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Backdooring Candidates - Bad Form!

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Backdooring Candidates - Bad Form! 

We’ve all been there. 

You pick up the phone to yet another enquiry and proposal from a client, only to remember that they haven’t yet finalised or paid the commission due from a previous hire; or that they never actually got back to you regarding the final selection of a candidate. 

In the world of recruitment, unfortunately both clients and candidates often think that they have all the power to act how they like. This can lead to everything from unpaid commission bills to unread emails and ghosted phone calls. 

Then, before you know it, the company client is adding the chosen new recruit to their company website without having the courtesy of letting you know the position has been filled. 

It’s like going on a first date and thinking it’s going well, until you never hear from them again and see them posting all over social media with a new fling.

This article looks a little more closely at the client side of things, uncovering a few of the red flags and warnings signs to look out for regarding those clients who will leave you high and dry as soon as they’ve got what they need. 


What does it mean to ‘backdoor’ candidates, and how does it work?


The concept of backdooring candidates is one which is such a common issue in the world of recruitment, whereby the company will reject a candidate through you as a recruiter, only to recontact the candidate themselves a few months down the line and bring them into the company – crucially, without paying you any fee at all.

Some would call this stealing, and they wouldn’t be far off.

The fact is, this process allows the recruiting agency to do all the hard work in sourcing and vetting candidates; getting the very best names over to the company, only for the company to turn them down and state that the vacancy has been unfilled… for now. 

Or at least, until they can get in touch with the individual themselves and present them with their perfect job – without the intervention of a recruitment agency at all. 

One question we have – why do companies think they can get away with this? 

And why do so many companies believe that they are entitled to receive and benefit from the services of a recruitment agency without paying a single penny?


Why do clients expect recruitment agencies to work for nothing?


If a company decides to bring in a recruitment agency, it’s because they don’t have the time, the skills, or the resources to manage their own hiring process. By bringing in an agency to support their recruitment process, they benefit from a dedicated individual or team who are committed to sourcing the best candidates for each available role, getting each vacancy into the broadest marketing spaces, and ensuring that only the best of the best are put forward to the interview stage. 

Like it or not, the recruitment process for the agency is long-winded and arduous, but when the right candidate ends up in the right position, it’s all worth it.  

One of the biggest challenges, however, is in making it completely clear where ownership lies, and in ascertaining who the recruiter is working for (SPOILER ALERT: it’s not the candidate).

99% of the time, the recruiting agency is working directly for the company client. So, WHY is it that so many recruitment agencies are going unpaid by their clients? And are candidates even aware that this is an issue? I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I would want to work for a company that doesn’t even have the moral courtesy to pay the recruitment agency it selects to work with…

It all comes down to the power that the client unfortunately knows they have over the agency. 

Think of it this way – as a recruitment agency, particularly if you operate in specific niche industry, you are limited in the number of clients you can and do work for. What this means is that you can’t afford to irritate clients – and they know that. As soon as you pick up the phone or start dropping emails chasing payment, the client could walk away – and that would leave you, the agency, without a client. 

The world of recruitment is so intrinsically linked to and balanced atop solid relationships, and agencies will do whatever they can to avoid breaking those relationships. Even if it means letting a payment drag on well beyond the realms of being considered “overdue”. 

The biggest problem? Clients get away with it BECAUSE THEY CAN.


The red flags to look out for…


Has the company worked their way through a number of different recruitment agencies in the past? If so, you have to ask yourself why that may be. 

Keep an eye out for clients and companies who work with multiple agencies at a time. One of the biggest issues being experienced by recruitment agencies is the competition that clients create, by working with multiple agencies – sometimes turning a candidate down through one agency, but then selecting the same candidate through another agency. This shows that the client is not committed to work with you as an agency but is more focussed on their own interests – indicating a poor business relationship.


And finally, a tip. 


Keep your terms of business contract as watertight as possible, and make sure you cover every eventuality under the agreement before you start working with a client. That way, in the case of any future disputes, you know you are covered. 

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