Recruitment consultants are an interesting group of professionals in as much as their jobs require them to continually balance the needs of multiple parties without compromising loyalty to their clients. The job of the consultant is part sales representative, part coach and part hunter, all rolled into one. It is certainly not a job that anyone can do effectively.
What does the recruitment consultant do? In a nutshell, he or she works on behalf of client companies to find and recruit workers to fill job vacancies. As a consultant, he or she works with HR departments as an extension of what they already do for recruiting and hiring. However, they also work as an advocate of sorts for job seekers looking to apply for a specific position. And therein lies the balancing act.
Responsibility to Clients
Every business relationship comes with something known as fiduciary responsibility. This responsibility dictates a company’s obligation to look out for the best interests of clients in exchange for being paid for one’s products or services. Where hiring and recruiting is concerned, recruitment consultants have a fiduciary responsibility to look out for the best interests of those client companies paying them to recruit.
This fiduciary responsibility starts by making an effort to understand clients and how they operate. Consultants need to know exactly what clients are looking for in terms of skills, training and worker temperament. They need to understand the working environment in order to understand what the ideal candidate for an open position looks like.
Recruitment consultants must then take their knowledge and use it to find the best candidates for a given job. Fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility means doing whatever it takes to find the best talent. That means the consultant must be willing to invest his or her own time, money and resources in order to meet the client’s need. Furthermore, all this must be done while still relating properly to job seekers.
Responsibility to Candidates
Recruitment consultants have certain responsibilities to job candidates as well. There may be no fiduciary responsibility as there is with company clients, but consultants still need to treat candidates fairly and ethically. For example, a consultant has the responsibility of presenting a job opportunity with all openness and honesty. Misleading a candidate in order to entice him or her to accept a position they otherwise would not have considered is both unethical and unacceptable.
Recruitment consultants also act as negotiators on behalf of job candidates. They may negotiate salary and benefits, among other things, in order to encourage the best candidate to take a job. However, this is no easy task. The consultant must do what he or she can to entice the job seeker without violating his or her fiduciary responsibility to the client. This is what makes the job of the recruitment consultants such a challenging balancing act.
Driving all of this for the consultant is his or her own pay. In most cases, recruitment consultants are paid by clients for every hire. This means the consultant wants to sign a job candidate as quickly as possible in order to be paid. At the same time, providing clients with unsuitable workers is the fastest way to lose those clients. The successful consultant therefore must be a skilled negotiator and sales representative all at the same time.
Next time you work with a recruitment consultant to find a job, consider how difficult the job is. He or she is trying to keep everyone happy so that everyone benefits.