Friday, 4 November 2011

The blame game.

Dear Hiring Manager

I was sorry to hear that John has left your business after only 2 months. However I am confused as to why you think this was my fault.

My role was to provide you with a qualified shortlist of candidates based on the criteria you gave me. The thorough recruitment process I undertook meant that my shortlist was accurate and I was able to provide you with detailed feedback on each candidate.  As well as the positives, I also advised you of any areas of concerns that I felt you should explore further during your own interviews.  After each interview, I spoke with the candidates and gave you their honest feedback, good and bad, and continued to update you with any relevant information during the process. After taking references, which again I did thoroughly and fed back to you honestly, you asked me to make John an offer.  At no stage did you express any concerns about the quality of the shortlist or John’s suitability for the role. In fact, I remember you being delighted to have found him.

Here's the thing:

I did not tell you to make an offer to John, nor did I put you under any pressure to make an offer at all. I am sure that if you thought none of the candidates were suitable then you would have told me to start again. The fact is that you decided to make an offer and you decided to make that offer to John.  This was after you interviewed him twice, your boss met him as did your HR.

So why are you blaming me? Your are the Hiring Manager; not me. You make the final decision; not me.

I appreciate that you are not happy with the outcome - trust me neither am I. But recruitment is not an exact science and any hiring decision has risk. My role was partly to do everything possible to mitigate that risk for you, which I did. If you have to blame anyone, blame John for not performing in the role. Blame your boss or HR for not spotting something. Blame yourself for making the wrong decision. Better still, don’t blame anyone. Accept that sometimes it just doesn’t turn out as expected, learn what you can from it and try and get a better result next time.

Yours Sincerely


PS – Feel free to not use my services again. However, you may find that the next recruiter you use is not as thorough or honest as I was – but at least you can then blame them a little bit more justifiably.


  1. Is it possible the 'blame' could be a recruitment charging model that sells an outcome, or a fee structure so high that it requires a 3-month guarantee...?

    It's not you, or him. Blame the game.

  2. Thanks for commenting Michael.
    I charge a fee only when I get an outcome and for the work I do to achieve that. Clients are willing to pay because they cannot or don't want to do the recruitment themselves. When you consider the time, cost and resources of them doing it themselves, plus the ROI that securing a good employee can have on a business then I don’t think the fee is too high. If it didn't make sense then business owners wouldn't pay for it and there would be no recruitment industry. They can't all be wrong.
    The guarantee is no reflection of the cost, it simply recognises that recruitment carries an element of risk and therefore we share that risk with the client. Common consensus is that it takes 3 months to evaluate if a new employee is going to work (hence why most companies probation periods are 3 months).

  3. Great discussion Luke. Can I (respectfully) debate a few points?

    >> If it (the cost) didn't make sense then business owners wouldn't pay for it and there would be no recruitment industry.

    There actually is a (large) segment of the market who won't pay for traditional recruitment services. Many SMEs in particular are 'priced out' of the market, but the trend is extending to larger corporates as well.

    Greg Savage has commented on this trend:
    "Increasingly, I now see a very deep cynicism of the value of third-party recruiters"... And it will send many recruiters who get it wrong out of business… soon"


    >> The guarantee is no reflection of the cost, it simply recognises that recruitment carries an element of risk and therefore we share that risk with the client.

    Yes, the risk is shared with the client. But like any risk, this needs to be priced into the service. Imagine a scenario where a client didn't want a guarantee (ie, they were happy to bear the full risk). How much would/could you reduce the contingency fee? (Hint: I don't think the answer is zero!).

  4. Thanks for your comments Michael.

    There will always be a section of the market that will not pay for traditional recruitment services, often for very justifiable reasons. For some companies and for some roles, it can be hard to justify using a third party and paying a service fee. Just because the traditional pricing model does suit not suit everyone, the industry should not see this negatively – it should not feel a need to position itself to be available to everyone. In this respect it is good to see different models, such as yours enter the market, that offer companies an alternative.

    I believe it comes down to offering value for the fee you are charging, similar to any outsourced arrangement. The ‘very deep cynicism’ that Greg Savage refers to, in my opinion arises not from the fee alone, but is a reflection of the poorer operators in our industry that have little regard for quality and give us all a bad name. If my experience as a client had been with a recruiter like this then I would be very cynical about the value of the service fee. However a large part of our industry remains dedicated to providing quality and being a ‘trusted partner’ to our clients (to quote Greg again!).

    Regarding the guarantee, it is my experience nearly all of the time that once a client has decided to pay for the service they appreciate the safety net of a guarantee. I would not advise a client to go down the route of a no guarantee, mainly because I don’t think it is a good idea. That being said, we do offer a no guarantee clause in our service and charge and reduce our fee by 15%.

    Whilst I accept the industry is changing dramatically, I don’t accept that traditional recruitment will die. Sure, those that cannot offer a value service will disappear (as they always have done) and recruiters will need to continue to meet the demands of their clients, and not just by filling their jobs ! This shifting landscape certainly opens up opportunities for new models like yourself, and I predict that in the future a number of different recruitment service models will exist for client to choose.


Thoughts, comments, observations....