Get the recruitment experience you want!

This may be over simplified but I believe two key words summarise how to have a rewarding experience using recruiters. These two words apply to both employers and candidates alike and also explain why the experience is sometimes more frustrating than rewarding for all parties.

1. Commitment 2. Communication

Some background… Recruiting is a ‘noisy’ profession. By this I mean it’s very high demand on consultants in terms of managing the expectations of both employers and candidates and it’s a high volume of activity task. Furthermore, all three parties (candidate, recruiter, employer) often engage in a process that is destined to frustrate due to its lack of appreciation of all the factors that need to be aligned for a successful outcome. GUILTY all parties!

For employers consider some key factors in a successful recruitment assignment and then ask yourself how often we mutually manage these effectively:

1. A well defined job and person specification

2. An agreed candidate sourcing plan

3. A signed off selection methodology

4. Pre and Post interview briefings

5. Controlled negotiation for offer and acceptance

6. On-boarding

For candidates consider these factors:

1. A clear brief on what you want

2. Immediate communication once anything changes

3. Total commitment to a decision once the brief is met (including ignoring any counter offer temptations)

4. Full communication on why you are seeking a change and your critera for acceptance

5. Clear examples of what you have done to add value to a previous employer

Layer these factors with the conflicts of Time, Change, Human Behaviours, Cost and Capability and we can appreciate where things can go astray. Yet we continue to put up barriers to successful experiences.

Example: Employers throw out poorly defined job specs to recruiters on a contingent basis, sometimes via an in-house recruiter who hasn’t had time to fully understand what is really wanted, recruiters then run off and have a quick go at it because speed is more important than quality. Candidates receive a quick call and very vague job brief and the process has begun… often all parties get what they committed to… a frustrating experience!

Two things can change this whole cycle for the better. (Employer, Recruiter, Candidate)

1. Commitment. Make a mutual commitment to each other. Work exclusively with one recruiter. The recruiter can then make a commitment to all parties to do their job properly because they know they will be rewarded for their efforts. Considerations of Time, Cost and Quality can then be managed in a controlled and professional manner which is surely a better result.

2. Communication. We are dealing with people. Everyday life intervenes and something changes which will have a bearing on the outcome. Candidates must keep recruiters fully informed, employers must de-brief candidly, recruiters must keep both parties fully informed and engaged at each milestone. If this happens then the experience can be a good one regardless of final outcome but if not then it’s rarely so.

Mutual Commitment and Great Communication can change everything.

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Market ain’t that hot…let’s keep it real!

I’ve been reading a lot of market commentry about just how hot the ICT employment market is again. I even read a blog from a Sydney based recruiter stating that it’s the hottest market they have ever seen! I hate to be rude but… that person can’t have been around long!

From a recruitment industry perspective let’s keep some perspective and acknowledge that the market is a lot better than this time 12 months ago. However, I suggest cautious optimisism is not a bad approach. Plan for growth without feeling the need to freak out and hire at all cost.

The recruitment industry had a real clean out over the last 18 months with those less than 110% committed to the career opting out. Let’s remain determined to focus on quality and committed people as we re-emerge and grow our businesses.

What is the best source of candidates?

Employee referrals will always come up as the best source of hire in any research that I have read.

But I have a warning!

A company we recently did some work with made virtually no hires that were not from an employee referral. The good news was that their cost per hire was very low. They didn’t even pay employee referral incentives. It was even better when we looked at their employee retention and found their staff turnover was very low. All good and no need for intervention here we thought.

However, this mid-sized national company was losing market share and not hitting its revenue targets. Long story short was that new hire profile directly matched existing employee profiles. Yes, a happy content bunch of underperformers. The market had changed and competitors were hiring a very different and diverse group.

The issue… “like attract like’ and whilst this may be convenient and cost-effective it may not get you the result you want. A bit like using the “old boys” network… yes it has a place but not always and not without rigor in the process!

Game Changing!

“09 is Game Changing?”

In my 21 years in the IT recruitment industry I think we may be just be coming out of the most ‘game changing’ period I have seen. Sure 1990 was tough post the ’87 crash and Y2K created huge opportunity, then a following lull, but this may be different!

1. The flexible workforce is now a reality!
2. Price transparency and value is for real!
3. Social networks is the great technology enabler!
4. “people are our most important asset”… this Mantra will now be tested like never before!

Flexible workforce: Yep. Short-term, fixed term, part-time, job share, hourly rate, fixed rate, daily rate, work from home, virtual workforce, webcasting, crowd-sourcing or cloud. Whatever it takes and whatever is affordable is driving very creative workforce solutions. This is now a reality and is a change that must be embraced by employers, recruiters, candidates, HR professionals and consultants. Whilst the rhetoric has been around a while we are now genuinely seeing these solutions being deployed with greater acceptance.

Price & Value: Perhaps it the stark financial reality everyone has needed to face that has finally cut through cultures of excess and lack of accountability. This has demanded an honesty amongst executives and suppliers that has driven price down where value didn’t equate. From this moment I reckon that value will be much more closely aligned to price especially in the services and consultancy supply community. People will still pay well for value but won’t accept excess.

Web 3.0: Social Networks are growing at such a rate that embracing it is the only option. Relationships, trust and knowledge will always underpin ultimate success but online branding and community development will drive our sourcing strategies, brand recognition, reputation and ultimately our effectiveness. Think price and value as above! Relevance to our audience and tools to reach them is extraordinarily challenging yet exciting for our industry. We’re all ears at this stage as we navigate forward trying out new tools and techniques!

“Yeah Right”: As green shoots appear company cultures will be tested like never before and lip service to employee engagement practices will come at a hefty price. Opportunities offshore will begin to open up again and a candidate short market will re-appear sooner than some think. Corporate behaviour over the last 12-18 months may just determine their success over the next 24 months. Some of the brutal treatment dished out by some large multi-nationals could come home to roost as people once again have choice.

Overall we see much more positivity than we did even 3 months ago. Unemployment forecasts and being reduced and most companies are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead. Have a happy and safe Xmas break.

Mark Chote
Managing Director
920 career agents

Management Contracting Versus Management Consulting?

I had an interesting discussion with an industry colleague from Australia the other day. They have launched a new service for their clients pitched at competing with traditional consulting firms. The key value propostion seemed to be:
1. Management Consulting expertise at a lower price point
2. Mangement Consulting advice that is not aligned to any software provider i.e. SAP or Oracle

This technology agnostic approach they stated was being well received by clients whom were tired of being oversold by strategy advice that was aligned to large enterprise wide software implementations and the corresponding consulting teams beyond what was required.

Is this lack of transparent independance a problem for management consulting firms in NZ?

I don’t know but if this service gains strength in Australia they may have found a nice growth niche in the market providing high quality management consulting experts to their clients with genuine independance at a good price.

This may not be entirely new but rather it may be well timed?

Australia is of course a very large pool compared to ours so plenty of room for all service options!