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Recruitment Agency – Friend or Foe?

October 5, 2021

This year Buckmaster Hawkey is celebrating 40 years of recruiting and consulting for the Melbourne real estate and property industry. Indeed, we are the first specialist real estate recruitment consultancy in Melbourne founded in 1981. In all those years there has only been one change in ownership (following the retirement of our Founder, Pam Newton) and our recognized ethical stance remains consistent.

Over the years an increasing number of competitors have come into our space. We have been privy to experiences both clients and candidates have shared around recruitment etiquette, which is of great concern. These behaviors are practiced by some long-established companies, not just new kids on the block.

We have no issue with competition so long as our competitors operate ethically with all parties – such as the recognized recruitment code of conduct as set out by the Recruitment Consulting & Staffing Association of Australia & NZ (RCSA). The RCSA is an industry member body just like the REIV is to real estate agents. Sadly, there are a lot of recruiters out there who obviously do not operate under an ethical code of conduct, and are not, or never have been a member of the RCSA.

To date, we have let these negative experiences shared with us go to the keeper, but as the same things keep happening, we feel compelled to remain silent no more! These practices include but are not limited to:

  • Not gaining permission from a candidate to represent them to a specific company. This can lead to a representation dispute with you, the employer, being subjected to a fee argument between recruiters and possibly against you
  • Emailing resumes all over Melbourne unbeknown to the candidate in the hope of securing an interview with an employer
  • Candidates in some cases never being interviewed by the recruitment consultant/agency, a mere phone chat
  • Recruitment Consultants not taking a proper job brief and sending inappropriate candidates
  • Gossiping and airing confidential information about a real estate business to other companies
  • Telling a hiring manager that a staff member of theirs is in the job market
  • Inappropriate referees (not directors or report to managers of former employers) or, in some cases no reference checks carried out at all!
  • Canvassing employees of a client they do business with or, even worse, approaching a candidate they’ve placed after the replacement benefit term has expired and placed them elsewhere!

Now I don’t know how any of the above sits with you, but just by writing it makes my blood boil! There are so many things wrong with this sort of behavior that breaches privacy and ethical conduct on every level! If you use recruiters, I urge you to always satisfy yourself that you’re engaging a reputable organization that is a member of the RCSA, or at least establish what their policy is around ethical practice and privacy.

We see some employers under a lot of pressure to fill a role when recruiting for a permanent vacancy (particularly property managers, as the worrying shortage continues – but that’s another story!). They then subscribe to the practice of ‘get as many recruiters involved as I just want candidates’. That is certainly one recruitment methodology, although not one we’d recommend as you risk exposing yourself to behaviors mentioned above.

Let’s face it, recruitment fees are not cheap so if you elect to engage a recruiter, align your business with an ethical company whose consultant takes the time to understand your needs, expectations, and culture and who practices the art of providing a thorough consultative service, so you get value for money.

There, after my 20 years in the game, it’s finally been said! If you have been a victim of wrongdoing and wish to know more about the professional code of conduct feel free to make contact with us today.

Mark Appleby
Recruitment Director – MRCSA
Buckmaster Hawkey