Is It Ethical to Profit From Candidates You Can’t Place?
As recruiters, we all deal with hundreds of job seekers on a monthly basis. As we search for top talent to present to hiring managers, we are left with a pool of candidates we can’t use. Many of whom will never be usable. Here’s why…
The Dreaded “Why Didn’t You Pick Me?” Question
I think the worst part about being a recruiter is having to deal with the job seekers who contact us asking why they aren’t getting any interviews. The moment we look over their resume or spend 30 seconds on the phone with them, we know what the problem is: They aren’t marketing themselves well. And, the reality is we don’t have the time, nor do we get paid, to make them more marketable. Sometimes we feel sorry for the candidate and take a minute or two to tell them what they are doing wrong, but that usually results in them assuming they can then start emailing us non-stop with revisions of their resume and questions about how to write cover letters or answer interview questions. Eventually, we make a conscious decision to help no one as a way to stay focused on our one and only goal: To find and work solely with talent we believe can actually get the job.
Is it Unethical to Profit From the Challenged Job Seeker?
Now, what if recruiters could direct all of those unusable candidates to services that would help them with their weaknesses – and get paid for doing it? There are lots of free blogs and advice sites out there, but we all know you get what you pay for. Most of the job seekers not getting hired are failing to market themselves properly to recruiters and need professional help. So, what if recruiters could refer these folks to an affordable service that provides the everyday professional with elite-level coaching? AND, get a referral fee for doing it? Sounds like a great idea, right?
I Thought So Too… But I Got Shot Down.
When I launched CareerHMO.com, a monthly membership site that job seekers can use online 24/7 to work with a career coach, my initial thought was to reach out to recruiters and see if they would want to be affiliates of our program. It seemed like a brilliant way for recruiters to earn extra income. By referring job seekers who weren’t doing a good job of marketing themselves to an affordable service that could help them, recruiters would not only get a fee, but assist the job seeker in improving their personal brand to the point that they might actually be worthy of submitting to a hiring manager. However, when I mentioned it to a recruiter I knew, he said: “I couldn’t do that. It would be unethical.”
How Is This Different From Other Social Media “Refer-a-Friend” Concepts?
I can see how recruiters at first might feel bad about profiting from people they can’t place. Especially, since the recruiter model has always been about only getting money on the ones you do place. However, I think it might be time to rethink this mindset. If getting the job seeker the help they need results in them being more marketable, then why shouldn’t a recruiter feel good about endorsing and promoting something that can help all those folks they come in contact with increase their job search skills and ability to get hired? How is this any different than other refer-a-friend campaigns?
Tell me your opinion: Is it okay to be a recruiter affiliate? Why or why not?
I think it’s time recruiters were paid for the leads they can generate. But, not without defining a set of guidelines that make the process feel ethical. What do you think?