What’s wrong with recruitment…and how to fix it!

What’s wrong with recruitment…and how to fix it!

This could potentially be a VERY long post because I’m talking about an industry that has many inherent flaws. In my opinion, many of the problems we see stem from some fundamental issues that recruiters have wrought upon themselves and customers unwittingly propagate.

The paying customers’ perspective

Having been a customer myself and in speaking with countless other recruitment customers, I can tell you that their complaints are very consistent.

There’re a lot of them so I’ll list out the top 10:

  1. They waste my time
  2. They lie to me
  3. They keep hassling me every 5 minutes
  4. Fees are too expensive
  5. Recruiters don’t understand my business or the role
  6. Candidates aren’t even being interviewed before they’re sent to me
  7. They’ve been looking for months and can’t find anyone
  8. Everyone they send to me are terrible
  9. Too many cold calls
  10. I’m sick of junior recruiters who have no idea

The recruiters’ perspective

There’s a pretty similar list of gripes here too:

  1. They waste my time
  2. They lie to me
  3. I have to chase them for everything and they never call me back
  4. They cancel roles and they’ve always got 5 other recruiters working the same role
  5. This role is a $150K investment and they won’t even meet with me to talk about their business or the role in detail
  6. Every time I send a candidate they’re “already on our database” or another agency has just sent them 5 minutes before me
  7. They’ve been looking for months but won’t budge on the spec or increase their budget
  8. They don’t give me any feedback on candidates I send them
  9. There’s no customer loyalty and they always step outside the PSA
  10. I’m sick of ridiculously low PSA rates

And the sad thing here is the true victim of this lack of accountability and partnership – the rather important people – the TALENT!

What’s to be done

It’s tempting to work through each of these issues one by one and talk about solutions but we’d be treating the symptoms, not the core problems.

It seems to me that most problems stem from the bounty hunter style pricing model prevalent in the market where the fee is contingent upon success. With this model the customer has nothing to lose by being non-committal and farming the role out to multiple recruiters.

To draw an analogy, this model is like giving your tax return to 5 accountants and telling them that you’ll only pay whoever gets you the quickest result. If you did that, what kind of result would you get? I bet any accountant worth their salt would turn it down instantly and if you were lucky enough to get a few to agree how would they approach the assignment? They’d rush it, they’d probably cut corners so they don’t invest too much time in case they don’t get paid. Just like you, they’d be hedging their bets.

So when we do the same thing in recruitment a few important things happen. Because we’re dealing with a number of recruiters this soaks up so much time that it’s too much effort to do a proper job brief. In fact it’s too much effort to call everyone back or respond to the CVs they’ve sent. We haven’t spent any money so it’s no skin off our nose, right? Then the follow-up calls start and we get fed up pretty quickly.

The recruiters know how the game works so they’ll make a call on where your role should sit in their priority list. Most good recruiters will successfully place between 25% to 50% of the roles they work. That means they spend their own time and money on 10 jobs but only get paid for 2.5 to 5 of them (sometimes none).

So recruiters usually look at their jobs and think “what can I definitely place?”. This is where the bulk of their time will (should!) be spent. If you’re not a top priority because you don’t return calls or you have too many recruiters working your role, or your fee is too low, or you’ve been looking for ages and you’re not paying enough money… then guess what, you get a half-hearted effort.

More importantly we’re motivating recruiters based on speed, so it’s in their best interests to try to get the best return from the least amount of effort. This encourages what we call a flick and stick, or spray and pray approach. Basically, this means playing the numbers and throwing as many CVs out to as many customers as possible knowing that the law of averages means that something will stick. The scary thing is, this is so entrenched that Recruiter’s KPIs are actually measured and rewarded based on these numbers! I hasten to add not at 33 Talent for this very reason (check out our ROWE article for more info)

 

There is a better way!

I think the solution is to throw out the contingent fee model. Instead, work with one recruiter and pay them a portion of their fee upfront. This commits both parties to getting a quality result and puts your job firmly at the top of the priority list. It means that the recruiter doesn’t have to cut corners to get you a CV before someone else snags the fee. It means recruiters can afford to take on half the number of jobs because they know they’ll get paid for all of them. It means candidates aren’t getting calls from 5 different recruiters and don’t start thinking “jeez these guys (Client X) must be desperate!”. It also usually means you’ll be able to negotiate a discount because you’ve removed some of the recruiter’s risk.

Is this risky for you? Yes it probably is, but in the context of all your recruiting over a number of years, doesn’t it make good business sense to spend time up front picking a good recruiter with good references and a strong track record? Then build a strong, exclusive relationship with them until you get to the point that they know your business better than most of your staff. If they let you down, find another agency. You might have the odd false start but over time you will get much better results and you will absolutely save money.

A common misconception

I once had a customer say “But I’m buying a product, if I like what’s on your shelf then I’ll pay, if I don’t then I won’t”. Sorry, but candidates are most definitely not sitting on a shelf waiting for your call! You’re not buying a product, you’re buying a service. You’re paying for someone to go out to market and represent your business. You’re paying for someone to search high and low, ask for referrals, network extensively and generally do whatever it takes to find you the perfect person.

Having said that, the best recruiters invest heavily in their network so they will often be able to recommend someone they’ve already met. But it’s important to recognise, you’re still paying for a service. You’re paying for someone to successfully broker and secure a long term relationship on your behalf that you can then benefit from quickly. Just because they are in the recruiters network when you ask doesn’t mean a huge amount of time (usually years) of effort hasn’t gone into making that the case

Final thoughts

If you spent $150K (on say a piece of Software) in your business, would you spend a lot of time with a vendor to make sure they really understood what you wanted? You bet! Why is a $150K candidate any different? It’s a big investment and very expensive if you get it wrong so it pays to invest the time with quality partners to make sure you get it right.

At 33 Talent we have built a new suite of models that make this transition easier for clients. One of them, for example, only requires a small proportion up front and then a reduced success fee at the other end which isn’t payable if the Talent comes from an ad as opposed to Search & Networks.  This reduces waste and risk on both sides for a win win.

There is an element of Trust required still sure, but there is in any meaningful relationship in life! Whatever your solution, Clients and Recruiters need to start partnering more and at a deeper level to make sure the ever growing disconnects that also effect the Talent (And therefore Employment Brands) start to be bridged and turned around.

If you want to discuss any of the solutions and ideation around how to make recruitment better for all concerned, please contact us at info@33talent.com or +61 (0)2 9283 6004.

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Why I Love Recruiting

Why I love Recruiting

Recruiting is so often misunderstood and misinterpreted and is incredibly hard to do well. Friends, family and past co-workers have often asked me; Why do you still do it?

Well thanks to a spur on by RecruitingBlogs I have finally put it down in words, Why I Love Recruiting. Its important to share what’s to love about our job with all the negativity around, so I hope this inspires some people and demonstrates to others why it can be a great profession to be in and stick at…

Two words: ‘PEOPLE’ and ‘BUSINESS’.

PEOPLE: There is nothing that fascinates me more, never has been, never will be. My job, especially as I’m also a business leader, is 100% about people. My clients are people, my talent are people, my employees are people and my services and solutions are all people focussed.

People are intriguing, frustrating, passionate, annoying, fun, boring, clever, dumb, irrational, rational, strong, weak, single minded, pliable, emotional, passive, dominant, detailed, sloppy, fearful, fearless, intuitive, blind (not in seeing sense), knowledgeable, well read, narrow minded, interesting, aggressive, friendly, desperate, cynical, angry, happy, caring, selfish…and the list goes on.

I am responsible and accountable for making sure that within this mix I introduce the right people to each other, keep them interested as they ‘date’, manage all the delicacies of their individualisms and the process they go through and then make sure they are happy thereafter. Now to do that well is a challenge. It’s varied. It’s a journey and it has its ups and downs, highs and lows. No other job I can think of would deal with people in such a concentrated way.

BUSINESS: Other than People, here is nothing that interests me more than Business. I get to see and listen to businesses and the people that make them every day. I get to learn about what works, what doesn’t, what’s new, what’s old, issues, solutions and everything in between. I get to see them grow and develop and become all they can become. I’m privy to insights and inside thoughts from the grad to the CEO.

I am responsible for listening so I truly understand them and the people in them. I then get to introduce people into them and watch them all grow and benefit from this introduction.

Both the above can be thankless, painful, political and difficult tasks but it is satisfying in ways I cannot begin to describe (you really have to live it to understand) when it all works.

I love recruitment because I love people and their differences, and businesses and their challenges.

I love recruitment because it pays me to be involved with people in one of the most important aspects of their lives, their careers and their businesses. I get paid to do what I love. Corny, maybe, conveniently truthful – absolutely!

Do what you love. When you love your work, you become the best worker in the world.
Uri Geller

Take Stock of your Talent

Take Stock.

It’s that time of year, most of us are either half way through or just starting a new one, but either way it’s a point at which we need to review the last 6 months against expectations and align our plans for the coming half year:

  • How’s it gone? Where could we have done better? Why did things go wrong? Where will we focus moving forward and how will we get there?

These are questions we need to ask ourselves as individuals, team players and as a company as a whole. As a leader I know how important it is to get all these aspects aligned. However, there is no more important single element than plans around your Talent. This is a very simple reality. Without engaged, motivated, and well equipped (in all sense of the word) employees, you will not have achieved much and I guarantee you will not be able to go anywhere fast.

We operate a ROWE which means we measure Results. This is a good thing for our clients (companies and candidates alike) and our employees, as it means we are not waylaid by ridiculous internal KPIs but only the focus of achievement for customers. To make this a reality though it incorporates 2 things. 1 – a quarterly review of achievements against those results measurements (financial, growth, teamwork, quality ratios, customer satisfaction – you will hear from us soon if you are a customer!) and then re-alignment for improvement and 2 – a bi-annual review in which we assess the bigger picture such as strategy, plans, careers, clients etc, and again re-align and strive to improve.

Whatever culture and system you have in place, it is imperative you take stock of your company Talent in all the business reviewing and planning you do. What are people feeling, achieving, wanting to achieve and think they can achieve. Align this to all the other goals  and my advice is you are clear about its communication, you inspect what you expect, and you focus on results in all aspects of the business, both retrospectively and in looking forward.

The most important factor is that this is done regularly, especially in these times of ‘change’. Business is moving so fast these days that to keep ahead, or at least with the game, you need to constantly be assessing where you have been, where you are now, and where you need to be in the coming period. I recently read a great article on Targus that highlights this business reality. The  MD saw the importance of HR strategies required to adapt to business change and utilised this to turn round their competitive offering in a fast changing environment http://tinyurl.com/3o32qsj

I look forward to hearing back your comments on our service over the last 6 months and any improvements we can make. I also look forward to hearing about your plans for Talent over the coming half year and how we can help you achieve your growth or plans.