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Iron Ore, Wheat ...and Recruitment? Why Recruitment Is Not a Commodity

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by Mark Smith

over 2 years ago

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Yesterday, one of the people2people team shared a story with me that has prompted this post. He had successfully placed a temporary member of staff in a business that had a change of ownership and was in a pretty serious state of transformation. During the process of recruiting the temp, he had been working with both line management and human resources, which is not uncommon. After the assignment was completed and all of the details confirmed, he once again reached out to HR to try to establish an ongoing relationship.  

His call and email were responded to by HR with an email stating that they were not currently using agencies, as the company had changed ownership and was going through significant change...exactly the reason he had just filled the ongoing temp role. HR had obviously not taken notice of which recruitment consultant was supplying the temporary employee. 

This anecdote demonstrates what I believe has been a change in the perception of recruiters over the last fifteen years: the perception that recruitment consultants and agencies provide a service that is a commodity. 

Iron Ore, Wheat …and Recruitment? Why Recruitment Is Not a Commodity

To elaborate, what I mean is that recruitment agencies are seen as just another source of CVs. They are categorised with services such as job boards, third party databases and LinkedIn.  In this situation, the HR person does not see any advantage in starting a relationship with the recruiter, because the recruitment consultant is simply just another source of resumes. I can see how she forms this opinion, but I would profoundly disagree. 

Here's why: Sourcing a candidate is not recruiting a candidate. 

For those outside the recruitment industry, being able to find a candidate seems like the hardest part of making a new hire, whether it is on a temporary or a permanent basis. The reality is that simply receiving a CV via a job board or agency or identifying someone from a third party database like LinkedIn is not recruiting them. The best talent needs to be convinced that your opportunity is the best one available for them. 

The salary being offered needs to match the expectations of the candidate. Putting the salary on the job board advertisement is NOT negotiating a salary package. Recruiting the identified candidate is where a great recruiter comes in, and this recruiter can be either from an internal or an external team. They can make sure the CV you see is the CV of someone who is keen for the role, eagerly anticipating learning more, fits your team culture and has salary expectations in line with your budget.  

Don't forget that your competitors who have this relationship can access the best talent for their team before you! Building a relationship with a recruiter, not treating them as a commodity, will ensure you can get quality talent, delivered fast.

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