Well, it *was* recently my birthday, not a milestone number but given what has happened the last few months, every birthday is worth celebrating. I love surprises especially for my birthday.

I equally dislike surprises at work. You know the feeling when you reach for your phone and see the name of a candidate who is due to start work tomorrow or a client calls you 20 minutes after an interview is meant to have started. These are the surprises we can all do without.

The worst surprises in my view are the ones that are preventable. As someone who has served on the Board of Directors for a long time and having a legal background, I have seen my fair share of ethical issues (but to be fair, relatively not that often given the size of NPA).

They often revolve around surprises. Keep your trading partners informed of what is going on in the process.

One trap is the area of guarantees. Many clients are now requesting non-standard guarantee periods or even money-back guarantees. Far be it from me to tell you how to run your business; however, I do have a few suggestions regarding guarantees that will make life easier for you to attract trading partners to work on your jobs.

  1. Stick to vanilla. "Creative" fee structuring and payment periods can turn partners off working your jobs
  2. Conditional guarantees. Make sure that any guarantee you offer is subject to timely payment of your fee (whatever period you decide; we have 14-day terms).
  3. When does a replacement kick in? Assuming timely payment, must be for reasons that the recruiter is responsible for, e.g. client not happy with performance or candidate leaves. NOT related to issues like redundancy or business restructures
  4. What does the guarantee cover? Ideally this should be to replace the fall-off within x days (we have 90 days) and nothing else (e.g. a credit on another job).
  5. If you cannot replace, then perhaps offer a pro-rated credit (although some recruiters advocate that we just provide a "best endeavours" approach to replacements).
  6. Replacements are a one-off; there is no guarantee on the replacement.
  7. If you have a money back guarantee, please call it out on Matchmaker in the guarantee field. For example “90-day replace or refund.” A partner should see this clearly stated upfront without seeking out fine print.
  8. If you offer a refund option, when you send the fee, please note that a refund is possible and that funds should be available for refund within 90 days. 

These are pretty standard and will remove the element of surprise.