With all the pressures facing the recruitment industry at the moment, from the reduced levels of hiring over the last couple of years to skill shortages and the increased threat of direct sourcing posed by social recruiting, you would have thought that any recruiter worth their salt would be doing everything they could to maximise every opportunity.
Which is what makes this story so baffling...
Couple of weeks ago a client invited me in for a briefing. I wasn’t the only person invited; I was representing one of 4 PSL (Preferred Supplier) companies who were invited. I was happy to accept as there is nothing to beat a face to face briefing from the hiring manager...it gives you the chance to really understand what is needed, the calibre, character and competencies required, not to mention an understanding of the role, how it fits in to the wider team and an opportunity to meet some of the personalities involved.
It’s not a straight forward role, they actually need 2 people, the location doesn’t make it attractive to a large part of the potential candidate base, plus they have quite a tight set of criteria. It’s a role that you really need to get under the skin of if you really want a good chance of finding the right people. The client realised this, which is why he arranged the briefing, which included not only him (Hiring Manager) but also his boss...someone who is quite senior in the organisation and who would rarely meet recruitment suppliers.
I arrived at the same time as one of other agency representatives and we sat in a meeting room having a good chat with our two hosts. It’s the kind of contact with key decision makers that you dream about getting...no number of cold calls or speculative CVs could get you in a room with these 2 having a chat about the market and their current business focus.
We waited for the other 2 to turn up...and we waited...and we waited...and eventually a slightly unhappy 2 hosts decided to start briefing me and the other guy. No-one else turned up to the briefing.
That’s right...2 preferred suppliers were invited to a face to face briefing with a hiring manager and his boss, they both accepted the invitation and just didn’t show up. NOT EVEN A CALL OR E-MAIL TO SAY THEY WEREN’T GOING TO COME ALONG.
At some stage that day, consultants or managers at both these companies decided that their time could be better spent doing something other than attending this briefing...maybe they had a sudden rush of new briefs, maybe they had more urgent roles, maybe consultants were behind on their call/interview/headhunt KPIs...who knows?
What I do know is that not even having the courtesy to let the client know that you wouldn’t be turning up should not be part of acceptable recruitment business practice.
You could have assumed that they didn’t need the business...but it appears that they did. The timescale following the briefing was for any suitable CVs to be sent through by last Wednesday (7 days after the briefing) and guess what...both the missing agencies sent through CVs, none of which were relevant. If they had not turned up because they didn’t want to be briefed alongside other agencies, then why did they submit CVs?
Now maybe if they had attended the briefing they wouldn’t have wasted their time, their candidates’ time or their client’s time.
If they haven’t got the time to properly build meaningful client relationships, then I’m guessing they probably won’t be reading this blog, which is a shame as I’d really love to know what better things they had to do on the day of the briefing...