No industry is whiter than white, and most companies will cut corners here and there, but when your “product” is people, the way that you go about your business can have a huge impact on countless lives and families. Do business in the “right” way and you shouldn’t have too many issues, but if you cut corners, you risk not only your business but the livelihoods of those who do business with you.
All sorts of rules are there for a reason. Here are a few of the basic ones, which apply to recruitment, but there are many more. You should respect the privacy of a candidate’s information and only send their CV to a client with their permission. You should ensure that their personal data is stored securely, not in a wedge of “high potential” CVs at the bottom of a drawer somewhere. In many cases recruiters have a duty to due diligence – they should carry out detailed reference checks on candidates, in particular when they are senior executives. Do they educate their contractors with the latest employment regulations, and do they abide by all of them themselves? Do they check identity and the right to work?
Now, I’ll probably get a tonne of responses telling me that I am talking rubbish and that this is all basic Recruitment 101. I would hope that would be the case because none of this is hard to implement, but far from every agency will take the time to put all of this in place and ensure that the correct process is followed all the time. On paper, a recruiter has done their job when they have sent a CV over to a hiring manager, but in fact, there is a whole lot more that is involved sometimes.
The problem with compliance in recruitment is the fast-moving nature of the business.
Clients are competing for great candidates, recruiters are competing with each other for great candidates, and candidates are competing with each other for great roles…. You get the idea. There is a lot of impatience involved, and in this competitive haste, decisions are made that weaken the process. The company turns a blind eye to the referencing procedures, and they hire a convicted criminal. Recruiters send a candidate’s CV to a client without their permission because they are afraid that another recruiter will send it first, but they make a mistake and send it to the best friend of the candidate’s boss. A contractor is told that he can turn a blind eye to the tax obligations, but a year later he falls foul of the authorities.
This all happens. Maybe that’s partly what gave recruitment its cowboy reputation in the first place. Make a quick buck and hang the consequences. “Compliance, what compliance? They get the candidate that they want, don’t they? I’ve done my job, what more do I need to do?”
Next time you want to cut a corner, whatever industry you work in, please do think twice about the consequences. I don’t wish to sound boring, but rules are there for a reason.
Peter Giltrap, Director EdenGroup