What planet are many recruitment companies living on when it comes to the future of their businesses? Over the last few months I have spoken to many different types of recruitment business, from small to huge, generic to sector specific to micro-niche etc, and I am staggered by the level of resistance to change.
In my opinion, I think we are seeing more change in the recruitment sector now than we have seen for many years. Exciting isn't it? Well it maybe for some people, but it seems that my industry - recruitment - still wants to sit back, watch decide on its fate at a later date. Here are 10 points why I think recruitment agencies just cannot afford to wait any longer to make changes:
- Job seekers (the lifeblood of recruiters) are suffering from are suffering from 'job board-itus' and are now using less job boards. YET recruiters are now using more job boards in the hope they will find the people they want. Only one answer to that - DIMINISHING RETURNS.
- Candidate exclusivity is extinct. The days of being able to get exclusivity (and the subsequent 'control') from candidates is well and truly over. The proliferation of social media and openness of data has seen to that.
- Job adverts - the longstanding default for recruitment companies - are producing less and less relevant results. No longer can recruitment consultants simply take a job requirement from a client, place an advert and fill it from the advert response. Firstly, the likelihood is that the client has already done this, and secondly 'job-board-itus' mentioned in point, means good candidates are less likely to see the adverts and actually apply.
- The one and only income source for recruitment companies - their fee-paying clients - are relying less and less on recruitment agencies for recruitment. They are doing more direct sourcing, building better career sites, using recruitment technology more effectively than ever, utilising the power of their brands via the social channels and actually using the same resources (job boards, LinkedIn etc) as the recruitment companies themselves!
- The once successful days of hitting the phones solidly from 9-5 with meaningless scripts and (lets be honest here) sh*t so-called sales calls are over, in my opinion. Too many companies and candidates have been on the end of them, and they have developed a much harder and apathetic approach to the them. However, the days of quality, researched, knowledgeable and respectful sales calls is very much here - they are the ones that clients AND candidates are happy to receive.
- There is still a massive expectation, that as long as recruitment agencies keep doing what they have always done, things will 'turn round in the end', and their businesses will return to successful times again. Doh! Do you read the news? Does the word economy mean anything to you? Things will never go back to the way they were - surely your decreasing sales figures will show that.
- Many recruiters are under-skilled in many of the new methods needed to survive in the changing recruitment world. To be fair, this is more circumstance and speed of change that anything else. The ability to think laterally, be creative in sourcing techniques, strong relationship builders, multi-taskers and be prepared to accept change, are not necessarily in-built in today's recruitment needs. Training is needed to help them adapt and change.
- There is SO much focus on next month's perm targets / contract numbers / billings / reveues / targets / (have I missed anything here?) that little time is spent developing strategies for the next 3,6 and 12 months. It is as if the world just revolves around the next 4 week cycle. What about the word relationship? Time invested in these now, more often than not yields success further down the line. The better recruiters have always understood this, and have invested their time accordingly.
- Big data has happened. Everyone (whether they like it or not) has a digital footprint online across the social web. That means with the right tools and training everyone can be found. Online sourcing is now at levels like never before. It is for this reason that point 2 above has happened. And there are some really awesome tools recruiters can tap into immediately to find good people. Of course, the sourcing is just the first stage, engaging with them is another!
- It is actually 2012, not 2007. Just checking that you realised that - I have been convinced in my many conversations that recruitment owners haven't realised!
This is not a recruitment agency bashing post at all - recruitment is in my blood, why would I do that? There are massive opportunities in this market at the moment, for those with the vision, speed and desire to change to take advantage of them. New skills niches are opening up every day, candidate sourcing has hugely opened up your available options to find good people, and with your competitors still sitting on the social fence, you have a real opportunity to steal an march on them.
Change is upon us, and worryingly I see too many recruitment agencies prepared to sit still and watch the business world pass them by at an alarming pace. Many would expect me to bang-on about social recruiting and how you must implement it tomorrow just to survive. Well the truth is, this is much bigger than just using social networks to recruit. This is about a more fundamental review of what you think your recruitment business is actually going to look like in 1-2 years time. Now is not the time to 'suggest a review' in 6 months time (which is what one of the big household name recruitment companies have just done), now is the time to figure out how best you can get competitive advantage while you still can.