The process of recruitment owes its success to relationships. These include the relationships:
- Between the recruiter and potential candidates
- Between the recruiter and companies
- Between the recruiter and other recruiters and headhunters in the industry
The one relationship that poses an ethical dilemma however, is the one between the recruiter and a candidate for whom they have already found placement. On one hand, it often proves helpful for the recruiter to maintain contact with potential candidates in various fields; because these professionals are the best candidates for different positions as they were to open up. On the other hand, maintaining a pool like this – often referred to as a pipeline – can be viewed as unethical because in certain cases, the recruiter is actually poaching a professional from a position that he/she is already serving.
It is universally acceptable to keep resumes on file for candidates who have been pre-qualified but who did not manage to get a position – perhaps because they did not fit the culture of the organization. It is however, another thing to continue maintaining a relationship once you have already found a position for the candidate; hence the dilemma.
Reasons for Keeping in Touch with Candidates after Hiring
There are cases in which the recruiter may feel the need to maintain contact with a new hire, for the purpose of evaluating their progress and ensuring that they are serving the new company effectively. While the recruiter may be reaching out in good faith, may be misconstrued as unethical.
The main reason for this is that, monitoring the new hire may cause the candidate to take longer to adjust, if he/she becomes dependent on the recruiter. For instance, if he has a grievance at work, he may be more inclined to share this information with the recruiter, as opposed to dealing with it at company level. The recruiter here would inadvertently become an intermediary, which would be counter-productive for all parties involved.
What to do Instead
In cases where the recruiter or headhunter would like a progress report on how the new hire is performing at the company, it is better to reach out to the company directly, rather than the candidate. Managers and other supervisors at the company are more likely to give objective feedback that the recruiter can then apply, which they can then use to improve their recruitment strategies.
Another reason why recruiters are inclined to maintain contact with professionals after placement, is to provide career support. This is mostly true in cases where career transition support is part of the package that the recruiter is offering – either to the candidate or the company. As part of this package, the recruiter may offer coaching and personal branding support.
As with most relationships, the one between recruiters and candidates requires that both professionals consciously maintain boundaries. This is especially true on the part of the recruiter because more responsibility rests with them. They need to distinguish between what to share with the client and what not to, including topics that relate to work.