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Do we blame the recruiter, the training or the client?

September 5, 2010

I spend a lot of time bleating on about how I feel the recruitment market is a little down trodden to say the least. In fact this week when I introduced myself and my profession to someone they had the good nature to respond “recruiter eh? You guys are normally the spawn of the devil.”.

Nice – and me a lady as well!

Any recruiter reading this will tell you that we hear ‘you are all the same’ and ‘you all say that’ more times that there is brimstone in hell.  So how have we generated our reputation? Is it completely our fault?

A lot of the time yes.

The industry tends to recruit cheap young go getters who will work long hours and sell, sell, sell. Training tends to consist of sessions on how to sell and generate business and it also tends to be short-lived and very intense. 

Where most (but not all) recruitment companies let themselves down is they create people who can sell but can’t recruit. It is fantastic if someone can go out, pitch the business, blind the client with USPs and return back to the office with an exclusive assignment; however it all goes pear shaped if they haven’t worked on the job spec with the client, managed expectations, created a timeline and most importantly understood the business and the type of individual needed. 

Let me give you an example.  In my first few months in recruitment I sold aggressively and could convince clients to give me exclusive roles and their commitment however as I didn’t understand business (hey I was only a youngster) I failed to add any value when it came to doing the role itself – I couldn’t find the right people as I didn’t know what I was looking for.  I was trained to sell but not to understand people, motivations and most crucially the business world.  As I have spoken about before I didn’t start off as a great recruiter but now I am comfortable with my ability to work together with a business to find people who fit their culture.  The salesperson in me has become much quieter but a better consultant has emerged. (Well I think so – my clients hopefully agree)

On the flip side…..

I do feel recruiters get a bad rep when often clients look to put unrealistic expectations upon us.  I am often asked for my best 3 CV’s by the close of play that day.  This is not giving a client any value for money, my best CV’s that day may pale in comparison to the people I can source if the client gives time to the process and makes me work for every penny.  Recruitment is not cheap (ask any client or in house recruiter) so as a business recruiting I would advise that you pay for the service you receive rather than the expectation of the candidates. 

Make your recruiters work for their fee, make them interview on your behalf, ask them  if they do use competency based structures, work with them to ensure they understand your business so minimal time is wasted.  Yet importantly give them time to do their job well – it’s an oldie but a goodie ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day!’ 

A good recruiter should be working all angles to find their client’s good people by using traditional means and also our new channels, twitter, linked in, etc.  Social media allows us lucky recruitment consultants to find people quickly but the interview process remains the same and that takes time. 

Hmmm today’s blog seems to have ended up with my size sevens firmly planted on my soapbox again, in summary if you are a client using several agencies to try and find one candidate I would argue that you are either looking for the invisible man or you have not found an agency you can trust yet.  Likewise if you are a recruiter who is wowing clients at first meeting but failing to deliver go back to the start – look at the job and the business you are recruiting for, do you understand it and them?

Thanks for reading, any comments welcome…..

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 6, 2010 6:03 pm

    I 100% agree with you.

    I firmly believe recruitment agencies should split the role into two, sales divison generating new business and consultants who build on those relationships and service the client’s needs.
    I only know of one agency in London that does this, but if anyone knows of any others, please tweet me and let me know who they are, because I’d like to apply for a consultant role there!
    @TheCareerDeer

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