When employers approach their local recruitment agency to conduct overseas recruitment it is important to understand how they are able to reach out to overseas candidates. Unless recruitment agents have officers all over the world, they have no choice but to partner with 3rd party suppliers to attract and manage the candidate experience on their behalf.
Whilst partnerships are great, everybody wants to be part of the action, which can lead to increased costs for employers, poor candidate experience and questionable practices. In this blog we are going to focus on how overseas agents attract OET and IELTS passes within their local region. Many of these strategies could easily be replicated by employers to attract candidates directly, reducing their costs and improving candidates experience:
Most recruitment agents will have a database full of prospective candidates who have registered their interest in working abroad. Agents are very good at pooling and keeping in touch with potential candidates whilst they become ready to work abroad. Talking to some agents, they target nursing graduates, with the promise of working abroad, allows the agent to build rapport and loyalty over time.
Many agents will have a constant presents on job boards to ensure candidates become familiar with their brand, which in turn builds candidates confidence when they apply for jobs. Generally inexpensive, job-boards can attract and pool candidates locally, nationally and even internationally.
Probably the most common, but also the most expensive, agents will advertise their opportunities through local newspapers, local professional publications, radio and even TV. This is a great way to attract a lot of candidates over a short period of time and commonly used just before the arrival of an employer to interview large groups of candidates.
Recruitment agents will want to be part of any job fair or healthcare event to get their brand exposed and capture potential local candidates and employers. Event if they cannot attend due to cost, many will have representatives leafleting candidates inside and outside events and conveniently leave their business cards around the refreshment areas and employers stands. Some agents will be bold enough to participate in rivals’ interviews and seminars to capture potential candidates.
Finding healthcare candidates who have already passed their IELTS can be challenging, however your chances will be higher if you hang-out at the OET and IELTS review and testing centres, leafleting prospective candidates. Recruitment agents are aware that if healthcare professionals are already committed to attending review centres, they are committed to work abroad. So don’t be surprised to see a number of agents leafleting outside OET and ILETS review and testing centres.
Offering cash or a share of commission in exchange of IELT and OET passes contact details (with the consent of candidate) may seem questionable, but it isn’t illegal and commonplace in developing countries where many employers go to facilitate bulk recruitment. Whilst you may think everyone will do this, many review centres are happy to exchange cash for providing the same list of candidate information.
Agents are growing concerned that candidates who have already accept offers of employment may walk away to another agent, if that agent can offer a better deal or faster deployment. Many agents are offering candidates full or part sponsorship to attending IELTS and OET review centres, subject to signing a contract that commits the candidates loyalty with very hash financial consequences if the candidate walks away. This may appear fear, however with the costs of review centres which often reflects a nurses months salary, the candidate is often given no option but to accept the job they are being offered by the agent. Non-compliance often leads to the candidate being threatened and intimidation if the candidate chooses to walk away.
As competition for IELT and OET passes heats up, so does the lengths agents go to to attract candidates to ensuring they meet employers’ expectations. Many are offering IELTS and OET passes cash for attending interviews. These cash offers are often advertised openly in public newspapers and job boards and often leads to a contract being signed on the day of the interview that if the candidate is not deployed, they must pay it back, again leading to intimidation and harassment from agents when candidates personal circumstances change or they cannot be deployed which is out of the candidates control.
Very common strategy where there is a health professional shortage. In this strategy previous candidates can receive cash or vouchers if they refer a friend who is then deployed. A great way to spread word of mouth when candidates have had a great experience.
As agents become desperate to grow their own talent, many have resorted to develop their own fee paying OET and IELTS review centres, online website or mobile apps that appear to support the candidate as they prepare to undertake the test, however these often act as a front to attract candidates. Whilst in many territories, this is not allowed e.g. Philippines. Some agents will resort to opening a separate company to pipelines its students to its agency.
When employers have the expectation they will interview specialist professionals e.g. oncology nurses, many agents will target local hospitals. Visiting specialist wards to meet clinical managers and encourage them to refer their nurses. Many agents will place posters in staff cafeteria and staff rooms, targeting specific candidates and encourage them to work abroad.