Recruiters certainly have a bad name, and agencies are frequently bad mouthed for their reliance on hard sales techniques. Candidates often feel as though they’re not heard, and worse, that they’re only a number, fulfilling a recruiter’s quota for placements.
It’s worth noting that some of the problems that candidates encounter are outside of a recruiter’s control. From the stress of changing jobs, to a loss of control over the process, recruiters are sometimes unfairly placed in the crosshairs.
But, there are some common practices in the recruitment industry that certainly don’t help our public image. In an increasingly candidate-centric job market, there are plenty of reasons that recruiters are under-respected at best, and loathed at worst. Here are our top four…
"Recruitment agencies just hurl CVs at you until one happens to be good”
Not all recruitment agencies operate this way, I know. Trouble is, the ones that do tar the reputation of those that don’t. Proving to clients that you don’t belong to the spray-and-pray school of recruitment is all in the ratios. Make sure you’re monitoring how many CVs you present against how many interviews they request, and how many interviews it takes to get a hire. Our previous blog post, How to Make More Placements with Less Candidates, includes some quick tips on improving your interview to hire ratio.
“They say they’ll call back, but they never do!”
This one is one of the most frequent candidate complaints, but it’s really easy to remedy: respond to every applicant, however underqualified they may be for the job. Most recruitment software can do this automatically but for new businesses working off a spreadsheet, it’ll only take 10 minutes to draft a template to copy and paste to unsuccessful applicants. No more excuses!
“Recruiters take a fat commission for just a bit of admin work”
For anyone who has ever had to recruit, this is pretty laughable – but a lot of people genuinely believe that’s all there is to recruitment. Could this be what your client thinks? Set the record straight by being transparent about your processes. If necessary, remind them how many sources you had to search, how many CVs you had to go through, and how many calls you had to make to reach your shortlist. Even if you’ve got nothing to report, make regular contact to explain how far along you are with their job.
“They don’t know anything about the jobs they’re recruiting for”
Particularly in professional services and niche markets, candidates are quick to judge recruiters on their technical knowledge. It’s tricky to strike a balance between being reassuring candidates that you understand their industry without being scrutinised for the skills you do or don’t have yourself. A little knowledge helps a lot though. Take an extra-curricular interest in the areas you recruit for and you’ll surprise those candidates with low expectations, immediately setting you apart from other agencies. You don’t need to be an expert to be better than the competition!
The Recruitment Sector’s Image Problem
For the most part, the bad reputation that plagues the recruitment sector is down to bad communication and poor marketing. Clients and candidates need to know who they’re working with, and recruiters need to be open about their process.
As the job market becomes ever more candidate-centric, it’s important to forget the hard sales tactics that worked in the past. Now, persuasive and convincing branding will make all of the difference, and it will help a recruitment agency to stand out for the right reasons. Couple that with a more holistic and considered approach, and we can go a long way towards repairing our industry's battered reputation.