Will consumer sentiment lead to another recruitment rollercoaster?

It’s my first day back in the office today and I’m feeling super positive about the year ahead. That’s pretty good considering that 2016 was one hell of a rollercoaster for us recruiters. Arguably, that’s a pretty odd statement as my business and (anecdotally!) my competitors, had a cracking year. So why was it a rollercoaster? Our clients, specifically in retail and hospitality, are hyper sensitive to consumer sentiment. I’m sure you have seen the surveys. Here is GfK’s survey - you’ll notice there are a few troughs! The graph above tells us that consumer confidence went from pretty positive at the back end of 2015 to Armageddon in July. There was a recovery before a further dip in November. Indeed, here’s a screen print from the BBC website today (Wednesday 04/01/17): It makes for pretty depressing reading. To top it off, footfall declined over the New Year period. Given that we know that Article 50 will be invoked in March and that Trump will be inaugurated later this month we can be confident that another rollercoaster year is ahead of us. As you would expect, if our clients lose confidence they cut costs and, as we all know, the quickest cost to cut is people related i.e. less recruitment. Or at least, that was the traditional approach. Over the last two years we have seen a bit more resilience in the jobs market. Our client base is a little less sensitive to macro change, and while remaining cost conscious, less susceptible to knee jerk reactions. Additionally, not all sectors of retail or indeed other industries are impacted by poor consumer sentiment. Value retail is likely to see a resurgence in 2017 despite ever increasing competition. Arguably, Tesco & Morrisons will reap the benefits of the strategic changes they have instigated over the last two years. Here at AdMore we have invested in other sectors too, such as apprenticeships recruitment and that sector is forecasted to grow by up to 50% due to the impending levy. So you see, whilst I believe that 2017 is going to be another rollercoaster ride for consumer sentiment and that some areas of recruitment are likely to mirror that, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. That said, if you are a candidate, a hiring manager or a recruiter; we will all once again need to be very, very, very resilient!
 

The REAL irony of recruitment

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There is a thread on LinkedIn that is likely to run and run and run. It was posted with good intentions and borne out of frustration. The update reads as follows: “Definition of irony = Chasing a recruiter for several months and time and time again, them NEVER calling you back when they say they will, NEVER replying to your emails, having members of staff who answer the phone blatantly lie to you, then you getting a Head of HR job and said recruiter chases you to meet for a coffee and discuss my needs for recruitment within 5 days of your start date. Now that is ironic in my book! This is not a recruiter or recruitment industry bashing thread but my own personal observation.” Unsurprisingly it has turned in to exactly what you would expect, a recruitment bashing thread. Unfortunately the real irony has been missed altogether. The real irony is that recruitment has turned in to a circle of abuse that only the abused can break. You probably know this statistic already, but here goes. People who have been bullied are twice as likely to bully themselves. The candidate that experiences the worst that recruitment agencies have to offer is the only one that can break this circle. They can break this circle when they become the client. The client is THE customer. The stakeholder with the greatest power to define how recruitment agencies treat candidates. Indeed there are lots of things we agencies can do to improve the experience for candidates - all of which can be measured and reported. Unfortunately it’s an expensive model. Even more unfortunately, most clients don’t want to pay for it. The very people who often complain about the conduct of recruitment agencies are utterly unwilling to invest their own time and their (employer's) own money in improving the candidate experience. That’s the real irony.
 

LinkedIn’s analytics backfires for many employer’s job adverts

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By Jez Styles You might have missed it but LinkedIn’s share price collapsed after their latest financial statement. LinkedIn has been under increasing pressure to increase its revenue streams and, with a slow down in growth to 20% in the fourth quarter from 56% in the equivalent period last year, many analysts are predicting this slowdown to continue with predictions of just 10% in 2018. At the heart of this slow down in growth has been LinkedIn’s over reliance on its ‘talent solutions’ which makes up 63% of net revenue. LinkedIn has attempted to differentiate its ‘adverts’ proposition from the standard job boards and through the acquisition of several firms including Fliptop. Late last year LinkedIn updated its job advert page for premium subscribers to provide further information for prospective candidates on employers. Read more here: http://techcrunch.com/2015/12/15/linkedin-revamps-its-jobs-listings-with-big-data-analytics/ Sounds great right? What happens when the analytics don’t look quite so rosy? And let’s face it, not every company on LinkedIn is in hyper growth. Indeed I happened upon the following advert recently. ***Looks like an interesting position doesn’t it? I might even apply myself… Hang on, let’s just look at those lovely graphs and charts before I do though… Oh! hotel choc 1 It seems that headcount has dropped by 18%, so 1 in 5 employees have left in the last 2 years. Hmmm that doesn’t look good for job security does it? Average tenure is 3 years? Well maybe the salary and package will assuage my concerns… choc NN Well, there are no details about salary and package and LinkedIn tells me that these roles typically pay anywhere from £30 to £59k…which is pretty broad by anyone’s standards. I might just pass on this occasion. And herein lies the rub. The more LinkedIn tries to differentiate and provide more information the more they will expose the ugly truth of recruitment. Not every company is Google or Facebook. Dry analytics will make some businesses look great, a lot very average and many quite unattractive. They don’t tell you about the culture, the people and what it’s like to work for the company. Which means that fewer, not more, companies will invest in LinkedIn’s talent solutions. Which means prices will go up and features will go down on our subscriptions. This means further disenchantment with LinkedIn. And if you want to see the numbers behind what I suspect is a growing trend in user disenchantment – click here!   ***Apologies to the guys at Hotel Chocolat for flagging this, I really like their stores and I’m not entirely convinced these analytics are a fair reflection of their employer credentials. Hopefully this post might lead to a few more, not less, applications!  
 

LinkedIn is a decidedly rusting bullet for recruitment agencies

By Jez Styles If you are on LinkedIn as often as me (this blog would suggest you are not…) then you’ll see countless blogs and articles detailing the demise of agencies. New technology, new services and an increasing antipathy [with recruiters] played out on social media has created the impression that myself and my colleagues are dinosaurs, plodding on, oblivious to that rather bright light in the sky. LinkedIn has long been lauded as the ultimate agency killer. Back in the good old days ( I started my first recruitment job in 2007 so only got to see the good days for about six months but hey ho!) agencies would often focus their pitch to companies on their enormous database of candidates. Candidates that the said employer couldn’t reach themselves. And then LinkedIn came along and our database stopped being a selling point. Albeit, I understand, a lot of agencies still sell on this point (and perhaps rightly so…). LinkedIn’s member base has increased from 218m at the beginning of 2012 to 414m at the end of 2015. That’s a big database right? But there is something fishy going on. Only people who have worked with large databases before will understand this. If you are an in-house recruiter you are going to be sceptical about my motives for penning this, I don’t blame you. So, let’s look at some numbers from LinkedIn’s last financial statement. Membership has risen by the following:
  • 2013 – 277m
  • 2014 – 347m
  • 2015 – 414m
While Unique visiting members has risen by the following:
  • 2013 – 73m
  • 2014 – 87m
  • 2015 – 98m
There isn’t much explanation of these numbers in the literature I have read so I’m happy to be corrected …but by my reckoning these numbers mean the following. The percentage of unique members visiting LinkedIn is in decline:
  • 2013 – 26.4%
  • 2014 – 25.1%
  • 2015 – 23.7%
I also dug out the numbers for Q1 2012… it was 31%. This got me thinking. I have had a lot of conversations with colleagues and peers in the industry and anecdotally, everyone is reporting a drop in responses from candidates. So I checked with a colleague in our research team and she looked at the stats for responses to Inmails she has sent. Between Jan 2015 and December 2015, Liz had an Inmail response rate of 53.6% - that’s a pretty good return on investment and indicative of the care Liz takes to personalise and engage through her messages. However, from Jan 2016 to today that response rate has dropped to 24.2%. When I worked for a ‘large international recruitment firm’ I was fortunate to have access to an enormous database. I would go as far as to say it was better than LinkedIn is today. Top line numbers always look good. The devil is in the detail. Databases go out of date…and need a LOT of maintenance. …and people lose interest in being on said database and stop responding.                 so you end up with an ever increasing haystack And that is what has been happening (increasingly so) to LinkedIn. But, LinkedIn has one more very big problem. Its entire validity is dependent on its users updating their database.        the needles in said haystack don’t look like needles anymore That’s a bit of a problem when a declining proportion of users are returning to the site and as a consequence updating their profiles. So when an agency says that they have a ‘pool of talent’ that other agencies or recruiters can’t access I wouldn’t necessarily guffaw too quickly. Because this is exactly when niche specialist knowledge comes to the fore once again. Of course, this flags up one more question. Why is engagement in decline?      
 

5 Recruitment news stories from 2020

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By Jez Styles It is 2020 and all the wild predictions about changes to the world of recruitment are being realised. Here are 5 news stories from across the UK. February 15th, 2020. London. The Government’s flagship Social Media platform ‘LuckedOut’ signed up its one millionth user last month. A spokesman for the Department of Work & Pensions announced that the site had been an “incredible success story and had helped over 100’000 people return to work.” Critics of the platform believe the mandatory sign ups for those seeking benefits ran contrary to their human rights. Pressure group ‘Right to unemployment’ released a statement condemning the government for forcing the unemployed to sign up to the site to earn benefits. “As part of the conditions to earn benefits individuals have to post a minimum of 5 motivational quotes, 10 pictures of cats and ‘like’ at least 25 articles every day, we fail to see how this could be a good use of time.”   March 14th2020, Manchester. A man failed in his bid to overturn a dismissal from his ‘future’ employer yesterday. An employment tribunal heard that, Peter Parrot, was dismissed for Gross Misconduct before he had completed his interview process. As part of the selection process Peter was asked to complete a range of tests and gave consent for the company to analyse web based material, social media and test results. A Predictive analytics program found that Peter was 99.6% likely to breach the company’s code of conduct. ABC Enterprises, released the following statement: “This is a victory for employers everywhere who risk hiring unpredictable employees. We used the predictive analytics software to give us insight in to the likely success of candidates; the programme found that the candidate in question was certain to be dismissed in the future. Our legal advisors believed that we might open ourselves up to claims from other employers in the future if we failed to follow the normal disciplinary process and as such Peter Parrott was found guilty of gross misconduct.” Peter parrot has since been dismissed by his then employer and has been unable to secure further employment. Peter responded to the statement on LuckedOut: Cat innocent   April 10th 2020, Birmingham Following the banning of zero hours contracts in 2018, food Retailer ‘Fork to Mouth’ has sought to get around the legislation with the introduction of ‘minus hours contracts.’ All employees have been asked to sign up to the new term which requires employees to pay their employer should they not work a minimum of 47.5 hours. For every hour missed they repay the equivalent back. Employees have complained that some managers have created a rota system where employees work every other week which in essence means they are receiving no salary. Fork to Mouth’s HR director defended their approach and has refused to withdraw the minus hours contract. Former employees have taken to LuckedOut to voice their disgust: Cat fork   May 1st 2020, London Recruiting App Kinder (pronounced kin der) has announced record profits for the 3rd quarter in a row today. Kinder attributed their growth to the rapid collapse of the Agency recruitment market and their unique analytics software. Users upload every interaction they have with another person via social media sites or physically via their Mandatory Google Glass implants. Further data capture allows the app to map how the user responds to the individual via facial recognition and communications which creates a ‘kin’ score, the theory being that the more positively you interact with someone the more they are like a member of your family. Every user has a profile that is used to match hiring managers with employees via their kin score.  Kinder currently has a 96% market share of the recruitment market in the UK. Kinder’s CEO recently dismissed claims of privacy infringements and suggested that if people didn’t want to find a job [through their app] they could always sign up to LuckedOut. In response LuckedOut users shared a picture of a cat 276’000 times in one day: Cat Kinder   Sep 10th 2020, London The last recruitment agency to operate in the UK closed its doors today. Following Kinder's recent announcement of reaching 99.4% market share employers no longer need to use recruitment firms to fill vacancies. The news has been met with a mixed reaction across Social Media. On twitter the hashtag #whodoweblamenow trended for much of the day. A number of Teachers have noted a spike in former Students attacking the profession and blaming them for ruining their future careers. In response to the news users on LuckedOut liked a picture of a cat 1.2m times. Cat Bye  
 

There is no such thing as "Social Recruitment"

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There is no such thing as “Social Recruitment”   The term social recruitment really bothers me. I’m a pretty literal chap and while I can see a lot of candidate sourcing takes place on ‘social media’ platforms it rarely ever gets truly social. I have read a good number of blogs and discussions about social media and recruitment and I never get the sense that there is a fluid connection between the words ‘social’ and ‘recruitment.’ I ran a google search on ‘Social Recruitment’ and as always Wiki came up with the first hit. The entry was telling: the quote below is the opening statement on Wikipedia, which has referenced Matt Alder’s blog in 2011: “Social recruiting (social hiring or social media recruitment) is recruiting candidates by using social platforms as talent databases or for advertising. Popular social media sites used for recruiting include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Viadeo, XING, Google+ and BranchOut. Social recruiting is at the intersection of recruitment and social media.[1] The two things that stand out for me are that the entry is relatively short with a definition that is 4 years old, not a bad thing in itself, but that there is a ‘notability’ warning that indicates that the page has been flagged for potential deletion if not given more weight i.e. secondary sources. Also, the definition honestly states that it is all about databases and advertising, whereas 4 years on in 2015, much of the advice from the sages of social recruitment is to avoid ‘broadcasting’ i.e. advertising vacancies. Hmmm, Social? I went back to my google search but the first couple of pages are filled with sites offering tips on how to improve your social media recruitment strategy / plan. So I thought I would go back to what social actually means. I found this definition on Merriam Webster:   : relating to or involving activities in which people spend time talking to each other or doing enjoyable things with each other : liking to be with and talk to people: happy to be with people : of or relating to people or society in general   I am quite prepared for many people to shoot me down here but let’s break this down and think about it from the candidate’s perspective. The first point is really interesting and I am going to be extremely literal (and very Gen X, the Gen Ys will cry!) but talking generally involves the use of one’s mouth which means meeting in person, using a phone or perhaps Skype (etc.). This isn’t ‘social recruitment,’ it is, well, erm…recruitment. It is attending meetings and/or interviews specifically with a recruiter or through general networking. The second point ‘liking to be with,’ is where it gets really interesting and where there is a hard truth to be confronted. Most sane candidates are not a big fan of looking for a job. Granted, there are narcissists in every facet of life, but really, do you honestly think that candidates generally like the process of;  
  1. Writing a CV.
  2. Editing your social media profile(s) to convey the sense that you are not an individual…that you don’t have colourful friends, opinions or a social life.
  3. Sharing detailed personal information with complete strangers.
  4. Being rejected by complete strangers.
  5. Completing online applications for jobs that are, to be honest, not always that exciting but require the candidate to massage the ego of the hiring company by telling them why their brand is the most exciting thing on the planet.
  6. Attending interviews that sometimes are wonderful experiences but all too often soul destroying for anyone over the age of 10.
  7. Doing all of the above under the attentive gaze of a recruiter (internal or agency).
  8. And repeat, and repeat, and repeat.
  Do you really think that candidates like this, that they like looking for a job and talking to recruiters? Do you honestly believe that candidates ‘like to be with’ most recruiters. Of course the most salient point of all is that most candidates don’t like to advertise the fact, through open dialogue on a social platform, that they are engaging with a recruiter. With that in mind there are some very BIG obstacles to recruitment ever being particularly social.   Now, don’t get me wrong, many consultants in recruitment form extraordinarily strong bonds with their candidates, going on to become genuine friends. Sometimes this starts through an introduction on a social media platform. However, this doesn’t make the updates on LinkedIn, your tweets or your blog particularly social. Most interaction on these sites is between other recruiters and consultants to the industry. This is fine but it doesn’t constitute ‘social recruitment’ to me.   Social recruitment does indeed have a place and yes perhaps it occurs after a Digital introduction but; for any aspiring recruitment consultants looking to build a long term career, I would focus a little less on building a ‘social’ digital footprint and a little more on networking (face to face, physical, in the same room, literally, I really mean where you could actually touch each other) with candidates and getting to know them. When the next recession hits the only recruiters that will survive will be the ones with real, tangible, mutually beneficial relationships.   That said, all the advice on ‘social recruitment’ and how to use the various social platforms to interact with candidates and potential clients is absolutely of benefit. It’s the semantics (or maybe pedantics!) that bothers me. “Digital recruitment” perhaps?  
 

10 Things that will happen when you resign

Resigning from your job is often a bit of a rollercoaster - excited by your new position you will be keen to press on and resign, your focus will be on how your line manager will initially react. However, there are a few other things to take in to account. Here are some of the classic points that candidates have mentioned to me in the past:
  • Buyback - You may be offered an incentive to stay with your employer, otherwise known as ‘buy-back.’ I have chosen to highlight this first as, contrary to the nonsense spouted by many within the world of recruitment, I do not believe that ‘buy-back’ is necessarily a bad thing. Depending on your motivation to leave (more money, promotion, change of direction etc.), if your current employer offers you what you want then it won’t necessarily be the end of the world if you choose to stay. Some line managers may take your decision to resign personally, but if they are mature and are able to offer you what you want to stay then that might be the right decision. What I would say is, do not accept anything other than a formal offer/contract specifying the changes. Where buyback does often go wrong for the candidate is when the employer reneges on ‘verbal’ promises. If you would like a slightly longer debunking of the counter-offer myth, Mitch Sullivan’s blog makes excellent and succinct reading! whats-the-real-truth-behind-counter-offers
  • Hero to Zero - Some employers will take your decision to leave personally so if you know your line manager well you will probably be prepared for this. If they are an emotional individual be prepared for a negative reaction. Stay calm; this will often pass once the line manager calms down. They will often come back to you in the future with their blessing…or not at all!
  • The Fire Exit – Yep, we have all heard about removal via fire exit, and it does happen on a remarkably regular basis. You will probably know whether this is likely to happen, based on previous corporate behaviour. It is worth ensuring that you have recorded contact details from your phone / laptop if there is a risk you will have it removed from your possession for confidentiality reasons. It is also worth compiling a list of ‘must’ calls to colleagues to let them know in the aftermath that you are leaving. Noses will be put out of joint if you don’t deliver the message personally.
  • The silent treatment – Depending on the personality of your line manager, or indeed whether they are under pressure, you might find yourself on the receiving end of…nothing. Complete radio silence. Keep professional and see your notice period out without incident.
  • Communication lockdown – Candidates often find the most difficult element post- resignation is being locked out of communications. In all likelihood you will be removed from group email lists, conference calls and other formal communication methods. Don’t take this personally or feel that you are no longer valued; it is merely the business protecting its confidentiality and learning how to cope without you!
  • A mixed reaction from your team – It is great for the ego when you resign and employees break out in floods of tears but equally don’t be surprised if one or two employees are indifferent or worse. Be prepared to factor in additional support for the team members you have made a tangible difference to. A call to each team member after an announcement is never forgotten, even if you didn’t always get along on a personal level.
  • Rebellion – well maybe not quite so dramatic (!) but once you have informed your team and, depending on your notice period (3-6 months is often the most problematic period), you may find that your team stop responding to you in the same way they have done previously. Your and their priorities have changed and you should accept that. Don’t be surprised if there is some political manoeuvring, your team will be keen to impress your line manager. There is an opportunity for you to sponsor one of your team for your own position so it is worth thinking about this ahead of your resignation.
  • Ever decreasing motivation levels – You will of course believe that, as you’re normally highly energetic and motivated, nothing will change post-resignation, that you will remain ultra professional. Well, a lot changes mentally when you resign but perhaps more importantly and due to some of the above points, the scope for what you can achieve changes. Be prepared for your motivation levels to drop significantly - that board meeting or store visit won’t have quite the same edge. Look for opportunities to do things that you didn’t quite find the time for previously - it might be a good time to get back to the ‘shop-floor’ and support a struggling member of your team. Whatever you choose to do ensure you are adding value.
  • The knives are out - Depending on the culture of your employer (this might be why you are leaving of course) you may find that your performance suddenly comes under scrutiny. Those audits that weren’t quite perfect will gain a little more focus, questions will be asked about employee engagement and your P&L will be picked apart by applicants for your role. Just look at Tesco, a new leader will invariably be keen to air any dirty laundry as quickly as possible. There is little point getting involved in these discussions, a dignified response will speak volumes.
  • It’s been a while, but… - People will get in touch with you for the first time in a while - the colleague who moved on 5 years ago and never returned your call, the person in marketing who rarely speaks to you at conference or a supplier you have had challenges with. They will have probably had their reasons for limited contact previously but now is a great opportunity for strengthening your network; listen and offer support to those that seek it. You will be surprised by how many colleagues confide (often for the first time) that they feel the same way as you and will ask for your advice.
  I hope this helps and doesn’t put you off making your next job move!
 

Now is the time to push your salary up!

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Now is the time to push your salary up! One of the best things that I get to do in my job, albeit not so much over the recession, is to advise candidates that they should be asking for more money.  
  • We are not in recession any more, we are in growth.
  • The jobs market is tightening; More jobs & fewer candidates.
  • Most retailers have by-and-large stabilised…even Tesco.
  You will have seen the press recently about large scale pay increases in the US, with Walmart, McDonalds and Dominos all making significant pledges: http://www.mlive.com/business. There is also a growing pressure on government, in the UK, to increase the minimum wage or move to a living wage model. But how does this impact you? Well, anecdotally, we have seen significant improvements over the past 12-18 months on salary & packages at the mid-senior management level (£50-150k). Indeed, the job market has tightened quite considerably since Autumn 2014. The unemployed candidate pool has shrunk to almost normal levels (in Retail at this level), with the usual ebb and flow one would expect in this space. The influx of people coming out of P4U and Tesco over the last 6 months has barely been felt with most people back in employment incredibly quickly. When you compare to the collapse of Woolies, Comet et al, it is a different world. Many people at mid level look at some of the less positive national employment data and wrongly assume that this applies to all job functions and levels. It doesn’t. Retail cut faster and harder than any other employment sector. A full year ahead of Lehmans, we saw this from late summer 2007.  8 Years ago! The public sector is still trying to align itself to the real world with various predictions of the budget not being balanced until 2020, or beyond (12 years to get the house in order… you are lucky if you get 12 weeks in retail if the numbers drop, but hey-ho!). Retail is now under-resourced in many functions, especially the newer areas such as digital. Over the recession Area Managers and Divisional Managers were seen as a cost centre, and were cut accordingly. As a result succession was stymied and a talent shortage is developing across the market. As growth kicks in, plenty of big retailers are knocking on the door of double digit L4L’s in some categories / geographies; and field managers will be seen as a profit centre. L&D is getting investment again too. I am seeing this talent shortage now - in the agency world you have the benefit of working with multiple clients so you develop a relatively balanced view. So demand is beginning to exceed supply and we all know what that drives. A cynic might accuse me of driving the wrong behaviours or expectations. Go for it, that’s fine. The reality is that many large employers have taken advantage over the recession because supply exceeded demand. So, at long last, I am getting the opportunity to say to some candidates… “Don’t undervalue yourself, you should be asking for more.” Happy days!   P.S. I am seriously going to regret this blog given I have a number of offers pending!
 

16 Reasons why Retailers make fantastic Recruitment Consultants: Part 2

16 Reasons why Retailers make fantastic Recruitment Consultants: Part 2 We wrote recently about why we believe retailers make great recruitment consultants (click here). In the first part of this blog we discussed the behaviours that are transferable, here we look at the skills and experience that many retailers acquire that transfer in to a job in recruitment. As I mentioned previously we are actively recruiting for our offices in Surrey and Solihull so if this strikes a chord please get in touch! You can look at our Facebook page or email my colleague Sophie.mackenzie@admore-recruitment.co.uk directly. Skills & Experience Change Management: Following a deep recession and significant changes in technology and shopping behaviour, Retailers have become accustomed to a state of flux within their respective markets. The most successful individuals and businesses are the ones that embrace change and where it is second nature. Within recruitment we have also seen some significant changes to our industry with a lot more to come. As a result individuals with experience of both managing and implementing change are best suited to our market. You know what good looks like: As a Retail and Hospitality specialist recruitment firm we recruit a broad range of roles, typically from Area Manager, Buying manager, HRBP (etc.) level upwards. If you have worked in retail you will know ‘what good looks like’ whether that is due to personal experience of doing the role or working with a range of people in support functions. This experience is crucial when working with our candidate and clients as it allows us to fully understand the positions we are recruiting for and also enables us to truly empathise. Leadership & People Management: Clearly this is a broad and complex subject but in my experience, the two core skills that often leads to a successful transfer into recruitment are; the ability to motivate direct reports, indirect reports and other stakeholders and; the ability to manage performance in a formal and structured manner. Retailers generally learn how to do this both on the job and in the classroom – an option not always available in many companies. Most large recruitment firms promote their consultants into leadership roles on the basis of their ‘billings’ history. Previous experience of managing people is extremely advantageous when your career accelerates. Managing complexity: Retailers are highly adept at managing a complex business, generally with a suite of KPIs, service metrics and reporting, big to-do lists and instructions and changes coming from a range of departments. Recruitment is often perceived to be straightforward but when you are dealing with people it is generally anything but! Stakeholder & Relationship Management: As mentioned above most retailers have to deal with a range of stakeholders with often conflicting priorities. An ability to manage this is often a highly honed skill. Within recruitment we constantly have to juggle a range of stakeholders, the crucial skill being that you have to be able to focus on the end goal and work towards achieving that while satisfying your stakeholder’s expectations! Strategy and tactical development: The degree of exposure and therefore capability will depend on the level that you have reached but retailers learn from very early in their career, at the very least, how to develop a tactical plan on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. This is particularly important in recruitment where you constantly need to evolve. In order to capitalise on market improvements you need a good plan to truly realise the opportunity. Operations Management: Depending on your retail background, the experience you have here will vary. By operations management I am referring to the management of the supply chain and the store operation. Food & ‘big box’ retailers tend to have the most advanced skill-set in this regard. Understanding the cause & effect of moving units from one place to another may sound simple but in high volume environments it can be incredibly complex. It may be surprising but large scale recruitment campaigns can benefit from a similar logical approach to understanding and planning workload. There are lots of other skills you will have acquired that transfer in to recruitment; way too many to mention! So, if you live close to Surrey or Solihull get in touch. We are looking for Recruitment Consultants and Researchers. You may think we pay low basic salaries. We don’t! You may have other negative perception(s) about a career in recruitment; well we are dispelling a few of those on LinkedIn and Twitter. Please follow us and keep an eye out! For details about our current vacancies, please visit us on Facebook  
 

16 reasons why Retailers make fantastic Recruitment Consultants: Part 1

16 Reasons why Retailers make fantastic Recruitment Consultants: Part 1

So, cards on the table…

The retail & hospitality market is back in growth and we are recruiting! We try to avoid selling ‘stuff’ on this site because we have always seen it as our way of giving something back to the communities that support us. This time though, we believe that you, the reader of this blog, are the type of person that we want to recruit for our business. You may already work in recruitment, if so that’s great you are welcome too and we would love to talk to you about why we believe AdMore is a great place to work; or you may be a retailer. You might be just starting to think about doing something different. I’ve been there. When I left HMV in 2007 I got in touch with my now colleague Sophie Mackenzie and said “I love Retail but I want to do something different, I’m just not sure what.”

So let me tell you, whether you are an Area Manager, Store Manager, Buyer, HRBP, Property Manager or any other role in Retail why you should think about recruitment…and hopefully AdMore.

I will split this over two posts as I want to talk about Behaviours first and then Skills:

Behaviours

Resilience

I am not sure I need to explain this one given the rollercoaster most retailers have been on over the last few years. To be fair even in the good times it isn’t easy. There is rarely any respite, no rest period and little time for reflection. Retailers get two days off a year. When your average person is enjoying their May Day Bank holiday, Store managers and their teams are working harder then ever. It isn’t any easier further up the ladder either. Preparing for a 7am Monday morning board meeting, trying to shore up some shocking Like for Likes late in to a Sunday night certainly requires some resilience – and not just for the individual but for their families too. In recruitment we are often on a rollercoaster too - good and bad news comes every day, not always in equal measure.

 

High energy & Results Orientation

These days pretty much everything that a retailer does is measured in some way. The larger chains have engaged in some very detailed time and motion studies to increase productivity and that only serves to ratchet up the focus on results. Retailers live and die by their numbers. Even customer service scores and employee surveys are often boiled down to a single number. Are you above average? Did you top the region, the company or the industry? As with previous points, where Retailers really impress, is their ability to combine an orientation towards ‘getting a result’ with doing it the ‘right way’ – through their people and with customer at the heart of their decision. Oh, and with vigour, passion and good humour! We recruiters are also results orientated, the good ones keep the customer at the heart of what they do…

 

Customer & Service Orientation

We have all had poor experiences in a shop before but on the whole the service offered, in my opinion, is far higher than in other industries. The reason why I believe this is of particular importance is that the provision of service is generally one of many tasks that frontline and back office support retailers have to provide. Remaining focused on the customer when you have a refit taking place, maintenance issues, conference calls from head office, an audit, stock deliveries and a multitude of other tasks in your in-tray is both an art and a science. This isn’t just applicable at store level either, the demands being placed upon Directors and CEOs has reached stratospheric levels with an increasing uptake of Social Media. I have spoken to numerous Directors recently who are increasingly dealing directly with customer issues, in real time over Twitter…24/7.

Many of you will have experienced a bad recruiter before, often forgetting who their customers are (not just the client). Recruitment is changing at a similar pace to retail and the firms that keep a good service ethic will be very successful.

 

Self motivated

Retail is a very, very, very tough industry. Success or failure is often on a knife-edge. You have to be able to take the knocks and enjoy the wins. Most managers, regardless of job function, are highly self-motivated in retail. Recruitment also requires a high degree of self-motivation.

 

Empathy

In Retail and Hospitality you have to be able to empathise, you have to empathise with your customers, your colleagues, your team, your line manager, his/her line manager, your colleagues in HR, your suppliers, your shopping centre manager…the list goes on. Great retailers manage to maintain a balance. Great recruiters do too - telling a redundant candidate that they haven’t got the job that they desperately wanted requires tact and a huge dose of empathy.

 

Ownership & Accountability

With highly visible KPIs, strong processes and structure comes accountability. With accountability comes ownership! This swings both ways, when you are doing well you will receive the plaudits…when things are not going so well you will be held accountable. Retailers understand this relationship between success and failure and they own their results. You only have to listen to a politician on the radio to realise what a fantastic attribute this is! Recruitment is the same, some people over complicate what we do but in essence we are paid to get a result (in the right way). If you are working a retained assignment there is no room for failure, you have to own your work.

 

Urgency & Pace

I suspect that this is the most under-rated behaviour of all. Retail has always been a fast paced industry, driven by consumer demand, trends & perishable product. Quite simply, if you do not ‘get it right’ first time you will lose a sale to the competition. You snooze – you lose. With the onset of Social Media and internet shopping the urgency of delivery has become even more important. Most retail jobs are highly task focused and great retailers are able to prioritise, Urgent vs. Important, and deliver a result with pace. Having recruited for a number of organisations in other industries, Line Managers often talk about the need for an injection of urgency and love the pace that retailers operate at.

 

Drive & Passion

The beauty of the Retail Industry is that anyone can enter and anyone can do well. Of course degrees and other technical qualifications will help but if you have high levels of drive and you are passionate about what you do, you WILL be successful. The same is true of recruitment.

 

So, if you live close to Surrey or Solihull get in touch. We are looking for Recruitment Consultants and Researchers. You may think we pay low basic salaries. We don’t! You may have other negative perception(s) about a career in recruitment; well we are planning to dispel a few of those over the coming weeks on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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