Recruiters… maybe my hips do… but the stats don’t lie…

28 Aug

So… we’re all sick of being told how crap we are right? Next to politicians and Lindsay Lohan… and maybe the Bieber, recruiters are right up there at getting a pretty universal bad rap…

I hate it… I hate the fact that a very small percentage of bad recruiters spoil it for the rest of us… I include me in the ‘us’, but you can make up your own mind…

nraYou see those bad recruiters have a very loud voice. Like the NRA in the States… or Malfoy in Snape’s potions class… or Miley Cirus at the VMA’s. They kinda drown out the good stuff. But that’s ok. It just means that the silent majority need a voice… and I want to provide it… partly because I’m running out of blog ideas, but mainly because I think it’s important to promote good news stories for our industry.

Sure we’ll get the usual suspects attempting to knock us down… (you’ll find those negative Nellies in the comments section… too lazy to write their own blog… too cynical to accept that maybe… just maybe recruiters offer a valuable and positive experience… and too caught up in their own ego to be gracious… whack).

Anyway, I’m prepared to open up our blog (probably should have run this one past Luke first… sorry mate!), to those of you out there who have changed a life, provided a client with a solution that changed their business… or have used your recruitment skills to benefit the community… here is your chance. Feel free to leave your stories in the comments section… or email me

Over the next 6 months I will be reaching out to some of you and carefully packaging your stories (in my own little style), into some positive blog posts!

Take that Haters!

On another note, I wanted to share with you some of the statistics and trends we have collected in our Consultant Census. With over 1000 respondents the data is very telling and gives us insight into where the industry is… and where it is going…

I’m actually presenting them tomorrow at the RCSA conference, so here’s a sneak peek!


What are your thoughts on the stats? Agree? Disagree?

Of course this data is very generic, and there are many unique aspects that present around specific sectors…

So… I tell you what… if you want me to produce a set of data relevant to your business and more detailed than above let me know… there is a cost, but it will be worth it!

We’ll be back next week… with a real blog post… Until then send me your feel good stories…

And whilst you are here, check out this months Agency in Focus …if you are looking for a different type of recruitment opportunity this might interest you.

Craig Watson


What makes a recruitment agency ‘the best’?

21 Aug

popularity_contest_tshirt-p235069822332396586t53h_400What makes a recruitment agency ‘the best’?

Well up until recently it was seemingly based purely on how many people an agency could get to vote for them in the SEEK awards. Whilst there are other industry awards, the ones run by SEEK have arguably been seen as the biggest, and therefore in a lot of people’s eyes the one to win. 

But the awards were just a popularity contest, and the agency that could put together the most effective marketing campaign to get votes would win. It had little to do with actually recognising the best… in the same way that the winner of X-factor recognises the best singer!!! A lot of very good agencies would never get close to wining because they simply didn’t have the resource that their larger competitors had to run a campaign… or more likely just couldn’t be bothered involving themselves in such a ridiculous game.

But that has all changed now.

SEEK have thrown the reality TV show-esque popularity contest out of the window and replaced it with a judging panel. I admit that I don’t know the ins and outs of how this new system works and what specific criteria they are judging agencies against… (you can view it here)…but I think this makes the awards far more credible and valuable.

But how do you define what being ‘the best’ actually means in recruitment?

Is it the amount an agency bills, their profit, service levels, client list, staff retention, community involvement… the fact that they have a pool table and dress down Friday? Obviously, it will mean different things to a candidate who will be more interested in the quality of service, than it will to an employee who might be focused on how lucrative the commission structure is. For the owner of the agency it might be all about profit, where as the client is more interested in the strength of their candidate database. For the office administrator it is the fact that he or she is given flexibility so they can pick their child up from school every day. 

It is probably impossible to get a consensus on what being ‘the best’ agency actually means. But surely it has to be more about being good and successful at recruitment, than just a popularity contest. So well done SEEK. Maybe those agencies that don’t agree are a bit annoyed that they will now have to actually show why they are ‘the best’ if they want the right to wear that label.

So, if you were on the judging panel, what criteria would you be using to determine which agency is ‘the best’… and how would you score?

Luke Collard

7 Traits of Great Recruiters…

14 Aug

So… you want to be a recruiter… or… you want to be a better recruiter?

Well listen closely my friends…

I speak conservatively to 5 recruitment people a day – Consultants, Managers & Owners. Well I don’t speak conservatively… I conservatively speak… if you get my drift… Geez… how 70’s is that? Drift…

bestrecuiter2These Consultants, Managers & Owners come from different niches and from different sized companies. That means over the past 5 years I have spoken to in excess of 5,500 recruitment professionals… OK… I may have spoken to a couple of you more than once, but it is still a shit load of recruiters in anyone’s language…

So, you know what? Over the journey I’ve kind of worked out the magic formula… the traits and idiosyncrasies that all of the very best recruiters possess. Forget about the process, your social media coverage and market reach… forget about the number of times you pick up the phone in a day… and forget about your ability (or lack thereof) to update the database and complete reports. *Disclaimer… when I say forget about the above I mean forget about them for the 3 minutes and 42 seconds it takes you to read this blog…

Come along for the ride with me… look at the list below and ‘tick off’ the ones you have… and work on the ones you don’t.

  1. Commercial Acumen – To be a great… a truly great recruiter you need to understand business. You need to be aware of the commercials behind your desk. Break-even points. Profitability etc. I’ve banged on about it before in other posts, but it’s key and will help drive other areas like urgency, activity & time management…
  2. Passion – You need the fire in the belly! The desire to wake up every day and work your market. Passion feeds you the energy you need… and you need a butt-load (not sure there is a hyphen in butt-load… but… anyway), you need a butt-load of energy to be a successful recruiter. If you don’t have the passion and drive to be successful you need to find it… or get out.bestrecruiter1
  3. Resilience – The best recruiters have this in abundance. The number of things that can… and do… go wrong in a day in the life of a recruiter are many & varied (and I’m putting that nicely). Resilience is a magical trait that allows you to move on from disappointment and tackle the next assignment with the same vigour and positivity.
  4. Empathy – Guess what? It’s not all about you. It’s about your candidates and clients… and if you don’t understand their drivers and motivators you just can’t be the best… sorry you can’t.
  5. Bull Shit Radar – No hyphen there… you know what? Candidates and Clients lie… not every time… not even most times… It kinda feels like most times, but believe me it’s not… stats show that clients and candidates lie to you about 36.87% of the time… I made that stat up, but I’m tipping I’m pretty close to the mark! Fact is you… yes you… need to be able to sort out the bull shit from the truth. The best recruiters can do this. How’s your Bull Shit Radar?
  6. No Fear – Most deals that don’t happen can be avoided. I think I said that backwards… what I meant was… You can avoid most deals falling over… no actually the first time was better… Most deals that don’t happen can be avoided. ‘How?’ I hear you ask… Well funny you should ask, because it’s all about asking questions. If you ask the tough questions early in a process you can control it much… much better. Sometimes the answers aren’t what you want to hear… which is why many recruiters are too scared to ask them… but wouldn’t you want to know a deal is dead in the water early in the process – rather than later? It gives you more time to focus on the real deals. In my opinion (if I was cool I would have said IMO), FEAR or lack of it is one of the absolute must haves for the very best recruiters.bestecruiter3
  7. X-Factor – Do you have it? What even is it? If you ask Danni Minogue, Redfoo or any of the other judges it’s the ability to juggle flaming samurai swords whilst riding a unicycle and singing Ava Maria. But for me it’s a combination of points 1 to 6 coupled with a knack for getting things done. If you have 1 – 6 you will be a very good recruiter… throw in the x-factor and you become great!

There you have it. My 7 Traits all Great Recruiters Have… If I were really smart I‘d make it into a sexy acronym… say… like… FREXCAPB and make a fortune on the e-book deal… but clearly I’m not.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what traits or attributes define a great recruiter.

Have I hit the mark… or am I way off? And more importantly… Do you have FREXCAPB? It’s starting to grow on me…

Craig Watson

Experience required …..why?

7 Aug

previous experience requiredWhy is the recruitment industry so obsessed with hiring experienced recruiters?

I don’t want to underplay what we do as recruiters but, for all its challenges, let’s be honest it isn’t rocket science. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence, an outgoing personality and good communication skills can become a good recruiter …many have carved out a successful and lucrative career on far less!

So why do so many recruitment agencies insist on experience? 

When I started in recruitment I was put through a couple of in house training sessions to cover off the basics and then was thrown in to the deep end running an end-to-end desk. I picked it up pretty quickly and was fairly effective more or less immediately. Not because I was particularly talented…..I was just enthusiastic and keen to get stuck in. And I am certainly not an exception. I was talking to a guy last week that started in recruitment only 5 months ago but has already billed over $160k in a start-up business…where there was no training…just a desk and a phone and ‘get on with it’. The history of people entering the recruitment industry with no experience and being successful quickly is there for all to see…….look in the mirror.

The argument is that with experience comes a track record, and therefore a better chance of that person being successful…or less risk of them failing. There is sometimes a perceived value in the client base and network an experienced recruiter can bring with them (although how often does this turn out not to be the golden goose it appears to be!). In leadership roles it is obviously important.

I get all of that. …and I am not saying experience means nothing. But to make it the number one criteria doesn’t make sense. Especially when it means you have to wait months and months to hire someone. Would it not make more sense to hire someone now with all the right raw skills who you could have up and running, making you money and growing your business……than waiting….and waiting ….and waiting…. When you consider that it is such a candidate short market, and good experienced recruiters are reluctant to move, even if you think you are selling them something ‘market leading’ and ‘unique’ it makes even less sense to hold out for that experience.

I value experience, but I think it is often overrated. Quite often experience just equals bad habits and a burnt out attitude. And you pay a lot more for the privilege!  The perceived need for experience is actually  just a mixture of ‘that is what everyone does’, ‘that is what we have always done’ laziness, and a morbid fear of the unknown. Only in a very few situations is it absolutely necessary.

We are seeing some agencies move their hiring away from experienced recruiters and investing in fresh talent, and not just at the graduate level. What is your experience? Would you only ever hire an experienced recruiter ….how much experience is enough…..and more importantly …..why?

Luke Collard

Takin’ them to the edge…

31 Jul

You’ve been there before… it’s D-Day… (well actually it’s today, but let’s not split hairs)… after a painfully long process the offer has finally come through from the client. It’s a good offer… actually a great offer. You got the salary your candidate wanted & a clear career path. The client will invest in professional development and they have even pre-approved the holiday your candidate has booked next month (and only told you about two days ago). You feel a huge sense of relief. Your manager has been piling pressure on you to close this one for weeks. You can almost taste the celebratory beer… almost. You pick up the phone to your candidate… and this happens.

edge1‘Hi Jimmy it’s Craig from Watson Collard here.’ I begin. ‘I’ve got some fantastic news for you! I just got off the phone with Bev from Aardvark Corp and they would like to formally offer you the role.’

I wait for his elation to smack me from the other side of the phone… the joy of acceptance pulsating out of him like an alien in… well… Alien™… but nothing…unless you count the sound of crickets as something… was that him just saying yes? I press the phone closer to my ear. No… still nothing.

‘Jimmy?’ I question. ‘We must have a bad line mate… I can’t hear you…’

‘No… I’m here.’ He replies.

I feel a little dread induced vomit begin to rise in my throat… I slip into panic mode…

‘Don’t worry about your employer counter-offering…’ I stammer. ‘We’ve had that conversation.’ We have had that conversation… haven’t we? ‘And resigning… I can help you through that…’ I frantically reach for my initial interview notes. ‘Remember the reasons you were… are… looking to leave. You wanted more money, a clear career path, training and a mentor… Aardvark is offering all that…’

‘It’s not that.’ He counters. ‘It’s just…’ Oh God he’s accepted another role hasn’t he?

‘You’ve accepted another role haven’t you?’ I accuse. ‘I’ve been speaking to you every day and there’s been no mention of other opportunities…’ I can hear the desperation in my voice… but I just can’t seem to stop it.

‘No…’ he says. ‘It’s just that I need to speak with my wife about it. I want to go through it with her over the weekend…’

Wife? Wife? He never mentioned a Wife before…

To cut a long story short, Jimmy did accept the role in the end. It took him another week though… there were questions around the employment contract…from his wife… and then we did have to go through the whole counter offer thing.

All of this could probably have been avoided though… or at least tackled earlier…

There is a point in every recruitment process when the candidate should have a feel for the client and know whether they would work for them (if the package and conditions were right). It is at this point when the recruiter should take them to the edge.

edge2It’s scary… yes. It means you have to force the issue. It will affect your pipeline (maybe positively… maybe negatively), but it also means that you will know where to focus your time and energy.

It sort of goes a little like this… and happens after the first or second interview.

‘So Jimmy. You met with Aardvark today, and you’ve told me that you really like the business, the manager and the team. They have met you with the full knowledge that you are expecting a minimum of $80k plus super. You are looking for clear career progression, investment in professional development and a mentor.

So, my question to you is… If they come back to me with an offer covering all of that off… can I accept the role on your behalf?’ Then silence… that’s right don’t speak… wait them out…

There is going to be 1 of 2 responses only… ‘Yes’… or ‘No.’

If it’s ‘No’ ask why… Methodically go through the reasons with them. You will find out about the wife or any other barriers here and you can deal with them… or… if the barriers are too high… end the process and focus on something else.

Pretty easy hey? Ask the question. Take your candidate to the edge and start controlling the process…

That’s it… that’s all… try it and let me know how you go!!!

Craig Watson


Recruiters… low will you go?

24 Jul

how lowI tend not to get too bothered about most of those annoying things that are sent to challenge us recruiters. People turn down jobs. Clients make crazy decisions. Stuff happens. It is not that I don’t care…I just accept that there are some things that are out of my control and there is no point wasting emotion on them. I save that for shouting at the TV when my team is playing…because that definitely helps!

However, when a client tries to negotiate my fee at the end of a process and then tells me “I am standing in the way of him being able to offer my candidate a job because of my fee”…I get a little hot under the collar.

Let me get this right Mr Client. We agreed fees at the very start. You signed a document saying so. You happily met my candidates and never once mentioned the fee again. A few weeks later you now want to offer one of them..…but also want to negotiate / re-negotiate / take the piss. And you have the brass to tell me that if I can’t do something about the fee then it will be me standing in the way of this guy getting a job!

Where is his justification in doing this? Well, there isn’t any. But that is not his point. Mr Client thinks that he has me over a barrel. Surely I will see that some sort of fee is better than no fee. Add a little emotional blackmail on top of that and I will have no choice but to crumble and agree.

Most recruiters out there would have experienced something similar. And it raises a vital question for every recruitment business….especially at the moment.

At what point are you prepared to walk away and just say no?

When you have already done the work, it is tempting to rollover and just accept a reduced fee…something is better than nothing, right? Take the money and run. Even if you are dealing with a more honourable client who understands that negotiations happen at the start, dropping a percent here or there to get the gig is tempting. When your competitors are dropping their pants at any opportunity just to work with a client, you might feel you need to do the same to keep in the game. In a competitive market place these things might be tempting…but then so is that last drink on a big night out….and that rarely ends up well.

It makes little long-term commercial sense to keep lowering your fees. In my experience, once you start doing this then it is a slippery slope. You open yourself up to more of it in the future and it is hard to build a credible reputation. But the main reason I say no is not a commercial one. I say no because some things are just not worth it. If you are the sort of turkey that has the brass to say I am standing in the way of a guy getting a job because you won’t pay the agreed fee, then you don’t deserve my hard work or the awesome candidate I found you. And I don’t want to go home at night and have to scrub myself with pumice stone to feel clean again.

To complete the story, I called the candidate, explained that my client wanted to offer him the role but didn’t think he was really worth the $867.00 that he was trying to knock off the fee. Suitably unimpressed, he called the client to pull out of the process. “If you don’t think I am worth $867.00 then you are not the right employer for me”. That was nice!

A lot of people who use recruitment agencies see it as a buyers market at the moment. DIY solutions like LinkedIn, internal recruitment teams and other pressures mean that clients potentially have more power at the negotiating table than ever before. How much depends on how much you let them have.

So, do you have a line in the sand that you just simply refuse to cross?

I know these lot do……check out Aust Corp Executive who are currently looking for experienced recruiters in Sydney and Perth. If you would like to showcase your agency in our Agency in Focus section, please get in touch.


Luke Collard

My 3 Recruitment Wishes…

17 Jul

Before I start today I want to shamelessly promote 2 events.

Firstly, in conjunction with the RCSA, I am presenting a blog writing workshop in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane & Perth… do yourself a favour…

Secondly, join me at the SoSu in Melbourne in August… you won’t be disappointed.

Now… on to my story…

Imagine… if you will… me on a holiday in sunny Marrakesh. I’m strolling through a crowded street bazaar where you can buy just about anything… juvenile spider monkeys… rare (and spicy) spices… a VHS copy of Caddyshack…

genie1When suddenly a toothless man with sunken eyes, wearing a traditional Moroccan djellaba and a Collingwood scarf appears in front of me. He is gesticulating wildly… hopping from one foot to the other and waving what appears to be an ancient lamp in front of me…

‘Two Shekels… Two Shekels!’ he screams.

I know I am supposed to barter… I even have my platinum Bartercard™ on me… but I’m too scared. I place two shiny shekels in his weathered hand. He tosses the lamp in the air… it spins… once… twice… thrice. The man disappears just as I reach out to catch my overpriced new purchase. I drop it and it crashes to the ground. Everyone in the market stops what they are doing and stares… first at me… then the fallen lamp…

‘Whoopsy daisy.’ I say… almost apologetically.

I bend slowly to pick it up. It feels like the entire market leans in with me as I reach for the lamp. There is an audible sigh as I gather my quarry… I pop it in my backpack and instantly the market returns to normal.

‘Funny folk.’ I think as I stroll down a deserted alleyway that leads back to my hostel.

Good story huh? Well it doesn’t end there my friends…

Hours later, after enjoying a traditional meal of Mrouzia and flat bread I reach in to my backpack to contemplate my new lamp.

Turning it over in my hands I notice it has become slightly scuffed and dented from the dropped catch.

‘Shit!’ I curse out loud. ‘I should have haggled him down to one shekel!’

genie2I use the sleeve of my shirt to rub the lamp… once… twice… thrice. Then ‘POOF!’ There is a puff of smoke and a huge blue genie (looking very disinterested… and slightly miffed), appeared in front of me. In fright I drop the lamp. It hits the floor and rolls under the bed. The genie watches the lamp disappear… rubs his head… looks at me and says…

‘Figures… so you’re the butterfingers who dropped the lamp and gave me a mild concussion…’ I stared at him… disbelievingly… and a little bit embarrassed.

‘Anyway,’ he continued. ‘You are now my master… yada yada yada… three wishes… blah blah blah.’

I stood… rooted to the spot. My jaw almost hitting the rancid, hostel floor.

‘Well…’ he prompted. ‘The 3 wishes? I’m running late for the Casablanca Camel races. I have a sure thing in the second…’ He looked down at his fob watch and tapped it a couple of times.

I still couldn’t say anything.

‘Ok…’ he said. ‘I can see you’re struggling with this. Let me help you out a little bit… what do you do for a living?’

‘Ummm… I’m a recruiter.’ I replied.

‘Well how about using the wishes to make your job a little better?’

I continued to stare blankly… and he sighed loudly.

‘C’mon Einstein.’ He said. ‘If I gave you 3 recruitment wishes what would they be?’

‘Ohhhh.’ I said. ‘I see where you’re going here…’

He nodded for me to continue.

‘Well… here goes… number 1… I wish all candidates would stop lying to their recruiters and hiring managers.’

He crossed his arms, nodded his head and ‘POOF!… Done.’ He said

‘Great… I also wish that all clients would stop lying to candidates and recruiters…’

‘Your wish is my command… POOF!’

‘Ok… ok… ok.’ I said. I was really getting the hang of it now. ‘ For my final wish… I wish all recruiters would stop lying to their candidates & clients!’

‘POOF! Done.’ The genie rushed. ‘Listen thanks for making your wishes etc. but I really need to get to the races…’

‘Sure… on your way then.’ I acquiesced.

He crossed his arms and was about to blink himself away… then he looked me up and down… ‘You’re really pretty new to this aren’t you?’ he said.

‘What do you mean?’ I asked.

‘Well… you really wasted 2 very valuable wishes.’ I looked at him quizzically. ‘ I mean… why didn’t you just say that you wish nobody lied in recruitment?’

And with that… ‘POOF!’ he disappeared.

genie3But seriously… wouldn’t recruitment be soooo much better without all of the lies?

Without candidates saying… this is the only role I’m looking at… my grand mother died… I’m currently on $100k… I was in a car accident… etc.

Or clients saying… sure, I agree to your terms of business… we have a super low staff turnover rate… your candidate is still in the mix, but I just need a few days before we decide on the next step… we were already connected to your candidate via our network.

Or recruiters saying. We’ll keep your details on file and contact you when something suitable comes up… the hiring manager hasn’t got back to me yet… your expected salary is in the ball park… I have a client who has asked me to reach out to you.

Anyway, point is… nothing will change until we take the bull by the horns and do something ourselves… so recruiters… and I mean all of youeven the cowboys… raise your right hand and repeat after me…

‘I will not lie.’

There… feels better already… doesn’t it?

Craig Watson

Come on recruiters – get around each other.

10 Jul

get aroundA few weeks a story broke and hit the local recruitment sector like a tsunami. The story soon escalated into a full-blown tabloid-esque scandal, also receiving a fair amount of mainstream media airtime .  I refer of course, to Myer-gate… but, before you tune out of yet another Myer blog, this isn’t going to be all about what went wrong, who is to blame and how awful and ashamed everyone involved should be.

As a recruiter, the story interested me. But as anyone who has worked in recruitment for long enough knows, it’s not that uncommon a story…just a little bit more scandalous because of who was involved. It was not the scandal itself that I was interested in, more the recruitment industry’s reaction to it…

We seem to love a scandal in recruitment. We cannot wait for the next misfortune or disaster to fall at some recruiters door so we can circle and give their reputation a public flogging. When someone posts something a little salacious about something that has happened, the cry of “Name and Shame!” goes up all over town. We are seemingly desperate to judge and make life more miserable for those that have ‘done wrong‘.

The irony of the Myer story is that, as far as I can tell (although accurate research is never the strong focus of this blog) the recruiter who was the focus for a lot of the blame seemed to do little really that wrong. As I understand it they floated a candidate into a role and got lucky. As long as they didn’t purposefully mislead Myer then I wouldn’t knock them for that. Good on them for giving it a go. Had they been deliberately cheating Myer then they deserved to be named, shamed, and publicly flogged like any cowboy. But at worse it appears they were simply being opportunistic….hardly Clint Eastwood riding into the sunset.

I’m not suggesting we all recruiters get together for some big love in. Recruitment is a competitive industry and along with that comes some boundaries, challenges and realistic behaviours with competitors. But are we really that competitive that we take pleasure in seeing other recruiter’s misfortunes? I am yet to find the perfect recruiter who never ever made a mistake or stuffed something up… so maybe those in glasshouses should stop throwing stones.

Come on recruiters… it’s tough enough out there with half the world seemingly queuing up to knock shreds of us… we don’t need to do it to each other too!

Luke Collard

Sack a Client today… It’s liberating!

3 Jul

You’re probably going to have to run this one by the boss first, but work with me here.

We’ve all got at least one. An annoying, self-pompous, time wasting, self-important, frustrating, arrogant, son of a b… (breathe Craig), client who makes your life hell.

Changing the brief mid process… impossible to get hold of when you need them… threatening to hold off on an offer unless you move on fees… low-balling the candidate… a high attrition rate… blaming you when a candidate doesn’t accept because of all of the above.

Why do we put ourselves through it?

fired1I’ll tell you why… The recruitment industry has been through a couple of bloody tough years! Record business failures, declining revenue, redundancies and restructures… but I don’t need to tell you that.

Unfortunately, the problem with this is that we have become afraid. Too scared to stand up to bullying clients… well stuff them I say! It’s time to break the shackles. Time to make your voice heard, and if the behaviour continues… it’s time to sack them!

I recognise that you all recruit across different industries, in different niches and with an extremely wide and diverse group of clients… the story I’m about to tell you doesn’t completely reflect your own client-base, but I recruit for the recruitment industry… so, if anything my clients should know better!

Here is my story. That was supposed to be a dramatic kind of Law & Order introduction… oh yeh… click the Law & Order sound effect below for the full effect… oh yeh… don’t forget to have your volume up when you do it, otherwise it won’t be worth it… 

A couple of years ago we were asked to pitch for a panel tender for a large (very large) global recruitment firm. The process was exhaustive and we were appointed with one other provider… pretty sweet hey? You would think so, but the trouble was, the process whereby roles were to be released to us weekly by HR never happened. The panel leaked immediately and internally hiring managers refused to work within its rules.

We struggled on…

We forged a very close relationship with the CEO and did some nice work… but then… after 2 restructures, the CEO leaving, claims of bullying, a very high attrition rate (even for our industry) and more leaks in the panel than the Iraqi Navy we received an email from a member of the internal recruitment team. Basically, we were told that to continue working with them we would need to reduce our fees on lower end roles by 25% and senior roles by 50%. We were also informed that any ‘fall offs’ would need to be refunded, as opposed to our current agreement which had the money held in credit.

We jumped up and down a bit internally… PG version… and then we calmly communicated the following 2 questions.

  1. How would we be given access to open opportunities?
  2. How many rec2recs were they committing to working with?

We didn’t receive a response… at all.

fired2At our weekly meeting we discussed the client at length. We discussed how the internal recruitment team and hiring managers have no idea what the other is doing… how I have spent the last 6 months attempting to get a meeting with the new CEO and he has point blank ignored me… how they have walked away from low margin/high volume business themselves over the past year, but are expecting us to work on low margin/low volume business with them… how their attrition rate is close to 50%… how their fees in their professional business are 25% – 58% higher than what they want us to work at with them… and the do not provide refunds for their clients…

What it boils down to is that this client doesn’t value the service we provide for them, or doesn’t value the professionals we are sourcing to join their company… or worse… both.

Makes it an easy decision in the end – doesn’t it?

We are always banging on about working smarter… not harder. So my advice is work smarter. Have some tough discussions with bad clients… and… if behaviour doesn’t change… sack them*

*But don’t forget to clear it with the boss first!

Craig Watson

A typical day in recruitment…..and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle !

26 Jun

not-what-you-thinkTaking five minutes out of a busy day yesterday, I stumbled across this YouTube clip from Robert Half. It was an employee-branding piece and depicted a typical day in the life of two of their consultants.

If you can’t be bothered sitting through the three minutes and fifty two seconds, the general gist is two good looking recruiters having the time of their lives. Their day starts with a sprightly jog along Bondi beach before heading into the office and the morning meeting, where we see them adopting serious looking business type faces before a moment of great hilarity and back slapping. Into the day proper …..cue lots of sharp looking types standing up speaking into headphones and arm gesturing enthusiastically as they ‘make deals’ (think Wolf of Walstreet minus the naked brass band). It all finishes with our two protagonists enjoying a glass of wine and beer and looking forward to more of the same tomorrow. A happier two people I have rarely seen !!!

It was what you would probably expect from a video designed to attract people into recruitment and into their business….and good on Robert Half for doing something like this. OK, I might think the content is a little cheesy but as the industry moves more and more to looking outside of the industry for new talent, this types of strategy makes sense.

But I compared the typical day of a Robert Half recruiter with my day…

Awoken at 6.30am by a client who wanted to re-schedule a day of interviews I had lined up. I am a bit hungover from celebrating a deal I made yesterday so could do without this. So before I have had a shower and coffee, I am on the phone trying to re-organise four people’s diaries.

I get into the office and the first email is the candidate I had just placed (or so I thought!). He tells me his present company have counter-offered him and he is thinking about staying. So then I am into fire fighting mode and back and forth with client and candidate thinking about how I can resurrect this deal. Not how I was planning to spend my morning.

I have to put that on hold when my interview arrives. Really keen to meet this chap as his background looks great and I have a number of clients that would take him in a heartbeat. Ten minutes later I have changed my mind. How disappointing!

Fast forward to lunch which is a rather disappointing cheese sandwich at my desk, as I catch up on what I was planning to do today.

I thankfully get a good run in the afternoon. It seems like I have managed to talk my candidate down from the counter offer cliff and he is now back on board. And I pick up a great role with a new client. Plus, the feedback from the client who ‘rudely’ woke me up this morning is really positive too. Things are looking up. “But I want to talk about your fee Luke”. Maybe not !

OK, I chose a particularly challenging day ! But I  bet that my day is probably more typical of most recruiter’s day than our friends at Robert Half. It’s champagne and razor blades, highs and lows, brilliant and rewarding but also frustrating, laughter and tears.

It is great that the recruitment industry is looking outside for new talent and selling the positives about the industry. But we also need to be careful that the message we are putting out there is realistic and not a sugar coated version of an industry that, quite frankly, can be bloody tough and not for everyone. The world doesn’t need any more jaded ex-recruiters who quickly realised that recruitment was far away from the sunshine lollipops and rainbows dream they were sold.

Talking of agencies showcasing themselves…..checkout our latest Agency in Focus which is Bluefin Resources 

Luke Collard

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