The Sack Race

We’ve just sacked a client, and couldn’t be happier about it.

It’s slightly ironic that as recruiters we spend a considerable portion of our time talking to candidates about their frustrations where they are; why the position at Firm X isn’t working for them, how they feel badly treated, the difficulties they might have speaking to a particular partner, etc., yet still we largely still recruit for those same firms and have to speak to different candidates about the virtues of working there. It’s not just sales patter:- generally speaking you will find that most firms have particular attributes which Candidate A doesn’t like, but which you are confident will enable Candidate B to thrive. We all like different things, respond differently to various environments, act differently under pressure. That’s what makes us human.

An extension of that though is that at VG Charles & Co we take particular care of our candidates. That is what makes us ‘us’.

There is (at worst) a professional trust relationship involved when someone works with you to secure the next stage in their career. In truth though, it goes beyond that:- it tends to be that we actually like the people we work with. We want to see them do well and to be happy in a role. We’re not interested in having to work with that person again in 6 months time to secure their next move, we’d rather help them recruit their team around them over the next decade.

We recently had a situation where one of our clients treated our candidate in a way which we felt was poor. As a recruiter we maintain a two-way relationship in every hire, with the candidate on one side and the client on the other. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that not everything a candidate says to us about potential concerns or niggling doubts gets passed back to the client; similarly if a client has any slight concerns then these are not always discussed verbatim with a candidate, as the process needs to be as smooth as possible, and if a bit of recruiter-led discussion helps to resolve any of these concerns ahead of time then our job has been done well.

In this recent incident however we were left with a candidate who was consistently let down by our client, with promised offers not materialising, additional hurdles being thrown in to the process at every point and the constant ‘shifting of goalposts’ and missed deadlines, all being dealt with through one of the least professional and helpful individuals we have ever had to liaise with.

And the result? We’ve fired them. Sacked them off. Given them notice. Made it abundantly clear that we have no interest in working with them again.

We are very fortunate in that 99% of our clients are excellent. They are professional organisations who recognise the value we add to their business, by introducing quality individuals which in turn will improve the level of service they offer to their own clients.

In business, everything you do mirrors part of your service, even if it’s not under your direct supervision. If you manufacture cars your customer won’t be happy that it’s arrived with no rear windows, whether you’ve been let down by your glass provider or not. If you manufacture laptops your clients will be far from delighted when they turn it on to find your motherboard supplier’s delays have meant that you’ve had to ship it with last year’s technology installed.

Similarly for us we go to great lengths to secure the very best jobs for the very best candidates, and to secure the very best talent for the very best firms. We hold ourselves to the highest levels of professionalism and integrity. If our candidates prove to be unreliable then that reflects badly on us, and we refuse to work with them. We hold our clients to the same standards and if we are let down by them, irrespective of how understanding the candidate may claim to be, it reflects as poorly on our organisation as it does on the employer themselves.

So that’s it. Gone. It may seem like a client lost, but in truth it’s our reputation regained, an opportunity to reinforce how important our integrity is to us.

And we’ve never felt better.



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