Recruitment… why would you?

Hands up if you work roles contingently… to the layman, that’s when you are competing against 1 or more other recruiters and sometimes the client, on the same role.

Put your other hand up if you use job boards as your primary candidate sourcing tool.

Got both hands up? Wow… it sucks to be you…
Statistics show that 95-99% of all roles in agency recruitment are contingent. And in a recent survey of over 1,000 recruiters, 93% list job boards as their first choice tool for driving candidates… that’s conservatively 188% of you who are stuffed!

I hear you mutter… ‘What exactly do you mean Craig?’

recruitersareWell, I’ll tell you exactly what I mean. On the whole recruiter’s names are mud right? Just Google ™ Recruiters are… and you will find a descriptive array of adjectives all designed to hurt and deride our fabulous industry. Clients cite us as a necessary evil… and candidates… well candidates aren’t that nice about us.

I was speaking to a prospective new client the other day. For the purposes of anonymity let’s call him Steven Avery So… during the meeting I ask Steven what his experience with other rec2recs has been. Let’s not forget Steven is one of us right? He is a recruiter who runs a recruiting firm… engaging me to recruit for him…

‘Not so good to be honest Craig.’ He mused.

‘What do you mean?’ I probe. So far the conversation has been pretty boring… apologies, but I can’t promise it will get any better.

recruitersare2‘Well…’ he pondered. ‘Last year I put a role out to 3 rec2recs. It took almost 4 months to fill the brief and I wasn’t happy with the level of communication or urgency of any of them.’

‘Right…’ I countered. ‘Were you looking yourself at the same time?’… you are a recruiter after all…

‘Yes… I am a recruiter.’ He responded.

Damn… did I say that out loud?

‘Yes… you did say that out loud.’

Shit… I thought italics specifically meant I was thinking… not talking.

‘Not in this case Craig…’

We got past that awkwardness, but it turned out that Steven was a recruiter who was a recruiter hater… much like the wider business owning, candidate needing fraternity.

You see, if you are competing against other agencies and even the client there can only be one winner…

Most recruiters have a 1 in 3 success rate when filling roles. That means they fail 66.6% of the time… no wonder clients don’t value our service.

And what about candidates? If I had a $ for every disgruntled candidate who has trolled this blog with comments such as… all recruiters are scum-sucking parasites… or I’m sick of recruiters who post fake ads and never respond to my application… I would have an extra, $647 in my pocket.

Facts are this. The average job ad receives 37 applications. Let’s say after reviewing them all you bring 5 or 6 applicants in for an interview. Maybe 3 of them get to meet the client. And if you are lucky… don’t forget the 1:3 fill ratio… you fill the role with one candidate… One Candidate… out of the original 37 applications.

That leaves the very real possibility of 36 candidates blaming you… yes you… for their failure in securing the role.

recruitersare3Can you see where I’m coming from?

On the whole, Clients don’t want us. Candidates don’t trust us… and neither of them like us.

So what is the magic answer?

Sorry… there isn’t one.

As recruiters, honesty, integrity, expertise and communication are your best tools to separate you from others. When speaking with clients ask about their experience with other recruiters… wherever possible provide an honest service that matches their expectations. If you are working the role contingently, let the client know that the contingent model encourages a dog eat dog, transactional environment that has more losers than winners. After you have proven yourself on a role ask for exclusivity on the next one… build a relationship based on success, respect and open communication.

With candidates don’t hold back on the feedback. If you give honest, detailed feedback to every candidate on why they weren’t successful for a role, you will be more widely respected… and trusted.

Yes we work in a tough industry. There are cynics out there… and haters who just want to… well… hate.

My advice is don’t become a cynic or hater yourself.

Work hard and with urgency. Be honest, provide feedback and communicate. And you will reap the rewards.

And when people ask… Recruitment… why would you? You can respond with a heartfelt… why wouldn’t you?

Craig Watson


5 thoughts on “Recruitment… why would you?

  1. Contingency - a race to the bottom on Reply

    Contingency is the reason the industry is so maligned. It is a model that breeds underhanded and unprofessional behaviour, poor candidate treatment and total lack of quality of customer service. I say customer because if you work on contingency you don’t have clients – just customers who spot trade with you. Worst of all, it punishes recruiters who do the right thing and favours those who break the rules.

    The thing is, it isn’t even in your own best interests to work on a contingency model – you are wasting most of your time – literally wasting it – you are chasing customers who won’t return your calls, spamming unwanted CV’s in the hopes that one sticks, chasing around the same candidates that all of your competitors are chasing around, and overall providing nothing of value to your customers that they can’t easily do themselves – how is this sustainable?

    1. Craig Watson on Reply

      Very valid points there… Unfortunately some sectors don’t have the sophistication for retained work… it’s a slow process and I hope for the industry’s sake we all get there!

  2. Ben Oakley on Reply

    As an industry, we need to be doing more to move away from the contingent recruitment model – its just not a good way of working for any of the parties involved – its like asking 5 different real estate agents to sell your house for you at the same time and also advertising it yourself in the local paper. It’s a mess, it’s confusing and it just leads to minimal commitment and a focus on speed over quality.

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