OVAL Blog 3: “Dear fellow headhunters and recruiters…”

“More businesses should be encouraging more investment in sustainability.” – Richard Branson


Dear fellow headhunters and recruiters!

I specifically address this blog to the headhunters and recruiters. Because I need to tell something from the heart. And that has to do with the ethics within our branch. If you fit the shoe, wear it. Last week we came into contact with a candidate during our search. This candidate was not only approached by us as an agency for this search (although we have the assignment exclusively), but also another ‘respectable’ agency approached him on the same day with the firm conviction that they had the search exclusively. The candidate was a bit lost, also because this was the same agency that had placed him with his current client 1.5 years earlier.

My first reaction was surprise, the second disbelief and the third anger. Because something is not right here, something very, very wrong is going on here. The ‘respectable’ agency claims ‘exclusivity’ while it does not (liar liar); the agency does not see a candidate as an ‘asset’, but as a ‘dairy cow’ (boo!); and the agency has no respect for the client who paid him a good fee just more than 12 months ago for the match of this candidate (bend over, customer!). That is 3 times very wrong.

We hear this more often. It is no exception, unfortunately, but a typical example of why many companies look at recruiters and headhunters with suspicion. This is why headhunting has a ‘questionable’ image with many clients. And I understand that: they are right! You leave a candidate whom you place as an agency at a client alone. Period! Unless he or she indicates that he or she wants to look for another employer (this was not the case for our candidate). But we regularly hear – just like last week – that candidates are called again within 2 years by the same agency for another vacancy at another client. ‘A bloody shame!’.

That is why I advocate introducing the “Recruitment Sustainability Index”. This is an index that indicates how many of the candidates- placed by your office- are still with the same organization after 3 years. We recently investigated ourselves what OVAL’s RSI index is, which is 0.92. And we are proud of that. We therefore challenge all recruiters and headhunters in the Netherlands -and abroad- to release this index on their own searches and to surpass ourselves in this. Because if this score is so high at all agencies, then the example as outlined above belongs to the past. And our branch will again have a healthy and positive image that clients would love to work with.