Does the world really need recruitment consultants?

After a frustrating couple of months I’ve found myself asking this question on a more regular basis. Of course I already know the short answer….no, it doesn’t. What we do is definitely not rocket science and everyone knows what *astronomical fees we charge! (*no pun intended) But if you’ll permit me to continue, I’m going to try and explain why we’re here and why, when you find a good one, they can make your life easier and maybe even save you a few quid.

These days when I have a conversation with a client or candidate about how things are going they generally have one of two perceptions - either business must be booming because of all the extra candidates on the market, or it must be horrendous because there’s no jobs to go at. Both hypothesis are wrong.

Yes there’s a load of extra job seekers out there but what that means, for my business at least, is a load of extra “noise” around each vacancy. People have always chanced their arm once in a while by applying for jobs beyond their experience - fair enough - but at the moment it’s commonplace and because there are so few jobs out there and so many job boards, the ones that are advertised are duplicated many, many times so you end up with stacks of applications from candidates with no chance of ever landing the role. 

Experienced recruiters will say, “good candidates are hard to find” - they’re even harder to find through the crowds and because most good candidates still have jobs, they’re reluctant to look at other opportunities whilst there’s so much nervousness in the market.

What about vacancies then? Well let me let you into a little secret; I’ve never struggled to get vacancies. And here’s another one; I don’t fill them all either. That’s the case today and it was the case 5 years ago when I first set up Character. Nothing’s changed. The struggle is always finding the candidates.

So if we’re not guaranteeing to fill vacancies and admitting we’re not Albert Einstein, why use us then?

Well the big one is time - obviously. Because of the extra noise, it takes longer to work each vacancy and you should be busy doing something cool like art directing a shot, dreaming up awesome concepts, kerning type, writing sweet copy or code - you know, stuff we we can’t do… your job.

Great recruiters can write compelling and attractive job ads (this is a brilliant sign post by the way - there are some shockers out there), they know where to advertise to get the best response and if they’ve got their finger on the pulse, they probably already have one or two names in mind before they’ve even finished taking the brief.

Nervous candidates feel easier applying for roles through us too because of the confidentiality we provide - they know they’re in safe hands and word won’t get back to their current employers.

And because it’s what we do everyday we’re good at filtering big shortlists. Great recruiters know their candidates - what makes them tick and the potential impact they can have - we don’t just dismiss on key words or qualifications just to break the shortlist down quickly.

Every candidate put forward and probably twice the number again will have at least been interviewed over the phone, if not face to face - that takes time, time you don’t have.

We’ll really sell your company as well. I can’t say this on behalf of every recruiter but I really like all my clients - I wouldn’t work with them otherwise and if I can’t see the potential in the role or how it’ll help a candidate make progress in their career, I won’t work it. I honestly mean that.

Finally, once we’re down the line and you want to make an offer, we’ll do our best to make sure that offer sticks and prepare candidates for potential counter offers - something that’s happening more and more at the moment. We’ve seen it happen, we know the signs and we’ll be talking about it from the very first conversation.

So does the world really need recruitment consultants? Well maybe need is too stronger word - I certainly think you’ll notice the difference when you do find a good one though.

Views: 725

Comment by Bill Humbert on February 23, 2012 at 11:52am


Comment by Tim Spagnola on February 23, 2012 at 12:46pm

I like to think the word 'need' is not too strong, but I am biased. ; ) Thanks for sharing this post with the RBC Darren - really good stuff.

Comment by bill josephson on February 24, 2012 at 11:20am

I can find good tough to find candidates on any job when qualified candidates actually exist.

The REAL issue is are these good passive/invisible candidates good enough to be made offers to at all and, if so, at a compensation level they'll accept the position for?  I've found numerous situations where the entire available/interested visible and invisible applicant pool is insufficient to have an offer extended to.  End result?  Company continues to look for a better candidate than the available/interested candidate market pool will bear.  That's the ultimate frustration.

Comment by BolandGroup on February 24, 2012 at 11:28am

Darren --

Very well articulated THANK you.  Sorry to be dense but I have two quick questions.  (I tried to send you a private message but didn't realize we had to be "friends" first.)  Can you explain the symbolism of the graphic?  I'm assuming that the headhunter is the devil and the angel is my client.  But what's the deal with the halo and the spear?  Also I didn't understand the following sentence "That’s the case today and it was the case 5 years ago when I first set up Character"?

Again GREAT post and apologies for being obtuse...

Comment by Steven Jones on February 26, 2012 at 10:00am

Great article

Comment by Darren Scotland on February 27, 2012 at 6:42am

Thanks for the comments people - always cool to get a positive reaction to a post.

@BolandGroup to answer your questions, the angel and devil pic is really just to articulate the point that people make about recruiters being good or bad. We all get lumbered with "The Devil incarnate" tag from time to time so it was just a fun way to play on that. The halo and spear has no real significance I'm afraid.

And to clear up the sentence you mentioned; Character (Creative) is my recruitment business. ;) and my blog:


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