Candidate ownership. What even is that?

Candidate ownership. What even is that?


Over the past few months, I have had some interesting conversations with clients around what constitutes candidate ownership from a recruitment agency perspective. 

There are those companies that are under the assumption that if they “already know” of a candidate, that has been represented for a specific role within their organisation, why should they pay a recruitment fee. There are also companies with a more black and white approach whereby unless the candidate has directly or indirectly applied for a position with company X in the last X amount of months, the recruitment agency is free to represent him or her to their organisation. There seems to be a lot of grey area around this topic and I wanted to put my thoughts down in writing about it all...

This had me thinking about it all and here are my two cents:

• Yes, you are going to come across candidates that you know / know of in the market as the technology ecosystem in Australia, while booming, is still relatively small. Is that a reason to not continue to utilise the recruiter / agency after they have put forward candidate X? 

• Sending a blanket LinkedIn message out to hundreds of candidates in the market and then using that as justification since “you have already spoken to candidate X” doesn’t really make sense if the candidate hasn’t even acknowledged your message.

• Even if you know a candidate, did you know they were open to new opportunities? Do you know what would make them leave their current job / motivations? Did you actively approach them and sell them the idea of why they should join your team?

• My advice is to ensure you have a somewhat black and white process. Ie) if the candidate has interviewed with your organisation within the last 6-12 months (this part needs to be discussed) you will not utilise the recruiter in this instance. Hopefully the recruiter / agency can cover that off early on in the process to avoid any awkward conversations down the track. It’s best to have the conversation upfront so everyone is on the same page. 

Recruiters and agencies get a bad rap a lot of the time, some of which is totally justified, however I think most companies only see the front-end aspect of recruitment which is usually the CV and an overview in the hiring managers inbox. What goes behind the scenes is a very different picture and one that I believe most recruiters don’t get enough credit for. 

For instance, we have worked with companies that have gone through massive changes (sometimes for the worst) that have negative press articles (this is easily found by doing a google news search for the company) or perhaps their glass door rating is averaging 2.5 out of 5. Maybe the company has just lost 5 people last month or they have a “toxic culture” - the list goes on. The amount of times a candidate “knows someone that worked there” who had a terrible experience and is completely put off even interviewing would surprise most hiring managers. Invariably, there are countless reasons why a candidate wouldn’t want to be represented to a particular company and a sound recruiter should be able to articulate (honestly) why this company / role may in fact be the perfect fit despite their preconceptions. 

I don’t want to get into a “why recruiters charge what they charge” article, I’ll save that for another rainy day, however I feel it’s important to have the conversation about this and I would love to hear others thoughts, recruiters, hiring managers and candidates. 

Let me know what you think, agree / disagree?