Sadly, many of the actions of my colleagues in the recruitment industry have created a trust deficit between clients and recruitment consultants. I know this is a broad sweeping generalisation, and it is clear that the actions of a few have tainted the reputation of many.
One of the essential recruitment activities that has been affected by this trust deficit has been the taking of references by third party recruiters. In the past, recruiters would secure a verbal reference for a candidate by calling the nominated referee and wildly scribble down notes.
These notes would then be transcribed and sent to the client. With a greater trust deficit, clients now question the validity of this reference. Many now undertake the reference checking themselves. Interestingly, the need for verbal references has arisen out of a trust deficit concerning the authenticity of written references (and some pretty convincing legal decisions as well).
This week, the team at people2people shared a story about a reference that has prompted this post. In this story, technology has bridged the trust deficit by validating the comments of the recruiter. At people2people, we record our verbal references with, of course, the approval of the referee (whose granting of permission is also recorded). Our consultant had sent an audio reference to the hiring manager. At the same time, the line manager had in their own time initiated two very poor 'off the record' references.
Through our recorded reference, the hiring manager gained complete confidence in our consultant and went as far as to say that he liked the recordings and could tell we had fulfilled our duty of care to secure a genuine reference. So, just like the use of technology in sport, technology when recruiting can build trust and confidence. Not only have recorded references saved the time and the associated costs of transcribing a verbal reference, it has bridged the trust gap that a few unscrupulous recruiters have created.