Talent Acquisition

The Good, the Backdoor and the Ugly

Recruiters! Stop getting off on your back door chasing!

Picture this.

It’s a dusty street. Three figures are in the shot. A scruffy dog runs stage left to right, weeds tumble through the dirt.

Recruiting is a Spaghetti Western!

Close up (You’re a recruiter.)

You’re wearing a poncho, you have a cigar in your mouth, a single-round revolver in your hand – and someone is playing a whistle.

Opposite you, down the road (a bullet away) is a client. They too have an attitude, and they say:

“Did you get the idea? We don’t like to see bad boys like you in town!”

(Please read this with a wicked Mexican accent and please don’t think I’m sexist – I didn’t write the script!)

Now pan right – there’s a lowly candidate, sat in the dust looking a little coy, leaning towards the client. You can just see the tremble in their hands and they won’t look you in the eye.

The good, the bad and the ugly:

You’re the recruiter – you think you’ve done a great job. You’ve taken the job brief, written the advert, posted it across numerous places. You’ve interviewed countless candidates (binned countless more hopeless hopefuls) and you’ve put the shortlist in front of the client.

“You may run the risks, my friend, but I do the cutting. If we cut down my percentage…? Liable to interfere with my aim.”

A fist full of dollars:

The client has no perception of the value you’ve delivered – and they back door you.

“Such ingratitude after all the times I’ve saved your life.”

For a few dollars more:

The candidate wants the job and has a fit of amnesia about what you have done and grabs the offer from the client.

“The way I figure… there’s really not too much future with a sawed-off runt like you.”

Now I get that the trilogy I’ve outlined above seems a little skewed. I’ve been writing about back door placements for a year, and even interviewed software businesses about tech to prevent them.

I’ve sparred with people online when they claim that only crap (censored) recruiters get back doored – I see that as an easy and boring statement made to simply get effect. Bad things happen to good people. They also happen to misguided, misrepresented recruiters!

“You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.”

The good, the bad and the uglier:

The recruitment industry has become either fixated on pursuing the back door placement (and they often get off on it), it is actively ignoring them or it is blissfully ignorant. All = bad dog!

In any event, they happen. Do they happen to the innocent? I agree with Mitch Sullivan, when I don’t believe the recruiter is innocent, but I vehemently believe that no-one is innocent.

Stop playing chicken with your clients:

When I speak to recruiters about back door placements, many of them light up with stories of legal pursuits and stuffing terms down clients’ throat. I get why they need to feel victorious, but feel that this is a screwed up approach (and mainly designed to mask the obvious feeling that they may have brought it on themselves?)

Client Eastwood’s silver bullet to backdoors?

If all you want to do as a phase 1 project is to track whether you’ve had any back door placements, then the below list is a start.

Check your CRM – does it have processes within which you can use to quiz the system on candidates who have attended interview but were not offered? If it doesn’t, sort it! (I created a script in my Bond Adapt system back in 2003 – surely the world has moved forward?) Hirabl exists as a super-speedy sci-fi version of my clip.

Back door placements needn’t be a Spaghetti Western!

If you want to prevent future back door placements, then you need to be better.

What do you do leading up to sending out info to clients? Have a really good look at what you have done, said, and whether you have recorded any of this on your system. Hunting through your emails takes time (and this costs money). There’s no excuses for poor data management in any recruitment firm.

  • Obvious statement 1: When you’re sending out CVs / emails about candidates, are you sending terms each time? And if you are, are they PDFd, or are people able to be a bit sneaky and change your lovely Word docs?
  • Obvious statement 2: Are you actually agreeing terms before sending CVs to a client, or stealth bombing them with terms during a CV raid?
  • Obvious statement 3: Have a content plan which resolves around them, not just you (and your jobs). Make it clear you know your stuff (and you have to know your stuff to make that clear!) Make it clear what your job is (newsflash it’s not to place candidates, it’s to work with passive and active talent to get them engaged and remain engaged beyond their start date). It’s to understand your sector and work with clients to fill their vacancy problems (a job is a problem, a gap, not just a job spec which needs advertising.) Bear in mind that candidates are not engaged by the current poorly written adverts (see other blogs for my thoughts on this).

And once you have done all of this, grab your poncho, cigar, jump on your donkey and ride off into the sunset to buy a really good horse!

“Sure. Well after a meal, there’s nothing like a good cigar.”

By Lisa Jones

Lisa Jones is a Director at Barclay Jones, a Consultancy working with recruiters advising them on the most effective use of technology, web and social media to improve their business processes, recruitment and bottom line. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaMariJones.