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  • A Career Services Professional Asks: What Is Your Third-Party Recruiting Policy?

    July 01, 2020 | By NACE Staff

    Organizational Structure
    A group of career services professionals discuss their 3rd party recruiting policy.

    TAGS: ethics, recruiting

    Do you require third-party recruiters to reveal the name of the organization they’re recruiting for? Some universities and colleges do. Here’s the reasoning for career services professionals have for requiring disclosure of the organization the third-party recruiter represents:

    Institutions have different approaches to working with third-party agencies. At the past two institutions where I have worked, these questions always came up: Why do we need the client list? What do we do with it? Can third-party agencies recruit on campus?

    Essentially, our approach is this: We want all organizations to remain transparent with our institution and with students (NACE Principles for Ethical Practice), and in order to do that, we need to be transparent with the information we share with students so they can make educated decisions regarding the positions they apply to through our center. For this reason (and for employers that might have been suspended from recruiting at the institution), we require the organization to share their clients with us and to agree to our Staffing Agency Statement of Understanding and Compliance. We value our partnerships with and the opportunities that third party/staffing agencies provide for our students and want to make sure that we are all on the same page.

    The University of Texas at Austin is highly decentralized, and this is the approach our center has taken as it relates to staffing agencies and third parties. We are also making final updates to the statement of understanding to ensure full transparency in job postings.

    Summer Salazar, director of employer engagement, The University of Texas at Austin –Texas Career Engagement

    One reason we have [a disclosure policy] in place is to eliminate duplicate job postings. We ask the third-party to disclose the name of the company they are recruiting for and then we verify that the company hasn't already posted the position. We do not post the actual company name, but we inform the third-party that their position will not be posted if the original company has already posted the position.

    Heather Waite, career services specialist, Southeast Community College

    This agreement requires [a third-party recruiter] to be recruiting for either an employer (and they must disclose the employer name in the job ad) or for an internal position within their staffing firm. This policy is in place for transparency and to best protect the students.

    The biggest challenge a third-party recruiter will have with [this] policy is for either of the reasons below:

    There are times an employer engages a third-party recruiter intentionally because the position(s) they are filling are confidential. In my experience, a confidential fill of a position rarely means the employer is doing something shady. Often times it is because there is a larger business plan in play that hasn't been announced yet and they don't want to make the announcement until staffing is well under way. Among the reasons I have filled confidential positions have been because of an upcoming retirement that hasn't been announced to the team yet, the addition and opening of a new office location, and with start-ups, often times in advance of signing a deal for a new round of funding or an acquisition.

    Most often though, the third-party recruiting firm doesn't want to publicly disclose who their clients are so their competition can't easily steal their business. Typically, an employer will engage a few third-party recruiting firms to assist with filling a position so they have access to candidates they may not be able to access on their own. The majority of the time, a standard third-party recruiter agreement with an employer is contingency based, which means the recruiting firm only gets paid for their work if the employer ultimately hires one of the candidates they presented for the position. For this reason, third-party recruiting firms do not want to invite more competition.

    I will fully acknowledge not all third-party recruiting firms are created equal and some are not as ethical in their practices. If anyone has any additional questions about how third-party recruiters work, I would be happy to try to answer them. I am a believer that information is helpful in any decision-making process.

    Tiffany Appleton, associate director of employer relations, University of Massachusetts – Amherst

    We require disclosure but will maintain the confidentiality if requested. Here is why we require disclosure: We need to know if the primary company is inadvertently "competing" with the third-party firm they hired to assist them with talent acquisition. We always give the primary company the choice and we are transparent with both entities about this. This has happened—in which a primary company, say Acme Motors (sorry, won't use real names, but I do have real names/cases) is recruiting themselves while their contracted third-party staffing firm "People Source" (fictious) is requesting to post and/or recruit on campus. We will inform the primary company of the request, verify the contractual relationship, and ask them how to proceed. Sometimes the primary does not want the third-party firm involved with our campus and sometimes they do. We let the primary company decide—not the staffing firm.

    Kevin Gaw, executive director of Amica Center for Career Education, Bryant University

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