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Fake Recruiters

Posted By APSO, Monday, 30 November 2015
Updated: Sunday, 15 November 2015

Fake Recruiters


The unethical posting of fake online job adverts by fake agencies is becoming more prevalent in South Africa. CNBC Africa is joined by KC Makhubele – Vice President of APSO.

Click here to view the broadcast.

Tags:  APSO  APSO Code of Ethics  APSO members  codes of professionalism  CV  ethics  fake recruiters  job search  professional body  vacancy 

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HR Future LITE: Complimentary November 2014 Issue

Posted By APSO, Friday, 28 November 2014
Updated: Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Herewith the complimentary digital edition of the November 2014 issue of “HR Future LITE” 

To view the November 2014 issue of HR Future LITE, please CLICK HERE or on the cover below. To become an HR Future member and gain access to all the articles in the complete version of HR Future (R950 ex VAT for 12 months), email Chantal at

Tags:  Age management  APSO  ethics  HR technology  Leadership  qualifications  SME  Stress management 

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It's a Question of Ethics

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 18 September 2014

Attie Botes, It’s a Question of Ethics

It may be legal, but is it ethical?

Since the beginning of the year the ethics department was especially made aware of a gruelling and highly controversial issue by candidates and members alike. The issue related to certain penalty clauses contained in a client’s offer of employment and/or contracts of employment. The most common of these are penalties related to being liable for repayment of the placement fee incurred when the candidate (then an employee) leaves the employ of the client within a certain period of time.

In the example a candidate’s offer of employment and/or contract of employment will contain a clause requiring him/her to stay in the employ of the client for a certain period of time (usually 12 months but in some cases even longer), failing which the candidate will incur the liability of repaying the placement fee that the client paid to the agency who placed him/her. In principle this appears to be legal and may even be seen as a logical way for a client to “protect” its business interest for which it has arguably paid a hefty fee. There are however, in my opinion, several problems with action like this.

Firstly, most agencies provide a guarantee for their service to a client, generally around three to six months. If the candidate’s employment is terminated for any lawful reason within this guarantee period the agency will usually try to find a suitable alternative candidate, failing which a part or the whole of the fee received would be paid back to the client. In this regard the client’s contractual provisions with the candidate would be superfluous. It is important that an agency discuss this with their client, especially at the risk of losing a good candidate and having your brand associated with the client and its actions.

Additionally the candidate was not a party when the placement fee was negotiated between you and your client. He or she did not have an opportunity to partake in the negotiations of a matter that would ultimately have an impact on his or her future. Also, candidates are somewhat on the back foot when it comes to securing employment as the current job market is tough. A candidate is just so happy to have got the job and do not want to prejudice their position with their future employer in any way and might therefore be unwilling to raise this concern/issue at the outset of the relationship. Here the agency plays a significant role as mediator in matter such as these.

Lastly such a provision may amount to a naked restraint, stopping the candidate from securing any future position outside the employ of the client for the contracted period. Ten to twenty five percent of an annual gross salary is a significant amount of money for anybody to pay and this is sure to be enough to stop a candidate from seeking alternative employment, even in circumstances where they are unhappy in their position or even when their personal circumstances warrants same. This is surely not a positive situation for your client or for your agency as the word is sure to spread to stay away from such and such a company or agency.

The bottom line is that your agency’s name will inevitably be associated with your client’s and the candidates you source. Just as important as it is to source high calibre candidates the same applies to servicing your clients and making sure that they remain preferred employers for candidates. It is therefore imperative that you engage with your clients on topics such as these and make sure that they are aware of the repercussions, especially negative, of them. Educate your clients and try to find ways to develop your service offering to them in an effort to avoid scenarios like this. It will no doubt result in you becoming the “go-to” agency because of the high level of service and business solutions you can offer to clients.

Tags:  APSO  APSOgram  candidate  client  ethics  placement fee 

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HR Future LITE: Complimentary September 2014 Issue

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 11 September 2014

HR Future LITE- Complementary September 2014 Issue

To view the September 2014 issue of HR Future LITE, please CLICK HERE or on the cover below. To become an HR Future member and gain access to all the articles in the full version of HR Future (R950 ex VAT for 12 months), email Chantal at

Tags:  age management  APSO  brand  coaching  economics  ethics  HR Future  leaders  legal  opinion  retention  talent development  technology 

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HR Future LITE: Complimentary August 2014 Issue

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 14 August 2014
HR Future LITE: Complimentary August 2014 Issue

To view the August 2014 issue of HR Future LITE, please CLICK HERE or on the cover below. To become an HR Future member and gain access to all the articles in the full version of HR Future (R950 ex VAT for 12 months), email Chantal at

Tags:  age management  APSO  emotional intelligence  ethics  HR Future  Management  organisational culture  personal growth  psyche  standardisation  technology 

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Cyber Snooping

Posted By APSO, Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Updated: Monday, 19 May 2014

Cyber snooping... legitimate screening method, or a step too far?

In a recent survey conducted by Reppler, a social media monitoring service designed to help users manage their online image across different social networks, it is clear that more and more recruiters and HR professionals are screening candidates via social media.

Is this a legitimate screening method or simply cyber snooping?

Whether you believe it’s right or not, the survey shows that 91% of the 300 recruiters surveyed confirmed that they screen prospect employees online, using FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn as their primary snooping grounds.

Interestingly, nearly half indicated that they would conduct the online search before considering bringing in the candidate and 69% admitted to rejecting a candidate based on their findings, making it even more critical that individuals hoping to secure new job opportunities maintain their social media profiles at all times.

The top reasons for rejecting candidates included:

·         Inappropriate photos and comments, especially those alluding to drink/drug abuse

·         Negative comments, or leaked information about a previous employer

·         Admitted lying about qualifications, experience or other critical information


Of course, the tool also has had a positive impact with an equal number of respondents saying that they hired someone on the basis of their social media profile. In these cases, the primary motivating factors for hiring included:

·         Positive impression of their personality/culture fit to the employer organisation

·         Profile reaffirmed their professional traits including qualification, knowledge, skills and references


How do you ensure that you’re working within the scope of the law?


If you, like the majority of recruiters, want to do as much vetting as possible on candidate, then you need to be sure that you do so within the bounds of the law and ethical practice. Below are 10 tips to help you.


1.   Only search public content. Information that is available in the public domain may be reasonably accessed by anyone, including recruiters or potential employers.  Never expect a candidate to provide access details to their social media profiles as this would definitely fall foul of ethical and legal requirements. In fact, due to the increasing number of employers expecting this of potential employees, a specific law forbidding this exact practice was recently passed in the US.


2.   Comply with terms of service for each social media site. Just because the information is publicly accessible doesn’t mean that you are legally entitled to use it. Do your research on the various sites’ requirements and base your social media screening policy on this.


3.   Keep your “Ethics Radar” on. All actions should be able to be held up to the highest ethical standards and the scrutiny of your client and candidate. It is, for example, never okay to try and conduct a search via the “back door” such as “friending” the person or joining their network for the sole intention of snooping.


4.   Search in a uniform manner. If you’re going to make this part of your recruitment screening process, be sure to do so uniformly for all candidates, including using the same search tools and canvassing the same sites.


5.   Develop a clear policy and procedure. If you’re going to do it, do it properly. Take on board the research into the various site requirements and document the policy and procedures you’d follow. This will ensure transparency, uniformity and mitigate risk.


6.   Notify candidates of your intention to search this way. Give candidates the opportunity to update their profile settings to private and to understand the possible consequences of not doing so. It may be an idea to get their express permission to do so, as you would for other background checks during the process.


7.   Ensure that you have the right person. As you can imagine there is a high chance of finding many “Joe Smith’s” in cyberspace so before acting on any information you may find, be sure that this really is the “Joe Smith” you’re considering for employment.


8.   Interrogate the information. Not all information online is accurate or authentic, particularly if it has been posted by a third party. Before making any assumptions, consider the source of the information and other mitigating circumstances and be reasonable in your decision making as a result.


9.   Document the legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for your hiring decisions, especially if you employ cyber screening as part of your process. You need to ensure that you don’t find yourself at the wrong end of a discrimination claim at the CCMA.


10. Train your team. If you expect individual recruiters to do this as part of their recruitment process, be extremely clear about your expectations. Set a policy and train your consultants on the acceptable way in which to do this so that you protect yourself.


While you’re considering how your candidates would fare if screened, think about your own profiles. Perhaps it’s a good time to re-assess your online persona and at least adjust your privacy settings.


Who does Reppler work? Reppler helps to manage online image by showing users how they are perceived across social networks, by telling users the makeup of their social network connections, and by identifying any potential issues and risks. TrustedID’s social media monitoring service is free and supports various social networking services, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Tags:  APSO  APSOgram  cyber snooping  ethics  non-discriminatory  public search content  screening  screening methods  screening policy and procedures  social media site 

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Picking your Recruitment Partner

Posted By APSO, Wednesday, 12 February 2014
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Driving Best Practice!

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 06 June 2013

The Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations (APSO) was established in 1977 and continues to represent its members in their dealings with government and related bodies. APSO promotes and ensures, for the benefit of both clients and candidates, the adherence to high ethical and professional standards of business.

The recruitment industry currently has no, or very low, barriers to entry and this means that clients could find themselves dealing with inexperienced or unprofessional operators. Given that the industry, particularly the temporary employment services (or labour broking as it’s often referred to), is currently under the spotlight, this could be severely detrimental – and costly - to the client.

Many clients are unaware of the fact that, when using a Temporary Employment Service (TES) provider, they are jointly and severally liable in the case of contravention of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Bargaining Council collective agreements, binding arbitration and determinations under the Wage Act, as outlined in Section 198 of the Labour Relations Act.

For this reason, clients should be extra careful when choosing their TES provider and rather choose to deal with an agency that is a member of a professional body such as APSO, or the Confederation Associations in the Private Employment Sector (CAPES).

CAPES is currently heading up the NEDLAC negotiations relating to the proposed regulation for the employment sector and APSO, as a founding member of CAPES, is perfectly positioned to provide our members – and their clients – with accurate, up-to-date information about the impending changes to the industry. It is critical during these uncertain times to have access to reliable information to inform your business decisions.

Setting standards

APSO membership is not automatic and so any staffing company that wishes to join the professional body is required to meet certain minimum criteria before membership is granted. These include among others, legal compliance, professional standards of operation, fair labour practice and adherence to the APSO Code of Ethical & Professional Practice.

This code prescribes the minimum standards, including levels of services to clients and candidates, expected by APSO. It sets clear guidelines on issues such as search and selection, recruitment practices, reference checking, interviewing and fee dispute resolution, in the case of a dispute between two agencies.

APSO is a proud member of the Institute of Ethics of South Africa and our code has been vetted accordingly. The code is aligned to international best practice standards and is recognised by various stakeholders, government and business alike, as the benchmark for professional recruitment in South Africa.

APSO is a proud member of the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (CIETT) and maintains active relationships with other international recruitment bodies to ensure that the South African industry remains on par with our global counterparts.  

Driving professionalism

In addition, APSO is focused on improving the professionalism of the recruitment industry by providing training and continuous professional development opportunities for our members and their employees. All APSO staffing consultants are expected to write the APSO Entrance Exam, a 10-module induction programme, designed to ensure that APSO accredited consultants are empowered to offer professional and compliant recruitment services.

At present APSO is awaiting formal recognition by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as the professional body for the staffing industry and once approved our three professional designations for individual staffing consultants will be ready for launch. APSO understands the importance of currency of knowledge, especially in the field of recruitment where clients and candidates are relying on their consultant to provide guidance. To this end, APSO is thrilled at the prospect of providing clients and candidates the opportunity to choose their consultant by assessing their professional designation and ensuring that they maintain continuous professional development.

Today, many client companies – public and private sector – choose only to deal with APSO member agencies and list this as a requirement for preferred supplier status.

Benefits to clients:

  • Access to advice and information pertaining to the staffing industry;
  • Assistance with fee dispute resolution (between two member agencies);
  • Recourse in the case of unprofessional business practices via the Ethics Arbitration Process;
  • Knowledge that their recruitment partner has been vetted to ensure compliance and best practice.

For more information about APSO or to view the APSO Code of Ethical & Professional Practice, visit our website Contact APSO:

Head Office

Tel:         (011) 615 9417 

APSO Chief Operating Officer

Natalie Singer


APSO Manager: Ethics & Compliance

Attie Botes


Tags:  APSO  best practice  compliance  ethics  membership  preferred supplier listing  risk  standards 

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Picking a Recruitment Partner

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

Choosing a recruitment agency is an important decision, after all, the agency is an extension of your company in the minds of candidates and you definitely don’t want desirable candidates to be turned off by their interactions with your recruiter.

Partnering with the right agency should save you time, ensure that you’re able to source the best candidates who wouldn’t be accessible to you via other means, and guide and assist you throughout the hiring process.

When one considers that the vast majority of the skilled workforce is not actively looking for a new job, you must ensure that your chosen recruitment partner is able to access the best people in the field, not just those who are unhappy and have sent their CV out everywhere. In order to do this, you have to form a strategic partnership with a well connected, experienced recruiter who can bring in the talent necessary to transform your business.

Because there are currently no, or very low barriers to entry, there are literally thousands of individuals and companies claiming to be recruitment consultants. How do you choose from the myriad of options that all appear to be the same if you listen to their rehearsed telephone sales pitches or read their generic company profiles?

For most businesses, appointing a recruitment agency usually comes down to the following four factors: 

  • Cost
  • Time
  • Quality of candidates
  • Advertising reach, i.e. who is their audience

Whilst these are common factors that should always be considered, the real debate is how you weight the factors – at the end of the day, it should always be about getting results!

An HR Officer recently told me, "Criteria important to me are cost, quality of candidate, turnaround time, and reputation for successfully placing candidates into regular positions.”

Whilst cost is important, you should rather measure your recruitment partner on other factors to more accurately determine the return on investment before simply choosing to do business with the agency that is prepared to charge you the least. Some key factors to be considered include:

Quality Recruitment Consultants

The quality of the individual recruiters working within the recruitment company will directly influence the success rate of finding, and securing, the best talent available. 

Do you feel comfortable talking to the recruiter, do they seem intelligent and do they have a genuine interest in understanding your business to ensure a good fit, not just of technical competence but also of culture fit within your business context?

Do they demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the current job market and do they utilize this information to make suggestions to you on how you can improve your recruitment and selection process to attract the top talent?

How does your recruiter interact with candidates?

Do they have a professional, honest and consistent process for candidate management?

And most importantly, do you believe that your recruiter operates ethically and honestly and will be a good brand ambassador for your company?

Recruitment Methodology

Not all agencies can be compared. Unless you ask what the agency’s recruitment methodology is, you might unfairly be comparing apples with oranges. Many "recruitment agencies” rely heavily on advertising and utilizing job portals to simply source a CV to send directly to the client, but this can be detrimental to clients who are looking to source candidates who are not actively in the market or who have been already been considered by all and sundry, including your competitors.

Ask the agency to fully explain their methodology including advertising, sourcing and networking to find suitable candidates. Do you know for sure how candidates are screened before they’re submitted to you for consideration? Don’t assume that all agencies interview candidates face-to-face, verify information contained on the CV and conduct reference checks. Check that you’re happy with the screening process and the level of information that is being provided to you so that you can effectively ascertain whether or not to bring a candidate in for an interview.

APSO member agencies are bound by the APSO Code of Ethical and Professional Practice which prescribes minimum service levels in terms of client and candidate service. If you choose to work with an APSO member and you’re unhappy with the level of service, you have recourse via the APSO Ethics complaint process.

Specialism & Experience

Does the agency specialise in the area you’re recruiting? It is perfectly reasonable to make use of several agencies for different areas of your business to ensure that you’re dealing with a recruiter who fully understands the environment in which the candidate will be working and who can leverage their networks in this area to source the best talent available for a specific vacancy.

Have they got a proven track record of previous success in placing candidates in this field? Working with a specialist recruiter means that you have a recruitment partner who knows the right people to contact and who can appreciate the technical and business nuances that will contribute to making a successful hire.

"A key criteria for me when choosing a recruitment provider is whether they have the business maturity to interpret the company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and turn that into a compelling dialogue that will attract more of the right sorts of people for us to interview,” says a Marketing Manager responsible for recruitment of staff for his department.

Reputable & Referenceable

A good recruitment agency should be able to provide you, if asked, with strong testimonials from companies in similar industries who have made use of their service. Consider querying your own network about whether they’re aware of the agency’s work and reputation.

Personal Service

Your recruiter should provide you with personal service and this means you should have a designated single point of contact within the agency who you feel is always available and approachable. You should have open channels of communication that are direct and not driven through email. You should feel confident that your recruiter fully understands your business and the associated requirements of the respective positions so that they only send candidates who they know are a match. Furthermore your recruiter should be available to assist you with the full process, including providing guidance on setting up interview questions and even joining in on panel interviews.

A leading corporate Recruitment Manager says, "I tend to prefer external recruitment providers who know how to run an intelligent campaign, who take ownership of the vacancy or project and who I trust will source the right candidates.”

Terms of Business

Utilizing external recruitment providers can be very costly, but there are usually many different fee options available to clients who are willing to work with the agency. Many agencies are willing to offer reduced rates to clients who offer them exclusivity or who work with them on a continued, retained basis.

Above all, companies should remember that they will get the best possible return from their recruitment company if they are treated as partners rather than transactional suppliers. To this end, you should always be sure to invest the time to brief your recruiter to ensure that they have an in-depth understanding of your business and requirement so that you will receive the level of service you want. A close working relationship between recruiter and client has been proven to improve hiring success.

Tags:  advertising  APSO  cost  CV  ethics  preferred supplier listing  quality  recruiter  recruitment methodology  sourcing  verification 

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