It is traditional that recruiters offer clients a guarantee period when they place a candidate into their business…normally around 3 months to coincide with their probation period. You see something equivalent in pretty much every other industry – Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the ability to return badly chosen gifts!
Alongside offering a guarantee period, it is expected that a recruiter will stay in touch with their candidate over that period ‘to make sure they transition into their new role’ and ‘ensure a successful on-boarding process’ or something along those lines. Like a lot of things in recruitment, this has become the norm and we don’t really question it. But is that really my job as a recruiter?
I always saw my job as a recruiter as primarily everything to do with what happens before the successful person starts on day one; taking the job brief, doing the search, interviewing, influencing, negotiating and generally keeping everyone happy and things moving along. Once they have started, then it is over to the new employer to take things from there. It’s not that I don’t want to get involved in anything after day one…after all I have a vested interested to see things work out….and I am very happy to help out where I can…..but even if it is my responsibility, am I the best person?
A few years ago, I placed a John with an accounting firm and after a couple of months the client called me to highlight an issue with John. “John is a nice guy and doing a good job, but he has a BO issue. We would like you to speak to him about this please.”
“Uuuuuummm. Me? What do you hope I can do that you can’t? Am I the really best person to have that conversation with John – after all, it is not like John and I are best buddies”
Managers will often pass the buck back to the recruiter for these difficult situations. I am sure if they were congratulating John on a record first 2 months, it wouldn’t be me they would call to deliver that news.
Once someone has started with a business, it is the business that is responsible for that person and everything to do with them, good or bad, and that includes managing any issues, good or bad. Imagine if I had caught up with John and told him that he may want to investigate the combination of soap and warm water every now and then…..and then he has to go back to the office knowing everyone thinks he stinks. If I was John I wouldn’t bother. Which is exactly what happened – and the client blamed me for that. Alternatively, had his new Manager had a quiet word in his ear, then I am pretty sure John would have stunk* around….(*stuck)
Of course, it is professional and right that a recruiter stays in touch with a candidate they have placed, and having an independent sounding board can help identify any potential issues. And there will be some scenarios where the recruiter needs to get more involved. But that is different to being expected to do your client’s dirty work.
Don’t be your client’s bitch. It’s not your job.