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Failed Recruiter? A Response

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by Lisa Johnson

almost 4 years ago

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Recently on news.com.au, an anonymous (!!),  former recruitment agent "spilled" the details on what "really" goes on in the industry. The article plays into every job applicant’s fears about the industry and how hard it is to find a new role.  But please don’t believe everything you read. Particularly if it's by someone who won't share his or her name (!! again). This is what the recruitment industry is actually like.

On the recruitment game

To start, it’s not a game.  For a good consultant, recruitment is a way of life. We take what we do very, very seriously.  Believe it or not, we are very much aware that people are relying on us every day.  Clients rely on us to understand their needs and to find the person who is going to add real value to their organisation.  Candidates rely on us to understand their goals and to help them identify organisations where they are going to get the right balance of environment and challenge. If you want an easy "sales" job, go work in another industry – recruitment is simply not for everyone. It is true that the hiring company is the one who pays for the service.  They pay us to find the best possible person for their vacancies, and they have high expectations.  If they are paying a substantial amount of money, then it stands to reason that they expect to see the very best available talent.  

So it is our job to identify and present it to them.  To say that a recruiter only cares about invoicing the hiring company and not if the candidate is going to stay in the role is ridiculous.  Let me tell you why. Most recruiters offer a guarantee period for their services.  Commonly, this guarantee period is for the same length as the probationary period.  Under Fair Work, the probationary period is now six months.  This means if the candidate leaves the role within that six month period we are required to find a replacement or pay a refund.  Believe me, nobody likes to have to work for free, and financially it's a disaster.  If all your recruiters are working on "free replacements," then business is going downhill very fast.

On resume flicking and luck

It happens. If you are a lazy "flick and stick" artist, every now and then one of the resumes you flick across a hiring manager’s desk will be in the right place at the right time. But only every now and then. Obviously, there is absolutely no consulting or even brainpower required for this strategy.  The good thing is that there are computer systems on the way that will be designed to do this type of recruitment. However, real recruiters consult.  If we are not good enough at listening to our customers, if we are not good enough at helping our customers develop a good understanding of what they "really want" and finding the best people to meet that need, then we are never going to succeed in this industry.

On how much recruiters make

It’s a funny thing, but the remuneration structure of recruiters has always been fair game. How my employer chooses to remunerate me, as one of its front line sales staff, is what I would consider to be, commercial in confidence. A good recruiter, like any good salesperson, works hard for every dollar that they make.  They work long hours, weekends and public holidays.  They make calls when they should be talking with their kids and they check email and log into their database when they should be having lunch with their mother.  Some are paid very well, but in my experience those people are the ones who really excel at what they do. Sometimes at the expense of their personal relationships.

On creating fake jobs to drum up business

It happens, but, quite frankly, it's illegal.  The only legal way to use a "generic" ad is to put text in the advertisement to say that there is a demand for a certain person with a certain skill set. This is common with temporary work where a consultant may get repeat business for a certain skill or function from a particular industry and they need to have good people available immediately. As long as you know you are being interviewed so that your details can be ready for a future assignment, there is nothing illegal or even "dodgy" about that.  It's good business.  But a consultant needs to make it very clear upfront that this is what they are doing.

On how we are pumping you for information

One of the most asked questions a recruitment consultant is asked is "How is the market?" Current market knowledge is gained when a good consultant asks a lot of questions. They are interested in where you are working now and why you are looking to leave.  They are going to ask you lots of questions about your current employer and working environment.  They want to understand what it is about that company that is not right fit for you and why you are looking to leave.  They do this so they don’t make the mistake of trying to find you a new role in a similar situation elsewhere, and, yes, they do this because if you leave your job, then there WILL be a vacancy, and maybe, even though that job was not right for you, it is perfect for another candidate we are working with. It’s a win-win for everyone.

On fleecing people out of their pay

Oh, come on!  People and the companies in which they work are not stupid. The reality is that more and more companies are demanding transparency from their recruiters, and rightly so.  Recruiters are under constant pressure to pay candidates as much as they can to attract them to a role and to charge the customer as little as possible to secure the deal.

On advice for job hunters

The world is filled with failed recruiters who are now retraining for a different industry.  Shop around and you will find the good ones, the ones who are passionate and genuine about what they do and how they deal with their clients and candidates.  Those recruiters are like gold.  And they are out there.

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