The argument goes that if people really are your company’s most valued asset, why would you then sacrifice quality over speed in hiring them?

By introducing multiple agencies into the mix, clients are effectively stripping away the commitment of each recruiter. They might get the role filled faster but the quality will may suffer.

Agencies that work on a competitive contingency basis will seek to prioritise their ROI.

It comes down to self preservation and an agency can’t always afford to dedicate its efforts to chasing a payment that might not materialise.  

By removing exclusivity, businesses have created a culture of corner cutting and CV slinging that damages the reputation of specialist search.

Exclusivity moves the needle from “who can fill the placement quick enough”, to “finding the best candidate for the role”.

How then could shifting the emphasis away from speed, to quality, be damaging for the recruitment process?

Businesses and their reservations

Clients often believe that by splitting the job order they encourage recruiters to deliver a better service in a faster manner.

That they won’t fall victim to recruiters pulling a fast one and that they’re in fact opening the door to a wider candidate base.

Perhaps there’s a lot of truth in this argument, but, the reality is that for most agencies they justify their efforts against the ROI.

Ultimately, the service suffers when the agency loses interest.

When exclusivity fails

What happens when the agency doesn’t deliver on the promise they sold?

There are far higher stakes for a client when they’re tied into dealing with an agency that is unable to meet their needs.

Unfilled vacancies burn money in a company as does placing an unsuitable candidate. If a client has to go back to market or break their exclusivity it’s going to cost them.

It boils down to recruiters being honest about their ability to deliver on the job orders they’re taking on. If they can meet the brief then it’s in everybody’s interest to push for exclusivity.

If they can’t, then exclusivity is going to damage the client and damage the agency’s reputation.

You can then see why contingency acts as a safeguard for businesses, as they see it as a way of hedging their bets with candidates.

It’s for the recruiters to outline the reality of what they can deliver if they’re given exclusivity and what will happen if they’re not.

Reviewing exclusivity

Too many businesses rely on PSLs that have earned their exclusivity but then slip into complacency.

If an agency is meeting their client’s brief then they’re unlikely to be striving for innovative approaches to candidate generation or the recruitment process. 

Exclusivity is not the problem but having a PSL that stagnates is.

Good agencies are a commodity and exclusivity enables them when they’re honest about their ability to deliver.