Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Me? Work in recruitment? You must be joking!?

My inspiration behind punching out a blog and getting involved in the world of blogging was much the same as to why I entered the world of recruitment. There was the odd good thing out there worth checking out, but by and large there was a sea of mediocrity and in some cases sub standard tat. I'm not entirely sure that my blogging efforts will be up to scratch if I'm entirely honest with myself, but I still remember that day I decided to throw myself whole heartedly into being a recruiter.

I won't bore you with the details, but the bottom line was I was sold on it being a great idea - I really thought I could make a difference. But when I considered the moment I would be telling my friends and family that I was going to be a Recruitment consultant... well I did shudder a little.

Why so? Well, we are an embarrassment are we not? We're sharks aren't we? No better than Estate agents, that's for sure. And even now, although I'm really proud of what I've been able to achieve through meeting some great candidates and clients over the last few, very enjoyable years, I still have those toe curling moments when I simply feel embarrassed or just plain angry.

The current recession and down turn in general was always expected to shake out some of the recruiters who were located nearer the Wild West than London's West End, but the truth of the matter is that some of their poor practices have been on the increase. For me that is no surprise. What has been a surprise is that some candidates and clients have only served to exacerbate these practices.

Clients need to be the co-pilots with their recruitment partners on this issue. Notice I said "partners" there. Whilst I expect candidates to treat others as they wish to be treated themselves, I can understand that they want to land "that job" and that on occasions they may behave in a way we would not endorse or agree with in anyway. What we should not expect or understand is for clients - "responsible employers" - to continually "work with" recruiters and / or accept candidate CVs without the certain knowledge that the candidate has been met, interviewed thoroughly and given supporting evidence as to why they would be the right candidate for the role and in general for their business. In accepting candidates being presented in this manner, the HR, Resourcing or recruiting manager serves only in continuing the cycle. This in turn leads to an unfavourable return on the investment of the hire - bet your bottom dollar that fewer hires succeed where the candidate has not been met previously by a recruiter (read this excellent article by Roger Philby)

I'm not sure Tesco and JS would let market stall holders add a tatty old stall alongside their fixtures, yelling "come and get ya fruit and veg" across their stores, so why do employers let certain recruiters do this when it comes to hiring their greatest asset? Could it be they are trying to "get it on the cheap"? Understandable in the short term, particularly in the current climate - but is it really the smartest move? I think not. You'll frequently end up with a rotten apple.

It is incumbent upon those who passionately believe recruitment is a profession to be valued, to now really pick up the gauntlet and to begin having these uncomfortable conversations with our clients. If they respect you and you can genuinely add value to their business they will see where you are coming from. If they don't then the chances are the "partnership" is more of a one way street than you'd ideally hoped for and you may just be a "supplier" along with a bunch of others. I wonder which one the client gets most out of?

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