Change…what change?

change There seems to be a bit of a disconnect happening across the recruitment industry and it makes no sense.

Here’s the thing. …

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you will have seen, heard and read how much the recruitment industry is changing. The rise of technology and social media; a trend towards internal recruitment teams; a global skills shortage; a more mature marketplace; different generational attitudes towards work and employment. Add to this a general desire for the industry to be viewed more professionally, and you would have expected to see recruitment agencies operating in a very different way these days…..

You might have thought that the recruiter’s role would now be much more focused on finding and engaging with hard-to-find talent. You would have thought that social media and marketing nous would be at the core of every recruiter’s skill set. You would have thought there would be less focus on cold calling and more on delivering a top quality service.

In turn, you have might have expected to see agencies hiring people with a different profile and skill set than they normally have. And you might have expected to see agencies setting up and managing their teams to work in a different way. You might have expected the traditional role of the agency recruiter to be modified, as well as the way they are remunerated and commissioned.

But I am not really seeing this, not to the extent that you would expect on the back of the very loud noises that have been made across the industry anyway. The typical job briefs I see from most agencies are more or less the same as ever, and they are looking for more or less the same type of person. The reasons a lot of recruiters leave agencies are still due to a culture of endless sales calls and a focus on KPIs  at the expense of good practice. And I continue to hear lots of annoyed HR folk bemoaning poor service and the fact that agencies still just don’t get what they want.

So, what’s going on?

Obviously not everyone is convinced that things need to change. And (definitely) maybe some just don’t care, as long as they can still make a living doing what they have always done. But then there are some who I suspect are just paying lip service to all this talk of change and jumping on the bandwagon, because it is what everyone else is doing and it’s cool to be in with the in crowd. For those, it’s time for less talk and more action.

If you really think that recruitment should be about service first, then why make your recruiters knock out 50 cold calls a week? Why in fact look for sales people at all ….and come to that, why does every recruiter in your business need to sell anyway. If your agency is all about finding the talent that your clients can’t, what training are your providing your recruiters to make them better at this? And if you say you offer your staff work-life balance, why are you still demanding everyone works 8am – 6pm.

If you are someone who talks positively about change, and always gives a big “Hear Hear!” whenever the topic is raised at a conference, and then you do nothing…well…reminds me of that well versed definition of insanity…something to do with expecting different results but doing sweet f. a. about it !







PS.  If you are working for an agency that still has “a culture of endless sales calls and a focus on KPIs  at the expense of good practice” and you would prefer not to spend 8am – 6pm annoying HR people, get in touch with us to find out about those agencies that get it…like this lot for example

PPS. I write this as my partner in crime, Craig Watson, swaps the joy of  Melbourne weather for the pleasures of Hamilton Island and the RCSA Conference. If you are there, please feel free to cut into his drinking time by bagging him up in the corner for a long long chat about this.

Luke Collard


One thought on “Change…what change?

  1. Simon McSorley on Reply

    Luke – good post, unfortunately the majority of recruitment firms wouldn’t know innovation if it applied for role as an innovation manager, and had a long history of innovation.

    The formulaic, linear and traditional “recruitment firm” approach to our job probably wont change for most. The mindset of “if you’re not on the phone, you’re not doing anything” is archaic at best. KPI’s around no of calls as opposed to targeted client acquisition is the best most can muster.

    I’ve always been amazed at how traditional firms invest time and training in the “sales” component of recruitment, but then nothing in developing domain knowledge in the very sectors that they promote their people to be “experts” in.

    Anyway, back to the phone for hour of power – in fancy dress, with a bowl of jelly babies to keep me pumped up. Whoop Whoop.

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