China Contingency Recruiting Pitfalls
If you hope that your recruiter will do whatever it takes to find the best candidate for you, beware of the China contingency recruiter.
The contingency system leads to a rushed beauty contest of candidates—when what most companies desire is real data and consistently good hires.
Here’s what happens:
Companies looking for contingency recruiters are enticed by two and perhaps three apparently ideal possibilities that a China contingency recruiter offers, but the China retained recruiter will not touch for good reason.
A China Contingency Recruiter is Different Than a China Retained Recruiter
What do Contingency recruiters offer?
1. No upfront fee and therefore no risk
Really no risk? A contingency recruiter will not make you put up your money before you hire. That deceptively makes us feel less risk, but is it? The real risk is in a bad hire. The cost of a bad hire is much more than an up front fee. It eats up the organization for half a year and ends up back where it started. Why do I say it increases risk of a bad hire? I see that there really is no free lunch. If you give a recruiter nothing up front, then you make him unfairly take all the risk. He even unknowingly gets back at you by skimping on or blatantly abandoning honesty.
No one wants to work for no pay. So contingency recruiters are pushed too hard to package candidates and make them look better. They do this as lies are easier by far than finding great candidates at a good price.
In China, where the boundaries between the truth and lie are more opaque, the problem is many times higher. People can lie in China and not feel they are doing anything wrong, so the lies multiply. See 11 Things you Need for Excellent Executive Search China
My customers lament to me that decent recruiters in the US are horrible recruiters in China. They crossed the river and lost the last of their quality. The temptation is way too great with Chinese recruiters.
2. The client can pit recruiters against each other to get better service.
This really is enticing and seems so correct. Competition is good for us and for recruiters. That sounds so comforting. Such recruiters only get paid if they defeat the other recruiter. They must have better candidates and faster as the first to propose gets the money.
Unfortunately, true quality is damaged by the beauty contest that emerges. Appearances are already too important from the resume to the interview when what you need is real work. When one pits recruiters against each other, the pressure to be better in appearances is too great and falsification and cover ups multiply. Any candidate might capture the gut feel of some hiring manager if you can only find a way to get the guy in front of him or her. Getting to the interview and training candidates to succeed becomes preeminent.
In China that means anything goes. At first they try anything and later they realize the specific hiring manager weakness and go after it. This is not partnership. Contingency pits them against each other, but the result is that they do not partner with the client. That is what you really need. The contingency method keeps them at arms length by refusing to have mutual risk. Partnership is in name only if only one side has upfront risk. See also Executive Search China
3. It gets me more speed.
If one recruiter screens by interviewing for 90 minutes (us) and another for 60 and on down to the guy who interviews for one minute and trains the candidate for 4. Who will give you more candidates each day? Speed and success goes to the guy who pitches with no screening and more packaging. Now, there is no partnership with the hiring manager. The hiring manager is pitted against recruiters and candidates who are both trying to manipulate their gut feel. The method has put the hiring manager in deep water, and he or she does not even realize it.
China Retained Recruiter vs China Contingency Recruiter Wrap up
Who doesn’t want speed, no money upfront, and vendor competition? It all sounds so good but leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I cannot speak for all China retained recruiters. However, we at SHI Group refuse a system that leads to a rushed beauty contest when our customers need the real data and consistently good hires. See also our SHI Group China Intro Video