Filler Candidates - what they are & why we don't send them

By Orla Treacy

Clients regularly tell us that they receive unsuitable candidates from agencies that appear to be sent as “fillers” – these are candidates that are sent to fill space but are not actually suitable for the position, they are filling a space to justify the agency retainer fee. We often explain that this is a product of clients engaging agencies on a retained basis, i.e. paying them a large sum of money without receiving concrete results. At Accelerate, we do not charge any fee unless we successfully fill a vacancy and therefore there is no financial incentive for us to send “filler” candidates.

When a client pays a recruitment agency two-thirds of their fee up-front to simply deliver candidates, it makes it easy for the firm to send profiles that may not be entirely suitable for the role, just so they can justify the fee payment. The agency can then relax as the majority of the money is in the bank and convince their clients to interview the presented candidates because that is what they are finding in the market.

By removing the retainer fee, the client removes the incentive for the recruitment agency to send irrelevant candidates as the client and the agency have the same objective, which is to fill the vacancy with the best possible candidate in the most favorable timeframe.

We change the dynamic between the agency and the client entirely, which is rather unusual at an executive level, but it guarantees quality service for our clients because the only thing that will happen if we send “filler” candidates is that we will lose a client (and a potential fee). From a candidate perspective, it also avoids us wasting candidates’ time by including them in processes they don’t have a chance of successfully completing. It is a win-win situation for all involved.