Mark Day, Service Delivery Director, gives us the lowdown in regards to the mis-conceptions that surround the recruitment industry. At Electus we strive to provide a high-quality, efficient service which is not always the case across the board. Here's what Mark had to say...
1. The recruitment industry is growing rapidly yet some businesses are still wary of using the service provided. Why do you think that is?
Some businesses will always believe that recruiters are “chancers” out to make some quick money and not build long term relationships. There is no doubt that some recruiters unfortunately still provide a poor service, for example persisting in presenting candidates who they have not even spoken to. Also, the “cold call” to the HR Manager unfortunately often only manages to increase the perception that we are just a nuisance. I guess the bad experiences stick in the mind of employers and are difficult for them to forget.
2. What’s the biggest misconception about recruitment companies?
The biggest misconception is that it is easy money. There are some circumstances when filling a role is straight forward and the associated fee due would represent a great hourly rate for the consultant who filled the post. However, the easier to fill roles are not likely to be more than 5% of the roles a recruiter works. What industry outsiders do not appreciate is the time which recruiters take to thoroughly work a role, identify, screen and present the right candidates. When you are working on a contingency basis there is always the chance that you won’t get paid at all for any of that effort which you have put in. None of this is considered when outsiders just think we move a couple of CV’s around and get paid a fortune.
3. As a recruiter, how do you build trust with the clients you work with?
Listen and don’t assume you know what they want. Educate the client as to how the market is for the skills they are seeking. Find and qualify the appropriate candidate(s), even if this takes time, that is fine if the client is kept up to date. Only send the candidate if there are solid motivations for them to move, their personality will fit the culture and they can do the role. Don’t send candidates who don’t fit the requirement in terms of skills, money or culturally After that, it is up to the client to keep their side of the promise. Above all, be professional, honest and keep the client informed.
4. What do you look for in the consultants that you employ?
Determination, communication, energy, commitment, competitiveness and resilience. It is not an easy job but with the right attitude everything else can be trained
5. What’s the advantage of a candidate using a recruitment agency rather than going it alone when looking for a new job?
There is only really an advantage if the agency is professional and ethical, as we are at Electus. If candidates rely on an agency who do not have the relationships with the end clients then they would probably be best to apply for roles directly. The advantage of using a professional agency is that the consultant will be able to help the candidate bring out their relevant experience for the role and should also be able to provide more information behind just the job specification. After application the agency can chase the client for feedback and ensure that the candidate is informed of progress. Performance at interview is down to the candidate although an agency will be able to offer preparation tips. At offer stage the agency can also deal with any negotiations and should be experienced enough to know if the candidate demands are in danger of turning the client off.
6. What has been the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome as a recruiter?
The biggest problem is getting any relationship with a client to a partnership rather than a transactional level. Building trust with the HR Manager, recruitment team or line manager takes time and can be frustrating. Acting with integrity and professionalism and critically knowing when to give your contact some time rather than become an annoyance would be my advice. Consultants must remember at the start of these relationships you will be just another agency, prove your ability and give the relationship time to mature.
7. You’ve been in the recruitment industry for nearly two decades, what is it that drives you?
Now I am not operating in a “job-filling” role I really get my job satisfaction via my consultants achieving. We have consultants in the business now, who are consistently performing at a high-level having initially joined the company with little or no recruitment experience. Providing the environment and motivation to these consultants and seeing them take the opportunity drives me forward.
8. If you hadn’t chosen a career in recruitment, what do you think you might be doing?
I always thought that being a teacher would be an amazing job in terms of job satisfaction with real visibility of making a difference to people. I would probably like to teach in a secondary school and Maths would be a great subject to teach (if I was good enough at it myself!) as there is a structured process to follow and only one right answer
9. In three words, tell us what life is like in recruitment?
Exciting, Fulfilling, Emotional.