  Immediately, the candidate’s personal brand is diluted, and you are left feeling…. well… betrayed.

So, if you want your Rec2rec to represent you to the best of their ability, have some skin in the game.  Give them your exclusivity, even if it is only for 2 weeks.  Believe in them, and be honest and transparent.  Give them the same professional courtesy you expect from your candidates, and don’t punish them for the indiscretions of your candidates.  When you peel away the layers – we are just like you….   (What?… Too Much…. Do I need to turn down the self-pity meter a notch, or 2?)

PS.  Feel free to use the Elite Athlete/Agent analogy with your candidates when asking them for exclusivity – it does work… Sometimes…

Craig Watson


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