Asking a recruiting agency to stop working on a job requisition can be difficult.
Attempting to terminate a headhunter contract can be even more painful. Both you and the agency have already invested a lot in making this business relationship worthwhile. It’s been an arduous process to even begin work; screening, vetting, getting a contract executed, getting through procurement. Now, after all of that, you realize it just isn’t right, so how do you spill the beans? How will the agency take it?
It could be argued that we shouldn’t know much on this topic because getting started and then disengaging with agencies is quick and simple on the BountyJobs platform.
We’re talking button clicks, not negotiations to terminate a headhunter engagement. Over the years, we’ve seen lots of messages accompany all of those clicks, and think that there is useful insight for anyone trying to break it off; with fancy schmancy technology, or the not-so-fun old fashioned way.
Severing ties is never easy. Here’s our best advice if you have no choice but to break it off the old fashioned way and terminate a headhunter contract.
Terminate a Headhunter Contract: Communication is Key
Remember that the employer and the recruiting agency only want to be engaged with one another while the chances for success are high. When the odds of success drop, the headhunter wants to know! They will urgently want to re-prioritize their high risk and high potential reward efforts.
So, in breaking things off, you are actually acting in everyone’s best interest. Changing up which recruiting agencies are in the mix mid search is becoming a normal practice. We aren’t suggesting that all headhunters on one search should be changed out, but adjusting a few along the way produces a faster time to fill and higher fill rates according to BountyJobs data. Recruiting agencies typically invest the most time on a search early on when first engaged, but more often than you might think they produce the best candidate after the first round of rejections.
Agencies use the feedback from the first round of candidates to hone in on exactly what is being sought. According to our data, many of the best placements happen in the second round. That doesn’t mean you should cut ties with an agency after the second round, many hires are made after that, but when activity slows to a trickle – new blood on the search can drive results.
What’s the Best Way to Say it?
We recommend speaking directly to the chances of success. Something like,
“Hi Joe, unfortunately, I think your efforts would be better spent elsewhere. Thank you for your effort, but given the candidates and feedback thus far, I just don’t want to waste any more of your time. Hopefully a future search will be a better match.”
Does that mean the recruiting agency won’t be disappointed? Of course not, but they will appreciate the honesty and begin to start thinking about where their odds might be better. And that’s a win-win for everyone! How do you break up with a recruiting agency? What has been your experience on how to terminate a headhunter contract? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!