There are a lot of articles popping up currently, suggesting that the recruitment industry is ‘broken’ and a real shake up to fix things is needed. We’ve read – and discussed as a team at length – a lot of these and we have a lot of thoughts…

Initially, it’s easy to agree; a saturated recruitment industry with businesses undertaking practices that discredit the industry, give others a bad name and leave their clients feeling jaded towards agencies following a bad experience. But then every industry has ‘rogue traders’, or ‘cowboys’, who despite claiming to, don’t necessarily work in the most ethical of ways.

The Thomas research report, ‘Mind The Trust Gap’ states that “Over half of all hires aren’t working out in some capacity.

Broken recruitment = bad hiring decisions = lower productivity and engagement.

Now this doesn’t necessarily cover agency-led hires exclusively, but they will come into it and the stats are shocking. The recruitment industry is hurting itself, with a downward spiral of reduced fees, lessened service and therefore less success. Especially for SMEs, getting the hiring of a new member of staff wrong can be catastrophic in terms of cost. Even when you work with an agency, and there’s some sort of rebate period. The lost productivity of that vacant job role for however long it takes (and it can take months in the current climate) to find a suitable replacement can be equated to thousands in terms of lost revenue, not to mention costs of advertising, internal cover, salary payments on a hire that didn’t work out wasted… recruitment is a process you want to get right first time, every time. Ideally!

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, many workforces were depleted, through furlough leading to non-return of staff and redundancies. Suddenly, we’re back to business as usual and the demand is high; businesses are now in a period of accelerated hiring to rebuild or reshape teams to reap the benefits of the boosted economic climate. It’s vitally important therefore that any recruitment processes, be these direct or via agency, are actioned correctly and with the right mindset to avoid an endless churn of staff.

Recruitment companies are ten a penny. There are loads of them out there, let’s just state facts. There are not as many actively looking candidates as there used to be though, that’s for sure. But with there being so many agencies and so few candidates, there’s a natural pattern whereby hiring companies put a vacancy out to multiple agencies, all working on the standard ‘no hire, no fee’ model and thinking that they are casting a lovely wide net without any risk. Wrong.

What happens in this situation (albeit no one is saying this out loud!) is that the agencies jostling for position alongside one another on this vacancy reduce fees down, and to accommodate this, provide a skeleton service, posting hurried, generic job adverts and effectively casting the same net as everyone else across the sparse pool of actively seeking candidates. In turn, these candidates are then approached by multiple agencies, who are all in a race to present the candidate to the client first, likely bombarded by phone calls and impersonal emails selling them a job they might not be the right fit for.

You wouldn’t ask three plumbers to come and fix a leaky tap, then only pay the one who did the best job, would you? It’s the same in recruitment. 

Think about it this way; we already know that actively looking candidates are seeking a role. There’s no need to be upselling a vacancy to them, they should be involved in deep conversation about their skills, motives, long-term goals and the sort of team they fit into, and a recruiter can then ascertain if the role is right for them. The upselling comes in to play when a recruiter is sourcing from the pool of passive candidates.

A passive candidate is one who has a relationship with a recruiter, however is comfortable in their current role and is not actively jobseeking. They are candidates who’ve perhaps built a good relationship with their recruiter previously, and who have clearly defined the selling points that they would consider making a career move for. Good recruiters have huge schools of passive candidates in their pools, and they take the time to cultivate their relationships with these candidates. So, when they do contact the candidate, they’re taken seriously with their suggestion and can help a client to find a candidate not readily available on the open market, and far more likely to prove a successful hire.

Here at Truly Tailored Recruitment, we’re trying to be part of the change in our industry. We’re not (and it took us a while to fully believe this ourselves!) afraid to walk away from business if we feel the fee agreements are too low. We won’t match rates from other recruiters who are offering rock-bottom prices, because we won’t offer a rock-bottom service! It’s been scary, but we’ve decided to stick to our guns, look at more exclusive deals – and that also means respecting deals made by our competitors; we don’t go blazing in to try and usurp their clients, we let them do their thing without fear of having to compete if that’s how they have agreed to work – and generally, stay in our lane, refusing to be dragged down into the bottom of the pond fishing for scraps!

If all recruiters worked in the same way, we’d lift our industry up into a higher regard, and help prevent it from degrading further. As a people-to-people business, we’re most interested in finding clients where we can develop a strong, close working relationship that spans many years. It might be slower on the uptake, but we’re building good foundations and doing our bit to strengthen the industry we are all so passionate about.

So, fellow Gloucestershire (and national) recruiters, how about, looking forward to 2022, we all make a conscious effort to really value our own clients and candidates, giving them the service they deserve, and pay for, to set some examples? We’re supposed to be extensions of our client’s HR or recruitment teams, so let’s remember that and focus inwardly instead of worrying about what one another is doing. For the good of our industry.