It Pays To Be In The Conversation

I recently attended a seminar for in-house recruiters entitled Recruitment Mix Effectiveness. It was hosted by Talent Puzzle, an enterprising and forward thinking young business at the forefront of the recruitment tendering marketplace. I was glad to be invited as it provided some useful insight for me into what inhouse recruiters are thinking and talking about.

These conversations are happening more and more now, and I find it fascinating that, by and large, third party recruiters do not seem to be part of the conversations.

Maybe they are excluded, maybe they are too busy chasing and filling vacancies…whatever the reason I do know that future recruitment models and methodologies are being discussed, and they are none the wiser. It has become apparent to me, whilst interviewing with consultancies, that most seem quite oblivious to what is being talked about…they just aren’t part of the conversation.

RPOs, social media, direct sourcing teams are all irritants and barriers, yet another roadblock on the way to business as it used to be, and it has really shocked me that hardly anyone questions, or even acknowledges, the bigger picture…

The way that companies are going about acquiring talent is changing – the methodologies, expectations and processes are developing on an almost weekly basis – yet most recruitment consultants still try to transact business as if nothing has changed.

From a seminar full of insights and lightbulb moments, I will select 2.

1) It’s behaviours not past experience

There was a very powerful presentation from Roger Philby of Chemistry Group about measurement of quality of hire. From the opening stat that 75% of hires are wrong, to the closing summary of measures (in order of importance/relevance):






this was an impressive case for measurement of quality not cost. I have written on previous blogs about my frustrations with using past performance as the measure for future delivery and here was a thought provoking series of case studies that pretty much underlined my point.

Point to recruiters : Stop hiring based on previous billings and start hiring for the values, insights and emotional intelligence that will enable someone to be successful in your unique culture.

2) There’s nothing that a recruitment supplier can do that an internal recruiter can’t do for themselves

This was something that Simon Ward, Head of UK Recruitment for Legal & General said and it certainly caused some consternation. He did qualify it by saying that the key was in what the internal recruiter CHOSE to do themselves, and also pointing out that third party suppliers were friend, not foe. However his most telling soundbite, in my opinion, was

‘Third party recruiters can’t articulate what value they add, so we beat them up over fees’

Point to recruiters : know what value you add and what you can do for a client that they can’t do for themselves. If you can’t do either, then move on…there are no long term, productive relationships to be formed.

I could go on. Another seminar, another transferral of ideas between inhouse recruiters, HR Directors, alternative recruitment model providers, futurologists and social recruiters…and good old transactional recruitment companies are nowhere to be seen.

Oblivious? Yes.

Irrelevant? Maybe.

Part of the conversation? No.

Maybe they’re just too busy trying to make money to find out what their clients want from them in future.

Mind you, if they don’t know what their clients will be buying in future then maybe those income streams will be drying up a little quicker than they anticipate.

Find Out Some More About Me…

In February 2010 I was interviewed by Dee Allen from Redmos at TruLondon. We spoke about my career in recruitment, the highs and lows, and what advice I would give aspiring recruiters.

As I set out on my job hunt, I thought it would provide visitors to the blog, and hopefully potential employers, with a unique opportunity to find out some more about me.

Whilst discussing highlights, you’ll hear me talk of making my biggest ever fee in 2009 with ‘no sales necessary’…this was important to me as it underlined the importance of relationships, reputations and network to and how they come together to deliver real value. After more than 20 years in the industry, I feel that this is now more relevant than ever, as clients look for some real added value and insight from us, and a different approach to business development.

Hope you enjoy the interview…


Dee Allan



Money For Old Rope??

“How can recruiters find candidates that the corporates can’t find themselves?”

That tweet caught my eye yesterday. I think it emanated from a TruAmsterdam chat, I don’t know who said it or the context but it stood out and really got me thinking…Why ask that now??

Why haven’t recruiters been asking this kind of question for years?

Surely that’s what recruiters should always do…find talent that clients can’t find for themselves.

The flipside of this would be to say that recruiters are too used to offering clients a route to market that the client could use themselves. Which is of course mainly true.

Job board advertising, CV databases…all very well, but why?? Surely a client has always been able to utilise those for themselves?

Unfortunately it’s been too easy for too long for most 3rd party recruiters…take a brief, advertise the role, wait for response, blow the dust off a few database CVs…and charge a fee.

Money for old rope? Harsh, but looking at it from a client’s viewpoint you may ask where the value is.

Having said that, clients themselves have often been complicit in allowing this to happen, but the times they are a-changing…

Clients are doing it for themselves

Recruiters are now trying to use LinkedIn more, but guess what…they’ve missed the boat! Clients are already starting to use it…and LinkedIn themselves are offering functionality and capabilities that are ONLY for the corporate market. A corporate recruiter will now probably be able to find a much stronger shortlist than a third party using LinkedIn.

Barely a day passes without another blog or article criticising the attitudes and behaviours of 3rd party recruiters, and you can’t deny that we often give them an easy target.

In the last couple of days we’ve had ’12 Lies Recruiters Like to Tell’ by Christine Livingston and ‘I Strongly Dislike Recruiters’ by Veronica Ludwig. There was also had a long piece in Recruiter Magazine which further drove a wedge between agency and in-house recruiters, painting them as two tribes with different views, attitudes, aims and rewards. My colleague Andy Young responded to that with the excellent ‘It’s not WHERE you work, it’s HOW’

We seem to be here on a weekly basis. I wrote recently about the sales model and how it was responsible for so many of the behaviours that annoy clients and candidates and had the usual range of responses from believers and deniers.

In reality there seems to be a real ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ attitude and unfortunately the measure of ‘broke’ isn’t customer satisfaction but bank balances.

The belief seems that it makes money, and if it makes money it must be right. New offerings, which are invariably old offerings with new price models, are aimed at cost and speed, not really with providing a better or different experience or building long term relationships.

There seems little appetite for re-invention. We hear talk of communities, talent pools & puddles, social sourcing, but ultimately most 3rd party recruiters are remunerated and incentivised to place as many people as possible, whilst their employers look for the cheapest, quickest routes to market.

So what are we really doing that’s different?

What do most 3rd party recruiters offer clients that they couldn’t do for themselves?

How are we adding VALUE?

Let me know your thoughts.

Blogs mentioned above:

It’s not WHERE you work, it’s HOW

12 Lies Recruiters Like to Tell

I Strongly Dislike Recruiters

Making the Switch

Clarity, Communication, Closure – 3 Keys to getting Recruitment Right

(This post was originally written for HR Zone and published as part of their series on recruitment)

Recruiting, hiring, talent attraction, talent acquisition…whatever words you use you can’t escape the fact that sourcing and hiring new people for your business is far harder to get right than it is wrong, with new research showing that a negative experience can damage your bottom line.

Its long been said that you can tell a lot about a company by the way it goes about recruiting its people, and never was this truer than now, with technology and social media helping to create immediate and transparent contact between jobseekers and a hiring company, whether sourced directly or through a third party recruiter.

The process of hiring now brings your business into contact with a range of people…successful applicants, unsuccessful candidates, third parties, RPOs to name a few. And the rules of candidate attraction mean that your business will be visible through website, digital advertising, Facebook page, Linked In profile and very possibly a Twitter feed.

Getting the right person is now not the only key outcome… using the right approach is vital as those who are involved in that process now have channels through which they can vent their frustrations.

The best recruitment processes should contain the 3 Cs – Clarity, Communication and Closure – and should always manage expectations. Key questions to ask yourself are:

Why do you need to hire?

Every recruitment process starts with a need to hire, and whether you are looking for one person or a number of people it pays to know exactly why you are hiring, what role(s) you are trying to fill. Hiring managers need to put time into into scoping out exactly why they need someone, what they need that someone to do, and what deliverables will be expected…and the key question:

Do we already have someone here who can do this role, or do our people know someone who can do this role?

Many jobseekers talk of their frustrations at finding roles for which they have been interviewing eventually filled by internal transfer or promotion, or recommendation. There is nothing wrong with this, but it pays to be transparent from the start. Very often the approach is to see who is available and then compare with what you have internally, whereas the most successful pieces of hiring will often start with looking at the people in whom you have already invested time and training.

Assuming you don’t have an internal resource then a clearly defined role profile is essential before you go to market. It’s not enough to assume that the position is the same as it was three years ago, or send out the message ‘we just need a good person who can do x and y’; you need to know exactly what the new person has to achieve, what their key internal relationships are, and what scope there is for personal and professional development within the role.

In other words…clarity.

How will you find them?

As a 3rd party recruiter it won’t surprise you to find out that I still think that we are the best route! There are plenty of values based, knowledgeable recruiters out there who have a sound grasp of their markets and have built a community of some of the best talent within them. The way to approach this is not to brief a number of suppliers, with a low fee attached, and assume that this competition will deliver quality candidates. It won’t! The best recruiters rarely enter into these kinds of CV chases and you are more than likely to end up with a number of poorly matched, inadequately briefed candidates.

You should work with one or two recruiters who you have not only met, but also have taken a reference on from previous clients as to how successful they have been and how they work. It’s always useful to also go to their offices, find out a little about how they project themselves, how they are targeted, and how they deal with people who apply for roles.

Remember that the experience that your chosen recruiter gives to candidates who apply for a role with your company will reflect on you and not always the recruiter.

Should you go to market directly then a clear message will always be the key. From a well written ad, to the way that you contact all candidates, and the information that you pass on at every stage of the interview process…all of this says something about your business. Transparency is vital – everyone needs to know where they stand in the process, what is the next stage, are they moving forward (if not, why not) and when will they know more?

Clear and transparent Communication

How will you bring them in?

You’ve found the person that you want and they want to join you…what next? Well, from my experience of 20 years as a recruiter I would say that the majority of problems that lead to unsuccessful hires can be traced back to either before the candidate joins, or to their initial three months. It is important that once you have an offer and acceptance that everything runs smoothly. No waiting for contracts or other detail, regular communication between hiring manager and new hire and some clear information regarding onboarding and induction.

Many companies will leave this to HR, but I believe that those in HR need to involve not just the hiring manager but also the rest of the team in making the new person feel both welcome and valued. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve interviewed a candidate who is leaving a role after only a few months and hear ‘I knew straight away’ or worse ‘they gave me loads of information about themselves in the interviews that, as soon as I started, I realised wasn’t accurate’.

The most successful hires that you make will always be the ones who find no surprises at any stage of the process, never have to check where their paperwork is, never have to phone a week before they join to find out starting details and, crucially, walk in on day one and find not only is everything as they have been led to expect but that they have also already met everyone in their immediate team.

That is only part of the closure though…what about the candidates who didn’t make it through to this stage? A lot of damage can be done to an employer’s brand by poor communication to rejected candidates. They have invested time (research and preparation) and hope in working for your business, they have an emotional bond with you and may well want to work for the business at some stage in the future. They need to have expectations managed as rejected candidates are consumers and ambassadors for your business too.

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!

I Got a Headhunt Call…Lucky Me? Not!

I say a headhunt call, but maybe just saying I was approached would be a better description, mind you I daresay that the guy doing the approaching probably thought he was headhunting.

Not sure that any of what follows would be overly familiar to the track leaders at TruSource but unfortunately too much ‘sourcing’ goes like this….

It was a depressing experience. Switchboard had a call for me. Someone who would only give his first name and who claimed he knew me. They put him through…

…and he introduced himself and launched straight into a pitch, how he was recruiting for a client who was looking for an HR recruiter to join and grow their business at the senior end…he gave me a range of basic salaries (I commented that it didn’t sound a particularly attractive range and he DISAGREED with me, saying ‘from what I hear it’s good for the market’)..the commission scheme is really good (he said this twice) his client had recently merged with another group (so I kinda now knew who they were) and now had more clients to whom they could offer HR recruitment (but he also said that it would suit a strong sales person), apparently I could join as a solo recruiter or I could manage a small team it was up to me (hey they’ve really nailed their structure and talent development programme) and then he asked if he could take my mobile number so that he could ring me outside work and discuss it more. He never actually asked me if I was interested or if I actually WANTED to talk about it more, he just presumed…

The interesting part for me was that he said he found me on Linked In, thought I had a good profile and was the kind of person he was looking for, so I had 2 questions for him:

What made me so relevant?

What did he think of what I wrote on my blog and did this fit in with his client’s values?

He couldn’t really answer either. What made me relevant, apparently, was that I was an HR recruiter who had previously also worked in Recruitment to Recruitment (though he couldn’t explain the relevance of that) and as for the blog, well no he hadn’t read it…and where was it? Er, well it’s there, on my LI profile.

Had he bothered to properly read my profile and follow the link he would have seen that my most recent blogpost opened with ‘I really love working as part of the Stopgap Group, not least because…’ now you would have thought that if someone REALLY wanted to headhunt ME then they may find this fairly relevant.

Surely if you want to try and seriously approach someone who has just written publicly about how much he loves the company he works for, then I suspect you need a slightly different opening than the scattergun headrush of basics, commission, selling in to new clients etc.. For a start it may actually require a MATCH between me and what the client could offer.

A cursory read of some of my other blogposts would have further enlightened him to the fact that values, service, reward for feedback and a move away from the traditional sales model were all important to me…his time could probably have been more profitably used seeing if his client could offer these to me.

I blogged a couple of months ago about whether recruiters really get social media as most just seemed to think LinkedIn and Twitter were there to find more candidates to headhunt…and 2 months on I’m still wondering!

Now, I’m not looking for a headhunt approach and I’m very happy where I am, but had I been in a position where the call was more welcome then I would like to think that through Linked In, this blog, Twitter and participation in events like TruLondon, there was enough readily available information on me, my thoughts and my style, to enable a rather more intelligent, engaging and personal approach …

Maybe I’m expecting too much…

5 Guiding Principles for a Modern Recruitment Business

I love working as part of the Stopgap Group, not least because it’s a values driven business that places the welfare of its people and the quality of service given to clients and candidates at the very top of its priorities. Consultants have always been rewarded on feedback – since the day the business was launched 17 years ago – and we always look for consultants with who have compassion, a real interest in people and a genuine desire to make a difference, rather than just sales skills.

We’re empowered too, and all encouraged to contribute to the future direction of the business…a group of us will be embarking on a series of Blue Ocean Strategy planning exercises with the management team, and a similar group have recently been entrusted with redefining our core values.

That’s right, no-one is hitting us with harder targets, tightening KPIs and threats over not making fee forecasts…they’re asking us to help shape everything that the business stands for and how it will operate in the future.

And we’re now looking to the future with a new set of Guiding Principles which I believe should be at the heart and soul of a successful modern recruitment business:






Here’s my view of how we can use them in recruitment:

Daring – Audacious and bold, not afraid to challenge, be it career expectations or a client brief. Actively taking a path less travelled if it helps you get where you want to be and not being afraid of change if it is needed to help you get there.

Passionate – Need to feel a passion about the whole process, candidates’ careers and clients businesses and be committed to finding the right cultural fit and the right career development. Always be prepared to go the extra mile and have the drive and determination to succeed.

Integrity – A genuine interest in people as human beings, and appreciation of the need for honesty, openness and respect. Brave enough to challenge but in a sensitive, caring way. Building lasting, sustainable relationships. Basically, it’s about genuinely caring.

Collaborative – Our Company isn’t a place that is interested in ranking boards, competitiveness or egos but is an inclusive, all-embracing culture which helps us communicate. Whether dealing with a client, candidate or colleague, there should be a commitment to an unfaltering, consultative approach.

Agile – Adapting, evolving, flexible and not tied to any tired processes.  Ready to respond to any issue. This constant evolution is needed to meet the demands of clients, candidates and colleagues in a fluctuating, demanding market.

So what do you think?

What principles have you adopted, and what principles would you like your recruiters to adopt?

I’ll be co-hosting the ‘Future of Recruitment’ track at TruLondon and it would be good to share your thoughts.

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…..

Customer Experience and the Importance of Making People Feel Special

Every morning I stop on my way to the station to get a coffee…my Soya Latte is very much a part of my commute, even in summer! I have stopped for a couple of years at one particular coffee shop (Cafe Nero, for those in the UK) initially for their loyalty scheme which basically gives you every tenth coffee free – a free coffee every other Friday seemed like a good idea!

I say initially because they started charging extra for soya milk. Other coffee shops didn’t, but I stayed loyal. That was because I had got to know the 3 or 4 baristas who worked the morning shift. They were friendly, warm, engaging, always smiling and went out of their way not only take the time to indulge in some small talk but also (very important for coffee fans) they remembered what you liked to order. I was only in the shop a minute or two, but for that minute or two they made me, and no doubt anyone else stopping for a coffee, feel valued and important.

Now they probably didn’t earn much, and I don’t know what customer service training their company did, and they may have only done it to make a repetitive service sector job more interesting…but the thing is they got my custom because they made me feel special and valued, even though their product now was not the cheapest, and to be honest, the coffee was probably no better or worse than any other shop I could have gone to.

Now I’m not a master of suspense, and I’m writing in the past tense, so I’m sure that you can guess what’s coming next!

Yes…they’ve all moved on. One left completely to do something different, and the others were promoted to different branches. Unbelievably, management just let it all happen within a week or so…one week they were there, and within what seemed a few days there were different baristas.

And guess what…I don’t go there anymore. The new baristas most certainly did not make me feel special or valued. In fact, with possibly one exception, they made me feel the opposite, as if serving me was a chore. There were a couple of specific instances of rudeness and off-handedness (I won’t bore you with details) that made me think – enough is enough, I can get better value elsewhere.

When the experience is good, factors like cost can often come second…but when the customer experience is bad…

All businesses can learn from this, but I wonder how many of us really put their heads on the block and find out how we’re doing?

It reminded me of a customer satisfaction survey that I got handed on a plane on my way home from a holiday last year. The tour company usually performs well in independent reviews. The final question was…

 ‘Did we make you feel special on your holiday??

If so tell us what we did to make you feel special, and if not please tell us how we could have improved, to make you feel special.’

 Clearly they want to get feedback, and aren’t afraid to give their customers a voice to find out how they are really performing.

Which makes me wonder….

 Are there any recruiters out there brave enough to ask those questions of their clients and candidates?? Willing to find out from their community what they could do to create a special experience?

Optimistic recruiters don’t create jobs. Growing companies do.

Ask a jobseeker what they want from their recruiter and the chances are they will say, in one way or another, truth and honesty. Obviously they want us to find them a job, but – surprise, surprise – they know that there aren’t many around. In fact I sometimes think that jobseekers are a lot savvier about the market than many recruiters.

I’ve been following some discussions through LinkedIn and Twitter recently and I see little fact or detail but a lot of optimism and confidence. One thread, involving a mix of recruiters, trainers and online recruitment was summed up with this particularly depressing comment:

‘Jobseekers can return from a well-earned festive break to a veritable alpine snowfall of newly-budgeted vacancies’

Just think about that comment for a moment…hidden within the word ‘jobseekers’ are 2.5 million unemployed people, almost a million of them aged under 25, some still struggling to find their first job. Are we, recruiters, really telling them that a Christmas facing the desperation, desolation and uncertainty of continuing unemployment is a ‘well earned festive break’? And even if we don’t say it, do we really believe it?

Are we really saying that in January they will face ‘a veritable snowfall of vacancies’??

Is this what recruiters honestly believe?

With only 10% of companies planning to hire in the next 3 months (which means that 90% are NOT planning to hire)

With 50% of companies maintaining wage freezes/cuts (meaning they can’t really recruit until they can return their existing staff to full pay and benefits)

With 42% of companies who are not operating  a recruitment freeze already saying that will REDUCE recruitment in 2010.

With GDP in excess of -5%, and a public debt of almost £200bn??

Is this Honest? Is it Responsible?

Recruiters don’t create jobs. Growing companies do. And companies grow when there is demand for their goods or services.

We are a long way from growth. Recent reports from leading businesses in retail and leisure talk about demand not returning in any strength until 2012, hence a stagnant job market.

We can all talk up a good quarter. Spread some confidence to colleagues.

We’ve just closed our biggest quarter for 2 years, and we’re certainly working on a lot more roles on than we did 9 or 12 months ago. But then I also spend a large part of my days speaking to unemployed candidates.

It’s when unfounded, casual optimism is passed on to candidates that I get upset. The job market is a particularly tough, unforgiving battleground at the moment, and NO recruiter should forget what that means to candidates who need to work, to feed families, pay mortgages, restore dignity.

I spoke with one candidate yesterday who said ‘when I speak to you I know you’ll tell it to me straight. I know it’s bad out there, but some recruiters just keep telling me that things will be picking up very soon. They’ve been saying that all year and it hasn’t happened yet! Do they think I’m stupid? What planet are they on??!!’

What we say to candidates during their job search is as much a part of candidate care as how we treat them when they apply…if your business model has to rely upon an unfettered wave of optimism, then make it responsible optimism!

(Note: Figures quoted above are taken from the recent CBI/Harvey Nash employment trends survey 2009 see page 15)