Do candidates feel they have a better chance in securing a particular role if they are supported by a recruitment consultant?

I had a very interesting experience last week that I wanted to share because it really brought home to me the advantage candidates may have when being represented by a recruitment consultant. I had been briefed by a client on a contingency basis for a senior role which the client would also be advertising on its own website. As I started to pull together my long list I spoke to a candidate who a matter of hours before had actually seen the direct advertisement and had submitted an application.

Whilst I understood and expected the reaction I received, it was the strength of feeling that perhaps surprised me.  The candidate was genuinely gutted that his application was not through me. (Not as gutted as I was of course, this guy was a great shout for the role!). He went on to explain how he believed he would be disadvantaged by not being represented by me. He explained that when I had put him forward for a previous role, I had shared with him a large amount of information that he has never had when going direct. The fact that I knew the Line Manager and had done for many years meant I could give insight into her character and style. An in depth briefing on the role, it's challenges, the make up and capability of the existing team. Also a real insight into the culture and the people within the business and more than just the values on their website. Also the knowledge and experience of recruiting for them allowed me to give clarity and detail around the selection process.

What I totally appreciate is that a lot of clients will ensure that their candidates are very prepared for any selection event or interview. Many have information packs and the like to ensure the candidate has the job description, knows the process that they will go through etc. But as my candidate pointed out, when you have a recruitment consultant who truly knows the client they are able to give you that insight, that extra edge that might just make the difference. Now clearly better preparation isn’t going to turn an average candidate into a Superstar but in this very competitive market it just might swing the balance in their favour. I decided to share my knowledge with this candidate anyway, firstly it felt like the right thing to do, secondly I knew he would tell the client which would sit very positively with them and also if he was successful he would then be a client.  In his mind he would have be genuinely disadvantaged without my support and it really drove home the difference we can make to the recruitment process from the candidates perspective.

I did of course ponder whether the candidate had thought about whether he may actually stand a better chance of getting the role because he didn’t have a sizeable fee attached to his head….. but that is a different debate altogether………..and one for another day!

I am really interested to hear other's thoughts, which ever side of the table you sit……..

 

Is the recession creating a lost generation of Middle Management in Retail?

There has been a lot of publicity recently about a lost generation of graduates and school leavers who cannot find work.  Equally the steady rise in redundancies that has continued unabated throughout and beyond the recession has affected large numbers of people. Those of you who are in work will naturally feel relieved that you are in employment and ‘safe.’ At the start of the recession the vast majority of recruiters and businesses used the ‘sell’ of job security as a means to both retain and attract talent. The vast majority of candidates placed this at the top of their wish list for their next job. Of course this was going all the way back to 2008 and for some as early as 2007 when Retailers starting cutting costs with dark clouds gathering in the US over the sub-prime crash. Large numbers of retailers have taken the opportunity to soak up this surplus of talent. Between 2009 and continuing through 2011 it became common place for Retail Directors to take Regional Manager positions, Regional Managers to take Area Manager positions and Area Managers to take Store Manager positions. This downwards pressure on the job market has continued and there are plenty of businesses out there whom are still capitalising on the opportunity. Another product of the recession has been Operational restructuring. Store closures aside this tends to predominantly affect Area Managers through to Retail Director level. Large numbers of retailers have quite simply removed a layer of management, typically at Regional level. As a result a large number of chains now have a model where an area manager will lead a group of up to 40+ stores and report directly to the Retail Director. It’s a big jump for a Store Manager to make and an even more unlikely move for an Area Manager to move to the one and only operational role above them. So to recap, there are less layers of management, less positions and increasing numbers of senior operators whom are settling for a role that is a step below where they have operated previously. That safety that candidates have been flocking to in recent years is beginning to look like stasis or to be more dramatic a career trap.  How long are you willing to sit it out? The reality is, depending on whether you are a glass half empty/full type of person, we are likely to see recession / negligible growth for at least another 3-6 years. Given that lots of people have been in lockdown mode for the best part of 3 years, the risk averse among you will potentially not be looking for a promotion or external career advancement for up to 9 (YES NINE) years. Guess what, when you start looking for a job at that point, your drive and ambition will be challenged and to be realistic you will probably struggle to make another move upwards. Are you feeling quite so comfortable with being safe now? Interestingly there have been more of those elusive ‘passive’ candidates coming on to the market at the start of 2012. The Executive’s candidate board that is Linkedin is testament to the change in mind-set. Lots of candidates see no issue with loading their profile on to Linkedin with the hope that they will be ‘found’. I suspect that a large number of these people will take a more aggressive approach to their career advancement in 2012. Will those that do not be left behind?