Once upon a time there was an industry. Like all industries it began as a mere fledgling, but then it grew and in many ways was a beautiful thing. In some other ways it developed a few traits of an ugly duckling.
As with any industry, unfortunately it is the ugly side that gets undue attention and consequently our fledgling recruitment industry suffered as a result.
If you’ve worked in recruitment for a while you may have developed a twitch. It’s a social twitch that happens when someone asks you what it is you do. Symptoms may include a momentary cringe, immediately followed by a rushed explanation as to the type of recruiter you are and not one of ‘those’ recruiters.
This situation has been born of the perception which developed as to what types of people work in recruitment and some common behaviour traits. Like law and estate agency, there have been many people to date who have done the job well. There have also been many that haven’t; such people are what we mean by ‘those’ recruiters.
Whether rogue behaviour by individuals or a cultural sidestepping of best practice at an organisational level, we are all familiar with some of the practices which have occurred. The extent to which this has been prevalent is a matter for further debate, but I would bet that most recruiters have witnessed or have heard of one, some, if not all of the following:
Candidates not matched properly and thrown at the client in bulk. Let’s call this the ‘enough mud to stick’ principle.
Candidates not interviewed or in any way vetted, pre-screened by phone, skype or face to face.
Candidates submitted to a role without consent or attempt at prior briefing – usually to get ‘their’ candidate in before another recruiter.
Candidates feeling strong armed into accepting a position.
Clients feeling strong armed into offering a candidate.
Unqualified headhunt calls.
Unqualified cold calls.
Both of the latter made incessantly without due consideration to true relationship building.
Not surprisingly this does not make for a good candidate or client experience. It furthermore diminishes the perceived service and therefore erodes the belief in value for money.
The good news
Every other recruiter however, can look forward to a bright future. The methods outlined above have never truly worked, but they sadly created enough short term gain to sustain their practitioners.
These days are over. Or at least they are in their twilight phase. No doubt the minority (and I believe it is a minority) who have practiced in this way will be pining for the ‘good old days’ over a glass of something in their nearest All Bar One.
The modern recruiter however, has everything to be proud of. It may take a little time but I believe that the perception of recruitment is set to change. You’ll be able to hold your head up proudly whenever you say what it is you do. But don’t wait – you’re a modern recruiter so start doing it now.
If you need a little confidence booster in this respect then keep this list list of reasons why close to hand:
You engage with your candidates socially so you better understand their needs and your market.
Because you do this you are able to truly nurture these relationships to the point that you already know what and where is right for them.
You’re focussed on a niche sector and can talk knowledgeably about the issues affecting your candidates and clients.
For this reason you develop business through the production of truly excellent content; you might even be a true thought leader.
You don’t cold call because they no longer work; you don’t like getting them, and you know that no one likes getting them.
You do however call proactively but having laid the right foundation for your call to be welcomed.
You don’t spam people via Linkedin
You do, absolutely, categorically and without exception take interest in exactly what your client and candidate needs are.
You absolutely, categorically and without exception deliver on that.
You may still be a little nervous and have your doubts but I promise this is going to happen. It will do so because the tools of social media which are so rapidly changing the recruitment landscape in your favour are equally able to name and shame. The lid has already been lifted and is being pulled right back.
So we should all be proud; the duckling is rapidly changing into a beautiful swan.