“Your candidate left us and it’s your fault”….

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“Your candidate left us and it’s your fault”….

...is the reaction of some hiring managers, the question remains is it fair to blame early attrition on your recruitment partner, (regardless of whether they are internal or external)?

We have placed in the region of 400 frontline agents so far this year and we are looking to recruit around another 100 by the end of 2018.  These have been with a variety of clients across a number of locations and sectors and although we have been doing this a long time, we have still learnt a lot! In fact, we learn every day! 

We have had some great feedback and huge success this year and this has been due to a number of key factors: we have an experienced team of recruiters who are expert in identifying quality candidates; we adopt excellent campaign planning, to include media buying, advert writing, overall marketing and realistic expectations on numbers based on quality data and previous experiences; we put a huge emphasis on the candidate experience, ensuring we do everything in our power to ensure candidates are engaged throughout the entire process; we provide expert advice on how to ensure our clients reach the number of employees they require and lastly we have built trust, empathy and understanding with our clients, which in turn has led to honest and open partnerships – now this last bit is critical, without it everyone fails.

So what does this mean exactly? Everyone talks about ‘working in partnership’ with their clients, but what they really mean is “we will do everything we can to keep you happy Mr or Mrs Client” and that’s all very well, of course we want to keep our clients happy, but sometimes a true partnership is about understanding both sides of that relationship and that’s what we work really hard at!

We manage expectations, we give honest anecdotal evidence on the current trends, we provide a ‘warts and all’ overview on the challenges we face when recruiting in this unprecedented recruitment market.  We talk about employment running at an all-time high, about the ‘fight’ for talent, about the transient and often extremely unpredictable candidate behaviour and we try to be clear with our clients that we can only do so much to ensure candidates turn up for assessment and then actually turn up for the job and then remain with the business through the probation period!  It’s really tough, it can be utterly soul destroying at times, but we battle through and we work with our clients to ensure that we reach the desired end goal!

It requires open, honest and frequent communication along with clear candidate tracking throughout the process and it requires a ‘NO BLAME’ culture.  The recruitment team (whether inhouse or outhouse) will more often than not get the blame! We are an easy scapegoat and there is an argument that if we are responsible for the entire process – selection, screening and assessment, and the end decision is left to us, then yes, there are times when we could take some of the responsibility for the candidate not working out, however more often than not our job is to source, screen and select candidates for our clients internal assessments.  Our clients make the decision on who they deem have the skills, experience and cultural fit for their individual business and they also make the decision on how they pay, induct, train, manage and ultimately look after and engage with their employees.

So a candidate goes through an entire assessment and is offered the job, accepts that job, completes all the checks, sends back their contract and is spoken to the day before they are due to start, everything is on track and the next day they don’t turn up, they don’t take your calls, answer your emails, texts or whatsapp – they simply vanish, never to be seen or heard of again, so who’s to blame?  Well it’s the candidate of course, but more often than not the agency (who won’t get paid anything for getting a candidate to this stage) will be blamed.

So perhaps the candidate above decides to start on day one, goes through some training, likes the environment, but a week later they are offered more money for another job they interviewed at a week before and they leave, so again who’s to blame? You could argue it’s the company for not paying market rate, you could blame the candidate for not being loyal and staying with the company who offered them first, but more often than not it’s the recruiter who gets the blame (who again is unlikely to get paid if the candidate drops out this early in their employment and again has absolutely no control on what a candidate is paid and how they ultimately decide to behave).

So one last scenario (and I could go on forever with potential scenarios!) the above candidate starts, the pay is good, their colleagues are great, they like the environment, but they are asked to ‘go live’ on the phones before they are fully trained, suddenly they are out of their depth, worried about their job and their ability to do the job and they just don’t turn up for work the next day – so again, who is to blame? In this instance it’s definitely the organisation, but I would argue it will still be the recruiter who actually gets the blame (and whom will most likely lose the majority of their fee).

We are working in the most aggressive, transient & competitive employment market that we have ever experienced and the ‘proof is not only in the pudding’ it’s in the ‘Partnership that delivers the pudding’ – our success with our clients comes from them understanding the challenges we face and work together to overcome them, now that creates a successful outcome where everyone wins!

“We wanted to send a few words to you setting out how much we value the service you are providing to us. We have previously had experience of working with Cactus in other businesses so when we needed to find a reliable recruitment partner to work with us our thoughts immediately turned to Francesca and the Cactus team.

From the moment we started discussions with Cactus we were immediately given confidence in their wider knowledge of the Contact Centre industry which has helped up adapt and shape our recruitment processes – this has paid dividends as the quality of candidates being identified has been high.

We have been impressed at the commitment and passion shown by Cactus in working hard to get the right skill sets brought on board, at the right time.  Cactus are great ambassadors for the Company, placing our interests at the heart of what they do – their impact has been significant and as a result they are integral business partners and an extension to HR department.”