Nigel Harse, RIB Report
In todays competitive marketplace many firms now focus their attention and activities into achieving deep penetration into market niches, which often demand detailed industry or technical knowledge; therefore, todays recruiters are as diverse and varied as the positions they fill.
Its always tough to find good recruiters and there isn't a magic formula that determines future success in recruiting. Desirable characteristics include good people skills, a competitive and resilient nature with a penchant for sales, flexibility, confidence, honesty, integrity and adaptability. In hiring recruiters we also need to ensure they have the right cultural style and fit for our own recruitment team, candidates and clients as well.
In thinking about my days of running Ecco it was quite clear then, as it is now, to grow the business you have to find an effective way to attract, retain and grow your own talent.
In the early days it took two to three months to find the right people, but within five years we were in the fortunate position to have people waiting to join us in most locations. Recruiting new people became a whole lot easier! Where we really differed from our competitors was that we rarely employed consultants from our competitors and if we did, we expected to train them in the same way as all others joining the team, experienced or not. As the most experienced person in the business I saw recruiting and developing the team as my most important task and allocated priority time to these tasks each week. DO YOU?
Within the first year we had profiled all team members (back then we used DISK) and obtained some clear personality profiles of the winners and losers in commercial recruitment and from that point on we only recruited within profile.
We had very clear expectations of what should be achieved within three, six and 12 months and we had no reservations on letting those people go who were unable to meet our requirements, surprisingly there weren't that many. Our training and buddying system almost guaranteed success.
So, where did we find our best recruiters?
The majority of our new team members came from active referrals from our clients and existing team members. We also took first pick from everyone who walked in the door for an interview; our priority was ensuring we had the pick of the crop ,we understood that our future depended on it!
Rod Hore, HHMC Australia
It comes as no surprise that many recruitment agency owners don't apply a disciplined process to their own internal recruitment.
It is an unexplained premise that what you do for your clients you don't necessarily do for yourself. Internal recruitment within agencies can often be reactive, unstructured and not related to a planned strategic objective. As a result many staff within recruitment agencies don't have the skills, experience or characteristics needed for the roles they are expected to perform and worse, many suitable candidates are rejected.
Much recruitment is undertaken on the untested belief that the job requirement is based around a full 360 degree service model involving creating client relationships, winning job orders, writing adverts, interviewing and selecting candidates, and then selling candidates to the client. And of course chasing the invoice payment.
This may be a model that hasn't kept up with operational changes in the workplace as many recruitment agencies these days do not work in this 360 degree manner with their clients. The consultant might be taking over an established desk or creating a new desk in a new sector. They might be running a temp desk, not a perm desk. They might be working under a structured PSA environment or even an RPO environment. They may never see the client line manager but respond to internal HR requirements. Their role might be more about sourcing candidates from one or more channels rather than facing clients. They may work in an environment rewarding team performance rather than an individual commission structure.
The job description in each of these scenarios is different, as is the profile of the person most suited to the role. There are many roles in the recruitment industry productively filled by consultants who have high call reluctance or prefer less interaction with clients. The structure of recruitment agencies have changed to meet changing demands from clients and emerging trends such as RPO, Offshoring and Master Vendor contracts. Consequently, the attributes of the people required to work successfully within them is driven by the nature of these environments.
Given our industry has an extreme talent shortage then those undertaking agency recruitment cannot afford to reject potentially suitable candidates on the basis of an out-dated model. It is time to upgrade the person profile, characteristics and experience that best predict successful performance.
Even smaller agencies can create multiple career paths for consultants those who have a desire and talent for leadership, those who are most suited to the candidate end of the recruitment process, and of course those who have the talent and desire to undertake the business development function that is so critical.
Its not easy, but as Nigel says, your business depends on getting your recruitment right.