Many employers believe they’ll get a better result and widen the pool of candidates by offering their openings to more than one recruiter. But that’s simply not true for so many reasons! Here’s why:

  1. Your recruiters will do less work. Recruiters get paid on commissions. On contingent assignments, if they don’t make a placement they’re paid nothing. They’re also usually very busy – at least if they’re any good. Put these two factors together and you can be sure that when you brief multiple recruiters each will spend less time and effort – not more – on filling your position than if they get the job exclusively. After all, no one likes wasting time on work they’re unlikely to be paid for. Many recruiters also end up tripping over candidates who have already been interviewed for other roles so it wastes the candidate’s and the recruiter’s time and reflects poorly on the hiring company.
  2. You won’t see the best candidates. If a recruiter has “rockstar” candidates they will reserve them as a reward for their loyal clients who have engaged them exclusively in order to cement the relationship and get ongoing exclusive briefs. Furthermore, if a candidate is uncovered during an exclusive brief, the recruiter will hold them for that client whereas for non-exclusive briefs, the candidate may be “shopped around” to several firms so bidding wars and delays become inevitable.
  3. The focus will shift from quality to speed. While we’re still on the subject, a non-exclusive recruiter’s focus generally shifts from submitting quality candidates to getting things done fast. Many will aim to get their candidates’ CVs registered first so they can lock it in, irrespective of whether their candidates are suitable. This results in more CVs for the hiring manager or admin to review and undermines the value of the recruitment process itself, which is to screen the candidates first. In fact, some less scrupulous recruiters even send CVs without even having interviewed or spoken to the candidate – just so they can log their name first.
  4. It’s bad for your Company reputation. Using multiple recruiters can also be bad for an employer’s brand reputation. If candidates hear of the same job from multiple sources it reflects badly on the business, making them seem disorganized or, worse still, desperate and no one wants to work for an employer like that. In the current market, where there is a shift of bargaining power in favor of the good candidates, employers can shoot themselves in the foot and miss out on the top talent.
  5. You’ll eat up a lot more time in administration hours. There’s a lot of double handling involved when employers brief multiple recruiters for the same job vacancy. You are better investing time in one recruiter who understands your firm, the culture and what makes a successful candidate. Who needs more paperwork, which just adds time and costs? You will also invariably be dragged in to adjudicate over multiple recruiters claiming to represent the same candidate. This never ends well, with double invoices or, worse still, litigation. The easiest solution can be to pass over the candidate altogether and choose someone else.

Better ways to fill vacancies…

To use an analogy from the legal world, using multiple recruiters is the equivalent of going to five lawyers to draft a shareholders’ agreement and only paying the one you like first.

If you do want the expertise and reach of more than one recruiter on a job there is a solution…

Offer an exclusive to one very well-connected recruiter, knowing that many recruiters are members of a network where they share their listings with other recruiters and in doing so, ask for the best talent from these resources, as well as their own. Lost Dutchman Search is part of NIRA – National Insurance Recruiter’s Association. This effectively widens the net for employers without requiring any extra effort. Recruiters with these kinds of arrangements are prepared to share their fee to make sure the client gets the best match for their opening.

The best advice is to build a relationship with an exclusive recruiter who is well connected and who has been in the market recruiting relevant candidate prospects for a long time. Also, to protect yourself, select a recruiter who is a member of a peak industry body like the Lost Dutchman Search and must abide by a strict code of conduct to protect both employers and candidates.

By Jason Elias with Elias Recruitment, specializing in placing lawyers throughout Australia. Jason is a longtime member of NPAworldwide, a previous director, and recipient of the 2014 NPAworldwide Chairman’s Award. Posted with permission and edited.