The Eagle Blog

Recruiter Lesson … Understand Your Candidate’s Level of Commitment

Alison Turnbull is a recruiter at Eagle, specialised in our Executive/Management Consulting practice … and she wanted to send a message.  She believes that recruiters need to better understand the motivations of their candidates so that they don’t send “duds” to their clients.  (I don’t think she is too impressed with the “duds” either!  Dud:  a person that is not really committed to the job!)

This is Alison’s message …

Would you hire them?

As a recruiter I am often in contact with candidates who say things that really surprise me!  A common example of this is the candidate who replies to an email or phone call to say “I’ve just landed a permanent position, but I still want to know what’s out there as I’ll likely only be here for six months”.  Or better yet, “I’ve just taken a perm role for now, but keep me posted as I’m more interested in contract positions”.  Whenever possible, I take the opportunity to try to explore this further and to try to understand why someone would accept a ‘permanent’ role with no intention of staying.

We tend to see this behavior more frequently when contract markets are ‘soft’ and tried and true consultants feel the need to secure something until the contract market heats up again.  Some candidates even stress that there just is ‘no such thing’ as a permanent role, and that in general, employers are no more inclined to commit to someone long term than they are.  

There are a  number of problems with this type of scenario:

1.   The cost of on boarding and replacing a permanent employee is significant.

2.  Candidates who operate in this manner will hurt their reputation (or personal brand) which affects long term career aspirations.

I feel that many of these situations can be attributed to a recruiter who just didn’t do an adequate job for their client.  It is our job as recruiters to dig down deep into a candidate’s motivation and to be sure that they are truly invested in a permanent role – particularly with candidates who have more of a ‘consulting background’. 

Sadly, not all recruiters are focused on seeing beyond their 3 or 6 month guarantee period and are more focused on a ‘quick hit’ as opposed to maintaining a long-term client relationship.  It’s important to be sure that your candidates are able to provide you with a very compelling reason for switching to an ‘employee’ relationship when they have a background in consulting. 

The take away for us recruiters is to differentiate ourselves from our competition by always ensuring that we make an extra effort to spend an adequate amount of time pre qualifying candidates.  Ask yourself the question, would I hire them myself?   Your clients will thank you for it!


Alison Turnbull is a recruiter at Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

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