Are you killing the Recruitment Consultant?

We’ve spoken previously about how Examagram is an excellent value add for any internal or external recruitment team, even those who interview all candidates face to face.  When we approach most recruitment agencies, the response is almost exclusively very good. It doesn’t  take a genius to see the commercial benefits of a free recruitment tool which allows you to add value for your clients or to your recruitment team.  Once the recruiter understands the service and realizes it is genuinely free, the initial level of engagement tends to be very high.

Despite this initial high interest, we have then seen a number of cases where the recruiter subsequently doesn’t send out many tests,and the overall level of engagement drops quickly.  Clearly we were keen to understand why and have reached out to our users to learn more.  The reasoning from all of these types of parties we spoke to was very similar and so we teamed up with one Malaysian based agency to delve a bit deeper into their apparent loss of enthusiasm, and to see what we could do to rectify it.

Our market research has consistently shown that most recruitment agencies do not actively engage in skills testing unless specifically requested as the cost of these tests can rarely be passed directly onto the client.  As Examagram is completely free we asked the recruitment agency why this value was not being perceived.  The recruitment agency were keen to point out that they absolutely did recognize the importance of the service and the value it represents however as 1 senior consultant candidly explains they felt it didn’t always benefit them to use it:

"What am I meant to do? I provide a shortlist of 5 candidates to my client. I interviewed the candidates, tested them and in some instances referenced them. This took me some time to turnaround but it was a job well done. In the meantime, my competitor who was also engaged in the role “sprayed and prayed” 2 of the 5 candidate’s CVs over to the client and secured the interviews. No interview, no test, nothing but they got there first and the client accepted it. Whether it is an interview, an online test or doing a reference – it may not cost us money but it does cost us time and in this instance it cost me the job as one of those candidates got the position. All that work for nothing!!"

Understandably, the consultant was extremely frustrated by this and it seems this is a regular occurrence. We suggested a different approach to testing where this particular recruitment agency could proactively test (at no cost) their existing database of candidates. The directors agreed and assigned this task to an intern on a 3 month placement who very quickly began contacting candidates, and explaining the benefits of demonstrating their communication skills in this way. The response from the candidates was overwhelmingly positive, with a 90% completion rate on tests – general feedback from candidates also painted the agency in a very positive light as one who was acting in an advisory way, helping them to get a job and generally keeping in contact.

The concerns raised by the consultant highlights highlight a wider issue in the outsourced recruitment model – one which was expertly highlighted by Greg Savage in The Global Recruiter:

"Clients, (who) naively thinking they get a better service because they get agencies to compete, actually get a far worse service because they are actively encouraging recruiters to work on speed, instead of quality.

Recruiters suffer because even if we want to, we can’t really ‘partner’ or ‘consult’, or ‘value-add’, and in the end we only fill one out of five jobs"

Simply, when the ability to act as a partner is removed, quality suffers and true value added services are removed from the equation. This approach doesn’t just harm the employer either, as Greg goes on to point out:

"Candidates suffer the most because they do not get service or due care from third party recruiters, who are too busy chasing mythical job orders in competition with five other recruiters, to actually focus on the candidate’s needs"

This is where the proactive agency can take advantage and look to differentiate themselves in an otherwise broken market. The winners in this industry (to borrow one final quote from Greg) will be:

"Those recruiters who can blend technology with the craft of recruitment, and who can secure a greater percentage of the clients commitment, via retainers, exclusivity, or other partnership arrangement"

The Malaysian agency we spoke to are now winning – they used technology to show value to their clients who now accept that skills testing should form an important part of the recruitment process. Incorporating Examagram into their existing process has enabled them not only to secure a higher number of exclusive jobs but also full RPO projects where skills testing has been a key feature in the winning proposals. The key here was getting the testing done early, in a cost effective way, and turning what could have been lost jobs into greater client engagement and ultimately new business.

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