How To Ensure You Earn a Placement Fee When Working With Former Employees
Placing a candidate back with their former employer can be a great win-win, but only if you’re meticulous about ensuring you’ll be paid!
Placing candidates with their former employees is something of a rarity – which makes it all the more important that you read up on how to proceed to safeguard your fee.
It goes without saying that if your candidate was fired for gross misconduct, the likelihood of your client wanting them back is next to nothing. But what about those who moved on for other reasons? How can you ensure you have the right to represent your candidate, whilst safeguarding your invoice?
This is arguably the most critical step in the process. You must know all the facts before you approach your client. What were the circumstances surrounding your candidate’s departure in the first place? Word of advice here – simply don’t take their word for it. Ask probing questions such as what impact did their resignation leave on the team? Did they offer to work out their notice period? Did they do a full handover or did they simply relax? These things may seem small, but trust me if the team had to pick up the workload they may have a different opinion of your candidate’s work ethic. In other words, they may not want your candidate back on their team.
Know who may block the hire and why
Is there someone who might not want to see your candidate rehired? We all know you can’t control what others think, but you must be aware of it.
What if it’s a decision maker? This clearly makes it more difficult, especially if this person is not your contact and you are unable to speak with them directly. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end of the road for your candidate. This is where knowing the full story before approaching your client plays a critical role. It allows you to handle any objections or questions your client may have and advocate for your candidate.
What does your own research say?
To be clear I’m not referring to backdoor references. But you will be surprised at the wealth of knowledge you already possess. Have you or your team interviewed anyone that has worked with the candidate previously? Has your client mentioned something that seemed “irrelevant” at the time but now you see the relevance?
Does anyone know the decision maker that may block the rehire? What can you learn about their management style and reputation in the business? Take a look on social media, have they rehired employees in the past?
Presenting your candidate
Unless your agreement expressly states you cannot represent a past employee, your client may still say “No, as we already know of them”. I strongly disagree with this, as without you bringing the candidate to their attention, they’re just another name buried deep in their database gathering dust.
It’s important to be able to articulate how your candidate’s experience has evolved since leaving. Have they now developed management skills? Maybe they’ve gone back to school and become certified within their area of expertise? Paint the picture for your client, have some clear concise examples ready.
Tell your candidate’s story, highlighting some of their past contributions to your client. Mention some of the managers that your candidate has previously worked with. Don’t stop here though. Discuss how your candidate’s skills and experience have evolved since leaving and how they can add value to your client. Remind them, your candidate already knows their culture, processes and systems.
Ultimately you can’t control the outcome. But as recruiters, it’s our job to advocate for both our clients and candidates. That means we sometimes have to have difficult conversations and deliver bad news. Whilst we can’t control the final decision, we can ensure honesty and transparency throughout the process. Remember the saying, “It’s not what you said, it’s how you made them feel”? A candidate who felt they received strong representation and honesty throughout the process will not only continue to work with you, they’ll also tell their colleagues about you.