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I just spent a portion of the last 3 weeks in an entertaining exercise just for the sheer fun of it. Since I’ve been extraordinarily blessed these past 2 years with a surge in business – I found myself in a unique position of being able to joust with a client for the pure sport of it.
I did not really want to do business with this particular client that sent us “their agreement”. In fact, we ended in a stalemate over their insistence on agreement language twice before.
This time instead of saying “no” I decided to engage in a negotiation process just to see where it would wind up. I was having a lot of fun with the HR Director in the meanwhile.
As some of you that have followed my previous white papers and articles already know, I have written about the many outrageous clauses client companies insert into their “official” company recruiting agreement. Just search “Frank Risalvato” and “clauses and agreements” in Google and you’ll find several of my writings.
When this particular company last month stated “We’ve had many national search firms sign our agreement with no problems whatsoever” I was naturally intrigued to read the conditions my supposed colleagues and peers are signing and agreeing to.
I was quite shocked to find what “national firms” (I won’t mention names disclosed to me) are signing and agreeing to. These are the same national firms whose presidents and heads are often lecturing in front of recruiting audiences on the national training circuit preaching the exact opposite of what this company was telling me they agreed to put their pen to.
Here’s the one clause I had big issues with and why:
- Agency hereby represents and warrants that all information provided by Agency to CLIENT regarding any prospective employee candidate will be true and correct. Further, Agency agrees that Agency will verify all information on the resume of any prospective employee candidate referred to CLIENT, including but not limited to, places and dates of employment, job titles and salaries.
Now I ask you to study the above clause and tell me what your thoughts are?
Notice that this company wants me (the search firm official) to “…represents and warrant(s) that all information…” about a candidate “…will be true and correct…”.
All information means:
- Anything put into an employment application
- Anything stated verbally during an interview
- Anything revealed in letters of references
- Anything (and everything) contained in the resume
This request is impossible for any recruiter to warrant.
Even NAPS standards found here http://www.recruitinglife.com/aboutnaps/SEPRecruitersClients.cfm include the suggestion that a disclaimer of liability is inserted for those recruiters desiring to protect themselves. Rule #1 on NAPS guidelines includes:
Clients shall be advised by the recruiter if the recruiter disclaims liability for the accuracy of any information it transmits to the client.
While NAPS rules don’t go so far as requiring us all to use disclaimers, the mentioning of this on a national association ethical practices list as one of the first items certainly makes it an important point we should consider when it comes to limiting what we can promise and warrant.
Anyone signing and agreeing to the above clause is in my opinion lying to the client as it is impossible to “warrant” “all information” a prospective candidates spits out and spews forth at every step of the process.
As for the second portion, what if the resume goes back 20 years? 25 years? Then what? What if previous bosses are dead? How do we verify “all information” on a resume???
Again, it’s impossible to uphold this clause!
Yet, branch offices of national search firms signed off on this agreement with a prominent national company that has multiple divisions.
I did not sign off on this request and made it clear to the client why I could not.
This is yet another example of the long, laundry list of lopsided clauses companies will attempt to have our industry sign – and are apparently successful at achieving.
When you stand your ground on ethics, standards, and best practice … not to mention sheer common sense … you may lose a few interviews but gain better sleep by knowing you are helping elevate our industry from succumbing to foolish demands. Not to mention, protect your own rear end from frivolous lawsuits.
Within two years after leaving the corporate world for the search industry Frank Risalvato was earning $21,000 single fees – rivaling his previous annual salary on a semi-monthly basis. He founded www.iresinc.com, the search firm he continues to operate today. Today his fees average $37,500 and he works on multiple positions in the $150k range monthly. His recruiter training site now features his newest book “A Manager’s Guide To Maximizing Search Firm Success”. Click the preceding link or the book cover below for the amazon.com order page and buy a handful to share with your clients. 704-243-2110.
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