Wide Awake at truNORA

There’s a rumour going around the Twitterverse that I dozed off during truNORA on Thursday. It’s complete nonsense I can assure you.

Flicking through the excellent set of images that Sara Headworth has produced you may see one of those photographic moments where a mixture of light, angle and shutter speed combine to give a false impression…proof that the camera can easily lie.

The offending picture was actually taken during a track that I was co-leading about the candidate experience…there was plenty of debate there to ensure that I didn’t doze off.

I’ll start my thoughts of the day with the candidate experience track as it’s the second candidate experience track that I have co-led at a tru event this year, and it’s a subject that has filled blogs, comments and numerous conversations, both online and offline.

This conversation was similar to the last, in that it featured a mix of representatives from job boards and seasoned (cough, experienced!) recruiters and my conclusions are the same.

Candidate experience is a state of mind not something you should have to think about doing. Automated acknowledgements, no matter how personally written, are not an experience. They should be an absolute minimum expectation as a matter of respect and service and should be followed up by a more personal interaction. Personally I think 3rd party recruiters get too involved in conversations around job board functionality. The experience that matters to the candidate is the one that happens after they have applied, and is most probably important to the candidate whose application is unsuccessful.

Interestingly the recruiters who talked most of the importance of personal contact in this process, of candidates becoming clients and ambassadors for your service, were the most experienced recruiters, those who have been around for 20 years or more…maybe the candidate experience really is just good recruiting habit. In which case shame on the industry for turning its back on it recent years.

I heard a lot about Linked In too, and have to say that each improvement and enhancement to functionality seems to signal another nail in the coffin of traditional 3rd party niche permanent recruiters. Just my opinion, I know, but the industry really does have to come up with a value proposition and offering that does not include something that a client can do for themselves. Posting on job boards and searching on LinkedIn are both routes to market that a well connected hiring director has available directly…we should be able to offer something more that justifies our fee. Most new LI tools are aimed at clients, not at recruiters, which I fear could well lead to a client being able to put together a stronger shortlist than a recruiter unless we look seriously at what we can offer.

With recruiters slow on the LI uptake, it was even more interesting to hear employKyle talk of his age group’s indifference to the platform. Recruiters should be ahead of the curve, not playing catch up…which is why we need to be on top of how the next generation workforce will communicate and engage.

I really enjoyed hearing about Hard Rock and what they do. Loved the Authenticity – Lifestyle – Purpose approach to engagement and believe it is something that all companies should aspire to. I have long thought that trusting your staff, and enabling them see a wider purpose to their role and your business, is key to getting the best out of them. Companies have nothing to fear from social media if they have an engaged, collaborative workforce. If you fear your people will use social media to portray a negative image for your business then your problem is not social media…its much closer to home.

All in all another interesting, thought provoking day offering the chance to chat and debate with old friends and new faces…

…and certainly no time for napping!






It’s The Sales Model, Stupid!!

Whatever the industry cheerleaders will have you believe, there can be little doubt that the recruitment sector is facing critical problems that whilst not terminal, could be very damaging. Threats from direct sourcing, downward pressure on fees and timescales, upward pressure on candidate and regulatory volumes, increasing service demands and expectations from clients and candidates, and the advocacy that social media brings enabling poor practice and experience to be communicated widely and quickly, will inevitably create burdens that many underfunded, complacent, inflexible recruiters will struggle to see off.

The debate has raged again in the blogosphere this week with a quite stark view from @theHRD on this blog. Needless to say, it attracted opinion on both sides, and the debate immediately moved to figures and semantics…always a stifler to any argument of ideas, ideals and passion.

Only a few commentators picked up on the obvious fact…this piece was written by a client. The HR Director of a fairly major (so we believe) business who would almost certainly a ‘sales’ target for pretty much every 3rd party recruiter in the UK and here he was telling the industry that the party was over, the days of high volumes and big bonus cheques were probably  disappearing fast…and what was the initial reaction?

To disagree with him!

Can you think of any other industry in which a customer telling you that your offering is poor, outdated and no longer does what is wanted would be told that he was wrong??

Me neither!

I wouldn’t mind but the industry prides itself on being a sales led industry…and what is one of the first things a trainee salesman learns?  Don’t say ‘yes, but’! You don’t win business from someone by disagreeing with them and telling them they’re wrong.

But then optimism, whether unfounded or real, is a key driver for a sales business.

So what’s the main thing wrong with recruitment industry in my opinion?

It’s the transactional sales model!!

It’s been unchanged for 50 years and there seems no appetite to change it now. Not when it’s made many people wealthy in the past. I can’t think of another business sector that has a standard operating model that has been unchanged for so long.

Before I go on, let me try and establish a case for having such a strong opinion on this. It’s not just thrown together! I have been a billing recruiter, month after month, for over 20 years. I spent a number of those years placing recruiters, during which time I must have interviewed at least 3000 experienced and trainee recruiters and sat in well over 500 client meetings where I have been briefed by directors/managers of agencies on their requirements, culture, values and goals.

When you look at the recruiter behaviours that most annoy candidates and clients I believe they can all be traced back to the transactional sales model. So let’s consider a few inconvenient truths about the sales model. For starters…

It makes the recruitment process all about the fee and not about the person.

Yep, it sure does. Number one target for any recruiter is fees. Don’t bring in the fees; you don’t keep your job. In fact I can think of few business sectors in which an employee can have a clause in their employment contract which states that failure to meet targets for 2 consecutive months will lead to a written warning. I have seen these contracts and people sign them. Unbelievable short-termism. Similarly I cannot think of another industry in which an employee can be told that they are now on a commission only deal, and if they don’t like it they can leave. Yep, I’ve seen that too. In fact I’ve heard directors talk of having done it. In a tough market, with pressures on all sides, those fees have to be made…and when your job could be at stake, that’s quite a pressure.

There’s no money in candidate experience.

Damn right there’s not! (Irony alert) Well, there’s not if you’re measured on fees, jobs bought in, interviews, CVs submitted, and interviews gained with client. Why spend an hour interviewing someone you can’t place in a job this month? Why spend a few minutes ringing back candidates who have applied but aren’t relevant? Get on the phone…find a new vacancy or find a candidate you can place. This isn’t a guess on my part…it’s something I have been told many times by recruiters.

As I’ve blogged before, in my company we have a team who speak to every single candidate who applies for a role. They don’t have targets. A year on I have still to find another recruitment business that understands the value in a candidate facing team that have no fee or activity targets.**

No time for feedback.

I blogged about this last year…inspired mainly by a comment from a recruiter in another business who told a candidate chasing feedback “To be fair if we spent all day phoning people who were ‘no’, which we’d like to do because it’s the ‘experience’ as much as anything that counts, we simply would go bust”. So there you have it from the horse’s mouth. No money in feedback…get back on that phone and cold call. If you spend time talking to unsuccessful candidates you’ll go out of business.

Inappropriate and poorly matched CVs sent to clients.

Another metric favoured by agencies is number of send outs. It also pays to send as many CVs as possible, in case a competitor sends the candidate over. More CVs may also get you more chance of interviews…it’s all a numbers game. And it’s sticking to the numbers that will keep you in your job.

I could go on, but that’s enough for now.

None of this should come as a surprise to regular readers. My first ever blog was about how I believed that tomorrow’s recruiter should be incentivised on feedback not fees. I’ve recently blogged on how business communication is changing and how business to business sales is changing.

This isn’t an anti recruitment industry rant. Anyone who was at the last Recruiters Networking evening would have heard me debate passionately in support of the industry. It’s the way we operate that needs to change. The transactional sales model rewards behaviours that have gradually dragged us in to disrepute…which is probably the biggest inconvenient truth of all.

I am also lucky enough to work within a business that rewards on client and candidate feedback and is prepared to invest in areas that do not lead to immediate fees, but provide a service and experience to the candidates and clients who use us.

At least the recruitment industry apologists all seem to agree that behaviours have to change…but my question would be how…without changing the operating model? You can’t change the way people behave without changing the way they are rewarded and motivated, and they way that their performance is measured.

I just scanned some online ads for recruiters and picked up these essential qualities:

‘Successful candidates will have a good academic background, but most importantly will be focused on entering a target driven environment where there is the opportunity for rapid career progression as well as significant earning potential within the first 12 months’

‘You must be hardworking, driven and determined with a strong aspiration to make a lot of money and a desire for success’

‘The role is a traditional recruitment position involving, winning, maintaining and developing business. You will do this in a mature environment and have the ability to work both autonomously and also as part of a team’

‘You will not be afraid to pick up the phone and enjoy business development as this is a key part of the role’

‘You will be a graduate with some sales experience’

These people will be looking after your careers and recruitment processes.

Reading that lot, I can’t see behaviours changing anytime soon…can you?

** Previous posts mentioned are:

Incentivising Tomorrow’s recruiters – it’s Feedback, not Fees

No transferability, No feedback…Candidates have feelings too

The End of the Phone?

Four reasons why recruitment sales is changing

Candidate Care – do you value your currency

Think Before You Tweet (A Twitter Recruitment Tragi-Comedy in 5 Parts)

It had to happen one day.

It’s probably happened before and I’m sure this sorry story will be repeated many times in different forms until recruiters finally understand the power of social media, and it’s use for informing and engaging not just name gathering.

This week it happened to a recruiter I know…

The Scene:

Candidate has an interview for an interim role with Company XXX. The interview goes well, and candidate is asked if they have any other interviews. Candidate says no interviews with companies, only agencies. Company XXX offers Candidate the job, a 6 month contract to start next Monday. Candidate says YES!

The Action:

Candidate goes home and logs in to their Twitter account. Candidate tweets to followers:

Got offer from Company XXX, hope to get one from Company YYY tomorrow. Exciting times.

Company XXX have people who monitor their mentions on Social Media. They see the tweet and pass to HR.

The Denouement:

Offer is withdrawn.

The Lessons:

1)      Recruiters…Get on Twitter! Find out if your candidates (and clients for that matter) are on Twitter too. If they are, follow them and engage with them. You need to know what’s going on.

2)      Candidates…If you are going to tweet about your interviews, and name the companies involved, expect your tweets to be read by both the company and the recruiter (in-house or 3rd party) because they need to know what’s going on.

3)      Clients…Be prepared for people to share their experiences of you on social media. In this case the client found out something that enabled them to act quickly. That may not always be the case. You need to know what’s going on.

The Moral:

Get on Twitter, or any Social Media! You need to know what’s going on.

Anyone experienced anything similar?

Is Your Recruitment Partner Damaging Your Bottom Line??

I was interested to see reports of a survey last week showing that poor treatment of failed job applicants can damage a consumer brand and seriously affect the bottom line. It’s something that I hear candidates talk about and am always amazed at the number of companies who fail to see the connection.

This doesn’t only apply to direct hiring…it can be just as damaging when a company briefs through a 3rd party recruiter. Trust me, when a candidate applies to an agency for a role with Company ABC and gets poor treatment from the agency, they will take this as a negative experience with Company ABC too.

I know it seems hard to believe, but when you brief a 3rd party recruiter you are entrusting them with representing not just your company, but also your brand, values and culture.

How do you know that they will do you justice? Try this recruitment partner health check:

Do they want to meet you?

If they are happy to take a telephone briefing, without coming to your offices to meet you and other key decision makers in person, and to find out about the environment and conditions, or get a feel for the culture and working atmosphere, then they are unlikely to be able to represent this to potential jobseekers. You will be investing a lot of your time in them; they should be investing theirs in you too.

Can you get references?

Your supplier should be happy to let you know all about the good work that they’ve done before. Ask to speak to 2 other companies (not competitors, businesses from different sectors) that they have recruited for and find out how they performed. Check the Linked In profiles of key people within the recruiter’s business and see what recommendations they have…then ask if you can contact them.

Go to their offices – what impression will they give, how do they work?

Most candidates who apply for your role will meet the recruiter at their offices…so go and see them for yourself! Seriously, anyone visiting their offices will be visiting a company that you have chosen to represent you, so you should see what impression they will give. They don’t need to be large, opulent or swanky…just give a welcoming and professional feel. And have a walk around; see the consultants’ working environment, do they look happy and motivated?

How do they build their talent pool?

Your chosen recruiter should be someone who has access to the best talent in the sector that matters to you, so find out how they build their talent network. Do they have a community who they keep in touch with? Will they rely on advertising or headhunting? Ideally you will want to brief someone who can take your spec and immediately think of potential candidates, so how do they keep their finger on the pulse of their marketplace?

How do they work, how are they targeted and rewarded?

Most recruiters are targeted to make placements…and are rewarded for the placements that they make. You will want to work with consultants who are going to go the extra mile to find the very best person for your role…this may take a lot of time and searching. Ask them how they are targeted and rewarded, what their motivators are. An increasing number of recruitment firms have a feedback element in the reward so you should try and use one of those…at least you know that your recruiter will have a strong interest in the way they service you and not just in closing a deal.

You can never be sure that a time-pressured recruiter, working on a number of assignments, and with an eye on their fee targets, will always give their candidates a great impression of your business, but you can certainly do a lot of groundwork to ensure that you have chosen a recruitment partner who do their best to ensure that this never happens.

It’s not just your good name that’s at stake…it’s your bottom line too!

It’s a Selection Rejection Thing

“I nearly bought one of their products a few weeks ago. I’m glad I didn’t. Won’t be considering buying one again”

So said a candidate to me last week about a company whose brand extends into the High Street. Did he have a bad experience? Bad customer service? Was he let down by faulty workmanship?

Kind of..

He was a rejected candidate…he’d applied for a senior role, had 5 interviews including meeting most of the operating Board, giving a presentation, and also meeting a Director from a different division. At the final interview he had been promised a decision within 48 hours. When time was almost up he got a call saying that there was one more person he needed to speak to and a phone chat was scheduled for the next morning. At the end of that call he was promised a decision the next day, which was a Friday.

But he heard nothing. At 5.30 he put a call in (he reasoned that if there was still some doubts maybe he could assuage them) but got a voice mail. 

He got a call back on the Monday afternoon saying that no decision could be made, that the company had not found a strong enough comparison so were unable to commit. He was told that a member of the Board would call and explain more. 3 days later he still hadn’t heard.

He asked what I thought, and I said: ‘Some companies forget that rejected candidates are consumers and ambassadors for their businesses

A lot of time is put in to the hiring processes…design, criteria, testing, offer, dialogue, giving the successful candidate a positive impression of the company…and I think it’s easy to short change the rejected candidate(s). In my experience there are 3 things that the unsuccessful candidate wants:

About the interview process, the competition, the selection criteria, the TIMESCALE for both the process and the decision, and some indication of where they stand

What went wrong, why it went wrong, constructive feedback, is there an opportunity in another part of the business, is it worth applying in future or is this now a closed book

Clear dialogue with the business, preferably with someone that they met during the process, and most preferably with one of the decision makers, a workable timescale with phone calls made precisely when they are promised even if there is no definite news to convey

You can’t sugar coat the message, and you can’t hire everyone who wants to work for you, but candidates you interview do invest time, energy and emotion in your company, your brand, and deserve some recognition of this investment.

Treat them well because they are your potential consumers and your potential ambassadors…

(This post originally appeared on Recruiting Blogs…read the comments it generated here)

They Shoot Recruiters, Don’t They?


This blog was originally posted on RecruitingBlogs – click here to see all the comments that were posted

Question for corporate recruiters and hiring managers…if a contingent hire goes wrong, which of these is likely to be at fault:

1)      The hiring and selection process?

2)      The onboarding and integration process?

3)      The recruiter who introduced the candidate?

Hands up who answered 3?

I ask this because I was told of a situation recently in which a client decided after 4 weeks that a candidate that had been hired was a bad fit and would have to be released. They asked the recruiter not just for a 100% fee refund but to cover the 4 weeks wages that they had paid too…their justification was ‘well you selected herto which the recruiter had replied ‘no, I presented her…you selected her

At what point, I wonder, does the 3rd part contingency recruiter cease to be responsible for the success of their introduction?

We present candidates who we believe are as close a match as possible to what the client has briefed us to find, yet after this presentation the clients’ processes, over which we have no control and very little input, take over…interview process, selection criteria, offer, pre-joining communication, induction and onboarding, integration…that’s a whole lot of actions where something can go wrong that may influence the new employees ability to fit straight into the role and culture.

And what happens if an employee thinks that the company has misrepresented itself, its culture, its talent development agenda, the scope of the role offered? All these are often cited as reasons that people fail to settle and become disenfranchised early in their employment.

Most recruiters offer a refund/rebate facility and yet many employers feel the need to negotiate these more favourably. Why? This leads to the recruiting process starting from a position of negativity, of risk minimisation, as if you are almost expecting the hire to be unsuccessful. I did have a client once who laid down their terms for a rebate…100% for a 2 month period if the candidate proved to be unsuitable, but if it was the candidate who left, for any reason, then the company expected no rebate as they felt it was their responsibility to represent their business and culture, and the role and expectations, and the recruiter could not influence this.

I’ve rarely found another client willing to share the responsibility, which will, in effect, recognise that the hiring company has a large role to play in whether or not their new member of staff succeeds. Too often when an employee leaves within the first few months it is the recruiter who made the introduction who is held to account, but is this just an easy option? Would the hiring process be any different if the recruiter offered no rebate/refund?

Maybe it’s hard to say ‘How come we couldn’t keep this person, we went through a long interview process, bought them in and got the approval of the team, went through our usual induction programme…where did we go wrong?’ and easier to say ‘where did we get that guy from? Find out what the rebate is and tell them if we get another dud candidate from them then they’re not a supplier anymore’.

I know I can’t speak for all recruiters. I know that there are too many who abdicate their responsibilities of careful matching and selection, of getting to really know their clients and being able to add value to the hiring process, who don’t properly reference and check…yet there are many who do all of these things, and present strong candidates in good faith that their clients have robust hiring and induction processes in place to maximise the success of their new hires.

So I return to my original question of who or what is at fault if your new hire is unsuccessful. How many companies have an inquest when this happens? Supposing it is a direct hire or a referral, what would usually be the reason? And why is this different if the employee was introduced through a 3rd party recruiter?

Do you feel that there are times when we’re justified in saying…

Don’t Shoot, I’m only the Recruiter

This Is Why You Should Hire Me! – Is Your CV a Sales Document?

This blog was originally posted on RecruitingBlogs – click to see the comments that were posted

No getting away from it, your CV is a sales document. Instead of typing the words ‘Curriculum Vitae’ or ‘CV’ at the top, put in ‘Why You Should Hire Me…’ and see how you write it. There’s little point just creating a list of duties or responsibilities; you will not get hired solely because of what you have done, but more because of what you have achieved within those duties and responsibilities, and how you can successfully build upon them and deliver in your next role.

Your whole CV should be your mission statement, your ‘This Is Me’ moment. It may be the door opener, getting you an interview, but when you get in front of a hiring decision maker you need a strong CV to present to. Written well, it can set the tone for an interview, manage expectations and enable you to play to your strengths.

When you write your CV, think about these 4 questions:

What are my biggest achievements?

Forget the CV format; just close your eyes and think of the 5 or 6 biggest achievements that have really meant something to you. They can be things that made a difference, or really stretched you out of your comfort zone, changed the way that the company did something, or required a lot of influencing. Whatever they are, they’ve got to be quantifiable achievements that will give whoever reads your CV an insight into how effectively you operate.

Where have I added value and made a real difference?

Too many CVs reflect a list of duties and responsibilities that look like they have been cut and pasted from a job description. You need to bring the CV to life, give it colour and substance, let anyone reading it know what you have done that really made a difference to your company. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic sea change, it can be something that simplified or enhanced a process that was already there.

What is most important to me about my job?

So many candidates list the ‘biggest’ duty under a job title. Invariably it will be something to do with managing people, or standing in for a senior colleague, or having taken a lead on a project, maybe around recruitment or talent. Whatever is listed first is quite often the thing that means most to you, the key achievement…you need to make sure that it’s relevant for the type of role that you want. There is little point listing management as your major responsibility or achievement if you aren’t looking to apply for a role involving management.

Why am I reading this?

Last question is not for the jobseeker, but for the person reading the CV. They’ve got a vacancy to fill and your CV has come to them, whether directly or through a third party. Why are they reading it? How does your CV fit with what they want? If they have to hunt for the clues and piece it together then chances are they’ll move on to the next one.

What do you think? What other questions should jobseekers ask themselves when they come to write their CVs?

Never Mind The Quality…Feel The Width

Although I believe it was created for a TV sitcom, the phrase ‘Never Mind The Quality…Feel The Width’ has long been used as an expression signifying quantity over quality.

It certainly neatly summarises many modern recruiters…but I wonder if they are entirely to blame?

Volume and speed seem to have taken over from matching and selection, from the ‘throw as many CVs their way and they’re bound to hire someone’ approach of many 3rd party recruiters to the ‘have you got any more CVs, I don’t think that we’ve seen enough’ procrastination of many internal recruiters/hiring managers.

To an extent, recruiters have largely helped to bring this on themselves for four main reasons:

1)      Not really understanding their market, nor taking a detailed, qualified brief, has led to a service model where sending a number of CVs and letting the client select who to interview is often now the norm

2)      Not properly sourcing for a specific role, but just posting an ad on a job board leads to numerous responses which lazy, or heavily sales targeted, recruiters can’t really be bothered to properly assess

3)       Recruiters’ KPIs in many agencies include numbers of CVs sent per vacancy or number of ‘send outs’ per candidate as metrics. Too many consultants look at a new vacancy as an opportunity to send out a number of CVs.

4)      In an attempt to seal an exclusive vacancy, recruiters are often encouraged to offer a number of CVs to a client as a way of closing off the need for that client to brief a competitor.

But don’t run away with the idea that this is necessarily all the fault of recruiters…

…how many times do you hear a client say ‘there must be someone else out there’ or I can’t believe that there aren’t more candidates looking at the moment’…

I spoke to an internal recruiter the other day regarding a difficult to fill senior contingency role and was told that the 2 key decision makers wanted to review a large number of CVs – 20 had been mentioned – to ensure that they had really covered the market. This for a role in which finding 3 relevant CVs in the current market would be a challenge. The role is seemingly an urgent one, yet they want to get it right I was told. Logic would seem to be that if they review a large number of CVs then they would feel more comfortable with the final decision…

Is it a chicken and egg situation? Do clients now expect to see a large number of CVs because their recruitment suppliers feel that sending a large number of CVs qualifies as good recruitment business? A way of showing your client that you speak to lots of candidates, have a wide network and therefore there is no need to contact a competitor?

Or do recruiters send over the volume of CVs that their clients ask for? Do corporate recruiters now expect to see a range of CVs as part of a hiring process? As a way of ensuring that they have thoroughly ‘searched’ the market?

Let me know what you think….

Do People Still Buy People First??

“People buy People first and everything else after…”

That was the very first piece of advice given to me on my first day in recruiting, also my first day in professional sales. The role was in a candidate driven sector, a niche market with about 100 potential major clients and a lot of potential candidates. Oh, and a lot of competitors too! Developing relationships with candidates, from the time they first make contact with you, through their first meeting with you and the process of arranging interviews, briefings and feedback, to the eventual decision, meant taking time to build up the relationship and trust. I quickly realised that in a specialist sector your candidates become clients and your clients become candidates.

Last week I interviewed 2 very strong, senior candidates, both had contacted me speculatively with their CVs, and at the end of each meeting they both thanked me for having called them and arranged to meet them. I found it strange, as I would have assumed that candidates of their calibre would be on the radar of most HR recruiters, but both told me that they had difficulty even getting their CVs acknowledged, let alone getting phone time with a recruiter. To get a face to face interview, without a specific role to discuss, was impossible… except for me. Now both these candidates have had recruitment as one of their functions, and both have hired many HR staff in the past, yet even recruiters who they have briefed before don’t seem to want to talk to them.

One of them then said….

“I’m not sure if recruiters realise that candidates want to interact with a person, not a website”

Which kind of takes me back to my starting point…people buy people first…and I’m wondering if, in this social media driven, job board oriented, brave new recruiting word of communities and networks, this is still true.

Maybe we need to personalise our processes more…our Candidate Care Team recently sent an e-mail to a candidate whom they couldn’t reach by phone to let him know why he wasn’t suitable for a role he had applied for…he replied…

Thank you for taking time to write to me, honestly this is the first time a recruitment company has spared time to personalize an e-mail, especially when this person will have no value for them.”

So what do you think??

Do we still buy people first?

Do we still trust the judgement and advice of people that we know well? Those we have a relationship with?

And if so how do we now establish that personal relationship?

If we swap messages on Linked In, or tweets (which we can now show on Linked In too), or comments on blog postings, are we establishing a relationship that will encourage dialogue and trust?

What will it take to get recruiters to interact face to face with candidates?

I’ll be co-hosting the ‘Who Cares What the Candidates Think?’ track at TruLondon and would love to be able to share your thoughts…..

Candidate Care – do you value your currency??

Candidates are the currency of any good recruiter. We get paid by a client when we deliver a great candidate, and let’s not forget that today’s candidates become tomorrow’s clients.

We need clients, yes, but then clients can also brief any number of recruiters…it’s the recruiters with the best candidates, the strongest community, who will ultimately deliver.

Yet most candidates you speak to have a common complaint…no feedback, I blogged about it here and it is something that arises every day, whenever I speak to a candidate about how they are finding the job market.

I was at a family party this weekend and spoke to a relative – he’s 25 and finding the job market tough at the moment. I asked what his biggest problem was and he said:

‘I never hear anything. I check the job ads online, look on agency websites, I see jobs that look right for me and I send my CV with a note, trying to show how my experience relates to what they say they are looking for. And I hear nothing.

You’re in recruitment…why do they do it? All I want is a call, e-mail even, just to let me know that they’ve got my CV and that I’m not right for the role. It would also be great if they could just tell me why I wasn’t right for the role’

It’s embarrassing. I don’t know why recruiters do it, why their managers and directors incentivise them in such a way that they see no value in taking care of their currency…of the people who will ultimately deliver their fees, and who will be their next clients.

Where I work we took steps many months ago to make sure that this didn’t happen. We’re a values based business and we value our candidates – the people who will be our ambassadors in the market, who will deliver future fees, both as candidates and clients.

We put our money where our mouth is…we set up a Candidate Care Team. That’s right recruiters, a team without targets, metrics, KPIs, sales…a team whose raison d’être is purely to ensure that EVERY candidate who contacts us gets a personal, informed, consultative service, that makes them feel VALUED.

It’s quite simple really…every single candidate who applies for a role gets a call, either from a consultant or the Candidate Care Team. That team can easily pass a CV straight back to the consultants and say ‘this person’s great, you need to see them’. We’ve been going a month and we’ve already placed candidates who the CCT team have picked up on…candidates who we could easily have overlooked without them.

Candidates who we know our competitors are not even bothering to call!

What they are doing is helping to build our community…making sure that candidates know we care, and we can deliver.

And it works! So is anyone else going to do it?? I can see the head scratching now…a team of people who aren’t targeted to produce fees, but who do! You can’t measure them…a lot of their time is spent on calls that may help develop relationships but from which there is no immediate ROI.

Who’s up for this challenge??

Are there any recruitment companies out there willing to create a team, in a recession, to talk to candidates who they can’t immediately place?

Willing to invest in their future?