My grandad ran a carpet shop on The Cally for over 40 years. The carpet trade was a fiercely competitive market back then, with sole traders running the market and no big “firms”. If a local would recommend his shop, they’d get “a taste”. A taste was a piece of the money they’d make from the recommendation, a kick back if you like. Was my granddads carpet better than the next guys? Who knew? It was all about “the taste”. That little wod of notes he’d put in the back pocket of the guy that “recommended” them.
The HR supplier market is no different today. Everyone’s at it! Everyone’s getting a taste. From the event organisers, to the gurus, to the agencies, to the fecking HR themselves, everyone’s getting a taste of something and in bed with someone.
On a weekly basis, we get asked to “recommend” someone for a taste. Do I do it? No. My credibility is worth more than the % of a deal you can put in my pocket and I would also lose a lot of the 64 supplier clients we’ve worked hard to build up over the last year. It would also shoot my credibility with the HR market. I get to sit down with 10-15 hr folk twice a month and hear what they’re issues are, at our round table discussions. I like that. Why the hell would I jeopardies the faith they’ve put into me and my events for a “taste”? I’d loss business quickly if I was feeding leads out to suppliers from information I got in a private environment.
This week, one of the biggest private employers in the UK asked me for a recommendation. I was honored. Of course i was. I’ve never been an in-house recruiter but they thought enough of me to ask. As i say,I was honored. I recommended two companies, both of whom I had heard good things about and neither of whom I was working with as a supplier to our events, or I was getting a “taste” off.
My own ethics aside, it’s bad for the industry. The great thing about this industry is we talk to each other and in doing that, we make credible recommendations. I’ve personally seen G4S and Sodexo swapping advice on recruitment suppliers. Do you think that would happen between the Marketing Directors of RBS and HSBC? Of course not. But peer to peer learning is at the heart of our industry, and that very quickly goes away if the integrity of those recommendations are put into question because of a personal gain.