TrustingARecruitmentAgency

Trusting a Recruitment Agency with your Brand

We all say the most important part of any business is the people and we also say that first impressions count! So how important is it that we choose the right agency or headhunter to help us recruit? I would like to give you an insider candidate view on the recruitment process.

The recruitment process has changed

This summer, I left my role as a Managing Director and after a long summer break and seeing the children return to school, my attention was given to finding a new role. I was amazed at how the recruitment process has changed over the past few years, with the use of technology almost eliminating the need to speak to anyone, and in many cases, being used as an excuse for people not to speak to you. ‘Please submit you application online or refer to the website’ is a very common phrase I heard.

Online CV submission, keyword optimisation and daily job updates from the many sites, which amalgamate all the new roles posted into one email has become common practice. I embraced the change and set about getting my CV in front of the recruiters.

I was amazed at how the recruitment process has changed over the past few years, with the use of technology almost eliminating the need to speak to anyone, and in many cases, being used as an excuse for people not to speak to you.

After a few days, the phone started to ring and recruiters were telling me they had found my details online and asked whether I would like to have my CV submitted for various roles. Quite often the phone calls would last only a few minutes; yet the roles they were looking to fill were rather senior positions. Even so, they were happy to submit my CV. Now, I would like to think that it’s because of my experience but common sense tells me that, in most cases, it’s just a process they are going through to fill their number target and get CV’s back to the company quicker than the other agencies, with the hope that one will be lucky enough to hit the spot.

Would I stake my reputation on a short phone call and online CV? Unlikely!

Filtering through candidates

There were times I was being talked to about roles which most certainly were not in my area of expertise, but because the “computer says they have a match on a keyword” then I must be right for the role. Had I just gone along with the flow, my CV would no doubt have been passed to the client to waste their time. I also noticed that if I saved a new CV online every Monday, then I would be found but if my CV was older than 10 days the phone stopped ringing. How many great candidates are missed because they have not realised the most recently posted CV’s seem to appear at the top of the search lists presented to the agencies who pick the easy fruit first leaving those juicy pieces hidden under the leaves.

Admittedly, it is very easy now for candidates to upload their CV for all to see, and with one click, CV submission agencies do have to come up with some way of filtering out the right candidates. But I think we need to be careful that the human touch is still maintained as an important part of the process.

As a candidate taking a call from a recruiter I wanted to feel my CV was appropriate and that they had taken a little time to match me to a role. I am sad to say that, in many cases, the response of the recruitment agency put me off the company.

There was, however, an experience I wanted to share with you, which stood out from the rest. The process was not your normal agency one. The company had engaged with a recruiter who was being paid a fee to find the right person – more of a head hunter process -so there was no longer an incentive to just throw CVs back to the company and hope one stuck. The recruiter’s business model relied upon them providing a high quality managed process and they applied this process to both junior and senior roles. It is this driver I believe which made a difference in the way they approached selection and treated the candidates.

Once I submitted my CV, I received an email back from the recruitment manager with his signature and email address being that of the company. Yet I knew they were not big enough to have a full time recruitment team. It did, however, make me feel positive about the company. They obviously think it important the recruiter is seen as part of their team.

Little touches that make a difference

Matthew, their recruitment manager, then called me, and spent a good 30-40 minutes talking to me about my experience and the role. I called him back and the phone was answered, in the company name, not that of the recruiter. It’s the little touches that make a difference.

I was then invited to a formal telephone interview with Matthew who demonstrated to me that he knew about the role, the company, their vision and the directors involved in the recruitment process, something the other agencies had not demonstrated. Only after the two telephone interviews had been completed was my CV submitted to the company and Directors involved in the selection process. Once again, this felt like the company was investing time and money to find the right person and not relying on the search engine lottery.

As a candidate taking a call from a recruiter I wanted to feel my CV was appropriate and that they had taken a little time to match me to a role.

Now I suspect that the company was only ever sent CV’s of those candidates who really were interested in the role and had the right background, leaving the company directors/managers to spend time looking at strong viable candidates. It’s clear, from my experience, that the majority of agencies don’t invest time in this part of the selection process even is they say they do.

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This personal experience got me thinking about my previous recruitment practices. We paid agencies or Head Hunters a nice percentage of the role they recruited for but were we really getting value for money? And were they making my future employees feel valued from day one?

So the question I have is when did you last consider the recruitment process from a candidate’s point of view and is your recruitment agency representing your business how you would like them to?





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