Why We Turned Down $500,000 of Work

4 Jul 2018
By Abbi Vermey
executive search decisions

Its been a very busy start to 2018 for us. We have really felt the industry change – with optimism in the air, lots of movement and projects starting to take shape.

We’ve particularly loved having the opportunity to start working with new companies in different areas of the world, like Canada, Asia, Europe and even a few roles back home here in Western Australia.

Over the last few months, we’ve even had to decline a good chunk of work (close to $500k’s worth). One mandate being the opportunity to recruit three executive roles for an ASX listed developer. This was a significant piece of work for us, the company had given the go-head and we had high level candidates ready to take through our process. The only hitch being that this company, and the others we had to turn down, weren’t ready to commit to our ‘exclusivity’ terms.

What this meant was that other agencies would have also been able to present candidates, leading to a ‘CV race’ of sorts. While this is how a lot of the recruitment industry works, we know what needs to happen to find the right one; and in this case, it meant going against the norm, challenging convention.

We know that competing with other firms in a CV race leads to:

  • Compromising the quality of the candidates presented; with the driver of behaviour and measure of performance shifting to speed rather than quality.
  • A change in the nature of the relationships involved. It becomes a competition to send through a list of names rather than working together as a team to find the right person.
  • We know working in partnership with our clients to find them the right one for the job gets the best result.

We apply this philosophy to not only our clients but our candidates. How we work with both is different. Relationships with both are deeper and longer lived. This means there are certain things we won’t agree to, or compromise on, in order to find the right one:

  • We clearly define the job before we find people who can do it.
  • We dive deep to understand our candidates before presenting them.
  • We have a process, the A5 Way, and we know it works….

What’s the proof that it works?

  • We’ve had 100% success rate in filling exclusively retained assignments.
  • We have a 96% retention rate among placed candidates.
  • We’ve had feedback (NPS) that almost 90% of our clients would recommend us to someone else

Making these kinds of commitments isn’t easy. Nor are they taken lightly. But we have tremendous faith in our abilities and our processes. While our approach may have potentially cost us a good little chunk of money in the short term, we know that by bucking convention where necessary and being committed to all parties is how we find the right one.


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