This week I faced what could be seen to some as a bit of a moral and ethical dilemma in business.

I had a friend, who was the hiring manager of a business, advertise a role on Facebook. A role I knew would be perfect for a candidate I knew who had recently, through no fault of her own, been let go from the last role I placed her in. I checked she was still available, that she was keen, and thought it may be a quick and easy win for me in terms of a fee – but also seeing the candidate right and helping said friend/hiring manager. All was going to plan, I kept the candidates name out of the frame until terms were agreed, and otherwise things were lined up perfectly.

Until I found out that the friend/hiring manager/potential client had no budget to use agencies and so there was no fee to be achieved. In my case I’d already sent the job details to the candidate, so she knew it existed and could have applied direct anyway, but regardless I did what I believed was right and put her forward with a strong recommendation.

It got me to thinking, how would/should I handle that in future? How would other recruiters? I’m running a business, not a charity or personal recruitment referral network. Next time would you keep that role a secret until you knew you could definitely profit from it?? This candidate could have been worth a reasonable dollar value to the business. If I hadn’t told her and just liaised with the hiring manager/friend, she’d have been none the wiser and I could hang on to her as I know she’s a walking placement to the right client.

Do people do this? Would everyone in this situation have risked ‘losing a fee’ by seeing the individual got what they really deserved? I’m not so sure.

I wrote a post on LinkedIn that very morning, proud of the fact I’d lined up a temp role for someone and didn’t take a fee. Because we don’t do temps and I wanted to help the candidate and client out. Two hours later I’d potentially done it for a permanent candidate too – but that is our bread an butter. It’s early days at Love Monday and part of me is like ‘jeeeeeeez Louise’. How are you ever going to establish yourself as a profitable business if these things keep happening? But they will happen, Auckland is a small market, not everyone has an agency budget available.

This time I put emotions and self-doubt out of the equation and I learned from the experience. I remembered how important integrity is to me and my business model, and I sold that candidate in again for good measure.

In my opinion the real personal touch in recruitment is seeing the candidate as a person, and not just a walking dollar sign. They have personal commitments, career goals, and feelings! The question above for me is easy; how would I handle that in future? I’d do the same again, every time. The jobs will come, the candidates will come, and the fees will come. And I can be proud that they came from doing the right thing for the people we represent.