I read one of those articles yesterday that talked about the death of recruitment agencies. I say ‘one of those articles’ because it seems that there has been a spate of them in the last few years. Ever since people started talking about new technologies, LinkedIn and DIY recruitment tools , there has been an endless stream of doomsayers predicting how it will bring the agency recruitment industry to it’s knees. The same argument was used when job boards became the new kid on the block. Why pay an agency fee when you can do it just as easy yourself?
To all those pushing this argument …… please shut up ! Not only are you missing the point of what a good recruiter really does, you also don’t understand what good recruitment is about.
If recruitment is just about doing it as cheaply as possible then sure, there are cheaper options than using an agency. But few business decisions are based purely on cost alone; in the same way that you don’t just buy the cheapest car in the showroom. Business decisions are always ultimately about getting the right result. And in recruitment terms that is having the right bum on the right seat. Sure, technology can do a lot of the grunt work and in some cases do it better and quicker than a recruiter. Social media means we all have access to a lot of the same information and automation of processes may be more consistent and more streamlined.
But I have yet to see the piece of software that can persuade an individual to consider moving jobs or attend an interview. Or one that can negotiate between a client and candidate to get a vacancy filled. Or one that will stay in touch with the favoured candidate and keep them happy whilst the decision maker suddenly disappears for a fortnight. Or one that will stop you making a bad hiring decision because it suddenly hears on the grapevine that the candidate has been sacked from their last role for gross misconduct. Or one that will be referred new candidates because their friend enjoyed their experience with them. Or one that persuades someone to go back on day 2 of a new job because really the first day was just a bad start and nothing more. Or one that will take a candidate out for coffee. Or one that …. you get the picture !
The same argument has been applied when comparing agency and internal. Why use an agency when you can do it in-house at, supposedly, half the price (mmm…)? No reason at all – if it is done properly. If it appreciates that the candidates that are going through your awesome, automated recruitment system are also being courted by awesome, persuasive agency recruiters offering them other options . From what I hear, internal recruitment functions have some way to go to be as effective in the art of recruitment as those in agency land.
Of course, an agency recruiter has to be bloody good at what they do. Otherwise their fees don’t make sense and the argument falls down very quickly. But if they are delivering a better result than anything or anyone else , then why will they disappear ? So to all those people who continue to preach the death of recruitment agencies, take it from a successful agency recruiter….. “It’s the end of the world….and I feel fine!”