Most Recruitment Guarantees are Pointless

Imagine for a moment that you’re in the boardroom with a prospect and it’s your job to convince them that they should give you ALL of their vacancies.

What can you say to them that they haven’t already heard before?

Today I’m going to share with you one of the most effective questions you can ask to a prospect to win that retained or MSP recruitment contract you’re chasing after.

When you get this right, you can effectively win the prospect onto your side in that very moment.


Uncomfortable Questions

A popular element of the i-intro® process is teaching recruiters how to create, pitch, win and deliver retainers and MSP contracts.

And a key part of the i-intro® method is to ask the prospect questions that expose the weaknesses in their current strategy, or even the weaknesses in the current contract they have with another recruiter.

The idea is to position yourself, not so much as a recruiter touting for business, but as a consultant who is on the same side as the prospect and in a position to identify and fix inefficiencies and problems in their hiring strategy

There are various questions, depending on the industry and size of the employer, that have powerful effects, but here’s one of my favourites…

Q. What is your attrition rate after 12 months?

A response of “70-80%” is common. Some will claim a retention rate around 90%, but this is unusual and doesn’t tend to hold up to scrutiny. It actually doesn’t matter. The point is to get a baseline figure on the table to work from. It’s what comes next that ignites the powder.

The above question can be followed with a discussion of how retention rates can be improved. The i-intro® method typically delivers 96% retention after 12 months, so this is a good selling point. But that comes later. Here comes the follow-up question…

Q. What is the average length of time before you let a bad hire go?

Unless the prospect has all of the metrics to hand, this is a tricky one to answer with precision. But most can offer up an estimate. A response of “6-9 months” is typical.

If you’re on the ball, you’ll already have guessed what my next question is…

Q. How long is your current recruiter’s money-back or free replacement guarantee?

The response is usually around 3 months, but can be as short as four weeks.

The follow-up questions write themselves…

Q. What is the point of a guarantee that is SHORTER than your average retention period? Wouldn’t it make sense for your recruiter to offer you a policy that is LONGER than your average?

Every prospect, by this point, will understand exactly what you’re getting at. Of COURSE a guarantee policy should be longer than the retention average. Which means their current recruitment rebate policy – or that being offered by a rival recruiter, pitching for the same contract – is pointless.

And then, after helping them identify the problem, I offer to solve it…

What I’m willing to do for you, Mr Prospect, is offer you a 12-month, free replacement policy. This will more than cover your current retention average and ensure that we take on ALL of the risk.

I cannot even begin to tell you how powerful this exchange is.

Outside of i-intro® recruiters, almost NOBODY is offering this. And, frankly, many recruiters, especially the die-hard transactional recruiters, would be AFRAID to offer a free replacement policy of this length.

Even if they KNOW that this is one your core USPs, they won’t have the guts (or at least the maths) to match this.

And your prospect knows this.

This exchange, on its own, can win you business. But it’s just one element in the retained and MSP strategy that i-intro® teaches its clients.

Mitigating the Risk

The chief reason why i-intro® recruiters can offer such extensive replacement policies is because our strategy delivers unusually high retention rates. In the 12 months from a new hire’s start date, retention is in the high 90s. I’ve even seen i-intro® recruiters, on occasion, hitting 100%.

But even then, sometimes I get pushback from recruiters who are nervous about taking on all of the risk.

It’s all very well to offer a free replacement policy of 12 months on a single assignment, but what if I take on an assignment for 100 roles and half of them leave after six months because the client has a toxic workplace?

This is a fair question. And while it’s unlikely for something like this to occur without you being able to pick up on the warning signs during the meetings with your client, if you’re taking on a large volume of assignments it makes sense to consider your financial exposure.

In these instances, you can add some protection to the policy by requiring the client to meet certain quality levels for them to qualify for the 12-month policy.

The approach we recommend is to survey new hires after one month, three months, six months and twelve months, asking them questions about their satisfaction with the role, their manager, company resources, and so on. The employee’s answers are scored on an objective scale and they have to reach a certain level on every survey for the free replacement policy to be valid for that individual.

This drastically reduces the risk of you having to refill a role because of circumstances that are out of your control.

Employer’s rarely complain about this proviso because to do so would be to essentially admit that they don’t properly care for and manage their workforce. In fact, if the employer does object, this should be a massive red flag that this prospect might be a “problem client” in waiting.

On the other hand, the smartest employers WELCOME this provision because the results of these surveys can help them identify problem areas in their own business. For example, one i-intro® recruiter operating under an MSP, made good use of these questionnaires and discovered that of the client’s branches was consistently achieving below-par scores. This prompted the client to investigate and resolve some management issues they hadn’t even realised were a problem.

To say the client was grateful is an understatement.

Think about this for a moment.

A provision that helps you mitigate the risk of your free replacement policy is seen as a valuable and welcome element of your overall recruitment service.

This is why this is one of my favourite i-intro® strategies.


Most recruiters that offer guarantees or replacement policies do so because it helps them close deals. It’s a nice line to add to the list of benefits.

It isn’t that recruiters are deliberately offering guarantees they know to be pointless. It simply isn’t given that much thought.

But now you know better.

And once your client’s and prospects know, and can compare these ineffectual offerings to your generous policies, you’re a huge step closer to winning that retained or MSP contract.


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