I should warn you now. Today’s Whiteboard covers familiar territory. Now either I’m running out of ideas, or the same issue keeps gouging at our collective industry eyes’ like an Argentinian Lock. Over the weekend, the Herald ran a story regarding Anthony Kiro, a former professional League player, who through the use of forged documents, secured a job as a senior advisor at the Financial Markets Authority.
This is a story that could have been copied and pasted from any number of similar stories that have hit the headlines in recent years. Actually, knowing the Herald, it probably was. What I’ve noticed, is that the story usually follows the same format, detailed below.
- Brief outline of fraud
- Paint protagonist as ladies’ man/charmer/playboy. Highlight use of dating sites
- Comment from employer, usually “We take these things seriously and are reviewing all processes”
- Highlight that candidate was introduced by a recruitment agency
- Allusion that agency is to blame
- Comment from Private Investigator. Usually the handsome Danny Toresen
From the article, the agency in question appears to have done more than most, and all credit to Jane Kennelly for what looks like a sound recruitment process. However, it does re-raise (re-re-raise?) the question of what our actual job as agency recruiters is. Are we, as I’m sure the FMA are currently wishing, responsible for the full vetting service? Sourcing, selection, competency based interviewing, criminal history and academic record checks, plus the standard references? My personal view is that we’re simply not paid enough to do this. And given the number of candidates who get to the final hurdle only to never work for our client, the sheer volumes would make it unworkable.
The story is particularly pertinent to us here at Rice Consulting. We recently had an enquiry from an experienced recruiter, who strangely didn’t have a CV, as it was being written for him by a “professional” CV writer. An interesting start. He arrived for interview in a 3 piece suit, including bow tie. Not a “I’m cool and work in Britomart” bow tie. More like a “I have a man servant who irons my Financial Times each morning” bow time. The candidate had impressive academics, having studied at Harvard, Yale, and Oxford. Alarm bells ringing yet? Oh, and his Godparents? Sir Edmund and Lady Hillary of course. His father was also a Director of an English bank. Well, not just a bank, the bank. Of England. Suffice to say, he went no further than first interview. A week later, the same “candidate” hit the headlines. Have a read of the article…
My personal view, and being a director, one that is shared by at least one third of my employer, is that we’re more like a dating agency. If you and I (yes you, the attractive female recruiter who has a soft spot for opinionated Englishman) were introduced via a dating agency, went on to be married, and after a few years, you realised that I was a sociopath, would you blame the agency? We as recruiters are briefed by our clients to find someone who demonstrates the ability to perform specific tasks. We do all in our power to assess cultural and technical fit. We go one step further than a dating agency and take references. When it comes to permanent employment, it is our clients that extend a job offer. To my mind, they must take some accountability for the hire – good and bad. I’m sure as an industry, we’d be more than delighted to offer complimentary vetting services. However, this should come at a cost to our clients. Only then can we be made legitimate scapegoats.
And so to the future. It’s clear that we need to become better at explaining what we actually do. If we decide that the full vetting service is the responsibility of the recruitment agency, then so be it. We just need to be paid for it.
The other more likely option, is that we carry on in the no-man’s-land of vague accountabilities. Hey, at least it’ll give me another blog topic in six months’ time.
Happy Friday one and all.