Recruitment has been particularly challenging over the past few months. Even though there was some hiring following the August holiday season, the same old issue of employers “ignoring the headhunter once a candidate has been presented” is back with a vengeance.
Let me break it down for you: After many conversations and coffees between the headhunter and hiring manager, it is finally agreed that the vacancy is not going to be filled via employee referrals or internal mobility. Even better yet, the hiring manager now has sign-off to engage a recruiter.
Generally what follows next is a sense of urgency never seen before from both the hiring manager and HR. They stress that the role needs to be filled ASAP and that only A-grade candidates, with skills and experiences that match the job description verbatim, will be considered. Initially this is music to our ears – finally a firm has approval and appetite to undertake recruitment!
A puzzling vanishing act
Once a candidate shortlist is presented, the process tends to go awry. Suddenly the hiring manager, who was only recently telling you how important this role is, can no longer be located. It’s almost as if they have fallen of the face of the earth; direct lines are not answered and emails are not responded to. The same goes for the HR person, whose phone is constantly on voicemail.
While the headhunter ponders the curious disappearance of the client, the job seeker naturally questions the recruiter about what is going on. This makes for difficult conversations as the candidate doubts the organisation’s commitment to hiring. This, along with the MIA line manager, does not make for a rosy situation.
This game generally plays out for a period of time without any contact from the prospective employer, so both headhunter and candidate move on. Fast forward a month or so later, when the hiring manager re-emerges, and the response is either “we managed to fill it directly” or “we lost the headcount”.
Please, just say something
Come on employers, you may be surprised, but we do understand that things can change suddenly and headcount can be pulled. We get that banks will always be looking at internal candidates or referrals – no matter what. But there is also no need to disappear and ignore our calls and emails. A simple update is all we need. If there are issues, tell us – we can then manage all parties’ expectations. That’s not so hard now, is it?
The author is a financial services headhunter in Singapore. The views expressed are his own and not those of eFinancialCareers.
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