I was called by two recruitment agencies this week that wanted my help finding a recruiter. I haven’t worked with either agency before, and I didn’t really know much about them before they called. But very quickly I had a pretty good take on what both agencies were about…..
The opportunities were very similar – an end-to-end recruitment consultant to take over a warm digital desk. The role was pitched at the same level, with more or less the same package on offer. These were basically the same job. But when it came to understanding what each agency wanted in a candidate the difference was stark.
Client A: “We want someone with at lease 3 years local experience running a digital desk, with a proven billing history of $X and a network of clients and candidates.”
Client B: “We want a decent human being.”
When the role is essentially the same, how come the briefs can be so different?
Because the agencies are totally different. Agency A wants an easy, ready-made solution that they can simply drop in and carry on as normal. Or, to put it another way. …they are not really that interested in the individual, just what that person can bring with them. Agency B is basically saying the opposite. As long as you have the right attitude, personality and motivation we will teach you the rest.
What an agency focuses on when they are hiring is a massive reflection of what they are like as a business and an employer.
If an agency was really only interested in buying my experience and contact book, I am not sure that would be a very enticing career move, regardless of how much they were going to pay me. Personally, I would much prefer an employer who was as interested in me, my skills, my development, my career goals…..and maybe most importantly where I wasn’t going to end up working with a bunch of gun-for-hire recruiters who would be off as soon as a better offer came in.
Experience and networks shouldn’t be discounted and they are certainly not irrelevant….otherwise my last 15 years has been a waste of time! Of course they are important to a business. And sometimes, it is necessary to hire someone that can offer these things (although not half as often as agencies convince themselves it is!). But if that is really all that is important, or worse, you are willing to compromise behaviours for them, then quite frankly your hiring strategy is pretty flawed. And probably destined to fail.
Same goes if you decide to join an agency purely because they are interested in you for those reasons. Sure, in the short term the offer might be financially enticing and give you a more important job title, but when those things lose their shine (and they will) what else is there? Of course we all want to be rewarded for the experience and success we achieve…and in the right business you still will.
(Talking of agencies that are more like Client B, check out our Agency in Focus …..although for this role you will need some recruitment experience as well as being a decent human being!!!)