It amazes me how many people think that, upon hearing I am a recruiter, I am not at that exact moment drunk as a skunk, off my face or in a state of mindless inebriation. In fact, the whole industry has this reputation of spending more time looking at the bottom of a pint or a glass than they do actually doing the job of recruitment. Of course, those who are a part of the industry know that to be untrue…before, say 12pm at least
However in all seriousness, it is another preconceived idea about who we are and what we do that really affects our standing in the business world and our effectiveness within. More than that though, it goes to the very maturity of the industry and why it seriously needs to be challenged in a way to wake us all up. What kind of service do we offer when we put in front of multinational clients consultants that are barely out of high school – with the business acumen of the same? Sorry to be so brutal, but time and time again, the consultant’s maturity is evidently of more concern to a business than anything they have to offer. Recruitment seems an easy ‘in’ for a lot of people starting their career, yet should it be employing people as front-line consultants who cannot display proper business approaches that would be clearly required in any other sales-based roles? When you hear candidates lamenting at the almost blank-faced response from the recruitment consultant sitting across from them when a particular skill, trait or knowledge is mentioned, or when an employer bemoans the lack of specific knowledge of their business, their industry, their skill-set or their employee base, it raises some critical concerns for the industry.
I am sure there are some really savvy consultants who have just come out of uni into their first ‘real world’ job, and I hope there are, but I haven’t seen them…and I have heard too many complaints about the lack of maturity in the industry.
So why do we go for the real-world inexperienced? Two reasons: one – money. Simple. They are cheaper. Two, because a lot of agencies want to create a ‘fun’ culture…and by fun they mean young and energetic. Whilst this admirable, and they may find success with this model, that success is fleeting as businesses find that lack of knowledge of the basics of client interaction and relationship management sees them falling for the ‘spray and pray’ approach to recruitment, and subsequent falling reputation.
Now look at those agencies that value client engagement and relationship. The ones that are growing and have the reputation that attract customers to them. Generally, the overwhelming mindset is mature and level-headed. They have an approach that is in sync with what businesses demand, and more importantly ensures the services offered are integral to their client’s success.
The bottom line is: maturity is key in recruitment, especially as the industry is facing it’s own crisis of relevancy in the greater business world. It is not helped by perceptions of what recruiters are and how they behave, and it is this perception that are the great differentiators between a successful agencies and those who are not so.