Few recruiters sail through their career with a 100% success rate on placements. There’s always the one that got away, or in this case, walked out within the rebate period.
When a placement doesn’t work out, it’s bad for business, your cashflow and your reputation. If you have a successful track record of placements with your client it helps to mitigate the situation and you’ll probably be given the opportunity to replace rather than refund. Neither option is attractive for recruiters who believed the deal was signed and sealed.
Whether it’s a first time event for you as a recruiter or one that recurs from time to time, here’s our advice to prevent a candidate walk-out.
Understand what’s happened : Candidates typically leave a new job for two reasons:-
- They don’t meet the employer’s expectations and their employment ends during their probationary period.
- The job doesn’t meet the candidate’s expectations presented to them during the hiring process, prompting them to walk out.
In today’s competitive candidate market, you may also have experienced a third reason:-
- The candidate received an offer from the employer they were waiting for – and had written off – within the first few weeks of starting their new job. When your vacancy came along it was a ‘fill-in’. It happens and it’s likely to happen more as companies up the stakes to attract the best talent.
If you’ve established a good relationship with your candidate they’ll contact you before they walk out, giving you the chance to rescue the situation by coming to a compromise, or prepare back-up candidates. If the first you hear of their departure is a telephone call from your client, your only option is damage limitation.
If the hiring manager releases your candidate during the probationary period, you have some work to do. At some point in the process, expectations were miscommunicated. Either:-
- The employer wasn’t entirely transparent about the job requirements.
- The candidate wasn’t truthful about their job prospects.
- You didn’t take a detailed enough job brief.
- You were negligent during your candidate assessment to secure a quick placement.
- You failed to identify, or chose to ignore, the red flags during the interview process.
Whatever the reason, now isn’t the time to apportion blame but to learn from the experience to prevent it happening again.
Don’t force the placement : The pressure is on in contingent recruitment to submit CVs to your client ahead of your competitors. It’s tempting to cut corners if you’re under pressure to meet your month end targets or find a candidate for that hard to fill position. Don’t. Be realistic with your client about the types of candidates available.
Screen candidates effectively : Evaluate each candidate with the tools available and carry out background checks. The ideal candidate possesses relevant technical qualifications and fits the company culture. Formal references are the responsibility of the client but as a recruiter, carrying out a background check gives you insight into the person behind the CV. Cover the prospect of a counter offer. Ask about other jobs your candidate is interviewing for and how they compare to your vacancy.
Ask difficult questions : Manage client expectations from the beginning of an assignment. Dig deep, find out more about their turnover rate, the problems they experience in the hiring process, how many job offers have been rejected. Ask about the typical working week, for example, is the candidate required to work long hours or stay away from home during during the week? Who are their difficult co-workers? What are the challenges they’ll encounter in the first three months of the job? Why is the position vacant?
Stay close to the candidate : The onboarding period is often the most difficult for a new hire. Stay in touch with your candidate on a weekly basis to identify any potential problems while they adjust to their new environment. Liaise with the employer too to ensure their perspectives match.
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