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.
 

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?  
 

Confessions of a broken-hearted recruiter

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As you may have noticed, we are growing our team currently and the responsibility for finding new hires has fallen to me. Now this isn’t the first time I have recruited ‘in-house’ but blimey, can there any be more pressure than recruiting for other recruiters!?? As with any in-house role, you feel acute pressure to deliver results for each vacancy, not least because your client is ever-present and usually extremely senior and influential in the wider business. Fail to meet their expectations and you risk damaging your reputation internally. This is a risk that agency recruiters also face with their clients however the difference being that they don’t have to sit in the same office/ attend meetings/have lunch with said client on a daily basis! The pressure also comes when you have a personal stake in the results. AdMore need new people if we are to grow and my own career development and that of my colleagues depends on us doing just that. Like any recruitment, in addition to finding people that can do the job, I also need to make sure that they will fit within the team – something which becomes more important when you know the individuals in the team so well. Anyone working in agency recruitment will tell you that finding great consultants is difficult, unless you are employing a ‘bums on seats’ hiring strategy! Finding people with the right values, who will be able to engage with candidates and clients at all levels and crucially, win over clients who may have had a poor recruitment experience previously, is no mean feat. They also must be highly commercial, results driven, resilient and hard-working. Most challenging of all, they need to have a ‘spark’, that dreaded Holy Grail that is impossible to judge on paper! Having said all that, recruiting for a company I know inside out and am hugely passionate about is a privilege and great fun so I feel more than up for the challenge. Recently however, I had a reminder of how brutal the role of a recruiter can be and thought it worth sharing the experience. I met a guy. He was capable, driven, well presented, commercial and best of all, he had the ‘spark’! Those of you in recruitment will recognise the feeling when you meet a great candidate, one who you know your client will love. I left our first meeting floating on air. Fair to say I was excited! I was confident that my Directors would like him and that he would fit into the team. Before I knew it, I was imagining him in the office, joining in the daily banter, bringing something new to our team social events. I envisioned him becoming a top biller, delighting candidates and clients with his professionalism and charm. And I, having found this rarest of gems and persuaded him to join our team, would bask in this reflected glory! The problem is, for a moment I forgot the fundamental rules of recruitment, namely: If something is too good to be true, it usually is. If something can go wrong, it probably will. NEVER EVER celebrate a placement until it is water-tight. Like all whirlwind romances, the spark is easily extinguished and it turned out that my candidate had a hidden past, one which I should have explored more thoroughly before getting so carried away. My fantasy disappeared faster than you could say ‘pathological liar’ and left me, well, more than a little broken-hearted. A loss of appetite and sleepless night ensued…how could I have been so stupid? I felt hurt and humiliated that I had put my faith in this person only to be let down and worse still, championed him so passionately him to my Directors. Those of you in recruitment know that this happens and you don’t have long to wallow in self-pity. So, I have dusted myself off and have reminded myself of the fundamental rules of recruitment, namely: Move on quickly and keep focused on the next placement Get back on the bike (phone!) – the next great candidate could be just a call away and… You can’t keep a good woman down!   If you are interested in joining the lovely team at AdMore and have drive, resilience, commerciality and integrity, please contact me at [email protected]  
 

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 [email protected] 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.

Please follow us and keep an eye out!
For details about our current vacancies, please visit us on Facebook

 

 

Why it’s important to be consistent with your salary expectations

Why it's important to be consistent with your salary expectations   Thankfully, the job market is really picking up so if you are looking for a new role currently, you will hopefully be called upon to manage a job offer in the near future. Offer Management, as we call it in the wonderful world of recruitment, is possibly the most important part of the recruitment process. Too many people make the mistake of thinking that once they’ve nailed the interview process then that’s it, however years of experience has shown me that sometimes the offer stage is where the problems can start. A lot of this comes down to little or no management of this in the early stages of a process. As a recruiter, you are always taught that Offer Management begins in the first conversation with a candidate and should continue in every subsequent conversation. Indeed, if you have worked with a Recruitment Consultant, you may have wondered why they ask you so regularly what your salary expectations are or whether any of your circumstances have changed? If they do this, you can be reassured that, rather than losing their marbles, they are actually doing their job properly which will hopefully serve you well in the long run! The reason a good consultant will ask you this in every conversation is two-fold: Firstly, to check that something actually hasn’t changed – that you haven’t had a pay increase or promotion at work which may then affect your expectations for instance. Secondly, to get you thinking about it! With the stress and excitement of getting through the interview process, you may not have given much thought to what getting the job will actually mean. For instance, you may have said at the beginning that you were open on location however when it comes down to it, you really don’t want to move. There are so many factors which should be considered when managing an offer however the single biggest factor is salary. Get this wrong and you can lose the opportunity. I recently experienced this with a candidate who, at final stages in a process, drastically changed their salary expectations mid way through the process. Despite having covered this in detail with them since our first conversation, the candidate hadn’t discussed it in depth with their partner and so, when they finally got round to doing so, their partner had very different ideas about what they could afford. Note to self – ALWAYS check that the partner has been consulted and is in agreement! Having already communicated detailed salary expectations to the client, I had to go back and say that the candidate now wanted more. Despite explaining the situation, the client couldn’t help but feel that the candidate was ‘land-grabbing’ now that they were in a favoured position. Let’s be clear - this is not clever negotiation but rather smacks of greed, not the best way to start a relationship with a potential employer. So how can you make sure that you don’t find yourself in this position?
  • When you enter into a process for a job you are serious about, ensure that you have visibility of what the salary, package and location are likely to be.
  • Ensure that you have a detailed breakdown of your current salary and package – only then can you compare like for like. Click here for guidance
  • As the process develops, keep track of any changes which may affect your decision. For instance, if the location changes, check that this is still feasible and if not, communicate this ASAP.
  • Crucially, if you have a partner and dependents, talk to them. Discuss implications of any offer on salary and benefits. Can you afford to make the move and what is the minimum salary you would accept? If taking the role would require a house move, check that the whole family are in agreement. I once had a senior candidate who nearly rejected a role which required relocation because his wife didn’t want to change gyms…
  • Keep your partner updated throughout the process. Offer Management isn’t just about managing yourself but managing those around you too.
If you do have a genuine change in circumstances which cause your expectations to increase, communicate this as early as possible in the process and explain the reason why. If it is a genuine reason, for instance because you have had a pay increase or your costs have increased significantly, being open and demonstrating flexibility will hopefully lead to a more beneficial and positive negotiation.
 

Are people now looking to return from In-house to agency recruitment?

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In our constant attempt to understand the idiosyncrasies of Google SEO, we are able to look at what people are searching for when they stumble upon our blog. This is really useful as it gives us an idea of what content we can potentially write which may answer their questions. In recent weeks, we have noticed that there have been numerous searches concerning making the move from in-house to agency recruitment…an interesting indicator which made me wonder what is causing people to raise this as a dilemma?

Shane wrote a while ago about this in a blog titled The Recruitment Hokey-cokey in which he described his own situation when he decided to go back to an agency.

I also wrote about how agency experience benefits the in-house recruiter in Leaving the dark side but this was very much focused on people taking the well-trodden path from agency to in-house and not the other way round.

So what is driving this potential shift in direction?

Well, the recruitment market is certainly changing (at least it is in the Retail & Hospitality markets).

  • More positive economic forecasts and some decent results from retailers over Christmas is manifesting itself in increased job flow and a greater commitment from clients to recruit.
  • There are increasing numbers of strong candidates coming onto the market which is resulting in multiple job offers and companies are missing out if their processes aren’t up to scratch.
  • There has been a noticeable change in LinkedIn’s functionality as a recruitment tool – something we have certainly noticed. They are changing the search functionality regularly and the general ‘word on the street’ is that they will move towards a paid model in the near future. Unless companies have a large recruitment team, it is unlikely they will invest in LinkedIn recruiter licences which would leave  an individual recruiter without the ready source of candidates which LinkedIn has provided in recent years.
  • We have also noticed that more and more candidates are ‘turning off’ to LinkedIn and removing their profiles. This could be because it is widely perceived as a job board and therefore if they are overly active on this medium it could indicate to their boss that they are looking to leave. (Indeed, we know of a couple of instances where companies are implementing stricter policies concerning their employees’ use of LinkedIn…). It could also be because it has now become so widely used by agencies and in-house teams alike and that people are tuning out the white noise of email introductions and headhunt approaches. Either way, this will mean that all recruiters have to be much more inventive about how they source, and most importantly, engage prospective candidates…

There is no question that this change will put added pressure on in-house teams who are already stretched in terms of time and resource.

There is much talk about the end of recruitment agencies and there is no question, the larger organisations are investing in their in-house functions by employing senior recruiters from the search firms, enabling them to proactively target candidates without incurring agency fees. However, we are along way away from this being the norm and I think there will be a place for agencies for a long time to come…but then I would say that wouldn’t I ?!

Seriously though, for those people working in-house without the luxury of a well-resourced team, it will become increasingly difficult to source candidates (particularly the good ones) and therefore to fill vacancies directly.

There is a hackneyed view that in-house recruiters are all ‘failed’ agency recruiters and I strongly disagree with this. I love the assumption that being successful at an agency (normally measured by revenue billed alone) is somehow the measure that all must strive to live up to!?  In my view it is a completely different role and requires a very different set of strengths (albeit requiring the same knowledge of the recruitment process). I have argued before that you can take the highest agency biller and put them in-house but they are likely to struggle with the demands of servicing multiple internal stakeholders where they are not able to simply work closest to the fee. The problem now is that the expectation is that in-house recruiters will not only navigate the internal politics of their company in order to facilitate a better recruitment process but they will also be genius direct recruiters! I just think it’s really hard to do both well and will only get harder as the market changes.

The people that will excel in-house as the market changes are likely to be skilled at managing both their internal capabilities, (sourcing directly when it is easiest to do so) and getting more out of a select group of agencies – driving value for money rather than purely lowering cost of hire. These people will need to be so much more than even the most successful agency recruiters and this may well mean that there is an exodus as people realise that in-house is not the ‘easy’ option and does in fact require a more sophisticated skillset (when done properly….). Companies may well start to streamline their recruitment functions again leaving some people in these roles at risk.

Earning potential could well be a factor too. During the recession, it was tough to hit bonus on the agency side and many people will have moved in-house for job security and a decent overall package (higher basic salary and corporate benefits). However as the market shifts, people may start to calculate that they could earn more by returning to an agency role.

If people are open to a move back into the agency environment, this could benefit everyone, as having more agency consultants who have in-house experience and can genuinely empathise with their clients will raise service levels and hopefully break down some of the barriers that exist…the ‘them and us’ mentality.

However, agencies will need to offer these people something different than the environments which probably caused them to cross over in the first place. There are lots of agencies out there who are trying to offer their clients more than a CV shop and they will undoubtedly value people who can demonstrate that they can not only source candidates but can manage client relationships in a more sophisticated way.

As ever not all in-house and agency roles are the same and it all depends on the company, how they operate and what value they place on their recruiters. Being open-minded about making a potential return to an agency is the best approach if the opportunities in-house start to change. Both sides of the fence have value and offer rewarding careers.

 

Is your Recruiter a member of your team?

This blog has been coming for a while now but a few conversations recently have given me the motivation to finally get it on to paper. I spoke to a candidate earlier in the week who is actively looking for a new role. I have spoken to this chap sporadically for a number of years. James (not his real name) has had a solid career to date and is a sensible fit for a couple of my clients. However, while there are probably other candidates out there that are a better fit on paper, I am going to back him over and above anyone else for this role.

Why? Because I am a member of his team.

How do I know this?

It is quite simple really. James once described himself to me as being a Manager that liked to get to know his people. He did this by asking open questions, keeping mental (and paper) notes and following these conversations up over long periods of time. His team(s) were engaged and they would go the extra mile for him.

James asks me questions too. We hadn’t spoken since the summer but he remembered my house move last May. Had I settled in? How did I find the new area, what was it like compared to London, how is my commute? He remembered that I have 2 year old twins demonstrating genuine empathy; how are the twins, are they sleeping, are YOU sleeping Jez? He commented that recruiters work long hours and that it must be tough to find a balance.

This conversation was very telling for me. Not only did my engagement levels with James go up another notch - what a great guy who I will really enjoy supporting in his job search - but also and perhaps more critically from a professional point of view, James WALKS THE WALK. James naturally builds rapport, has high levels of emotional intelligence and seeks to work collaboratively. This is exactly what several of my clients are looking for, so as a result, I will be backing James as I have seen first hand his ability to communicate and motivate.

Candidates often tell recruiters they are ‘people focused’ but often move on to behave arrogantly, or treat the consultant with disdain (it is true that some deserve this though). Your behaviour when working with a recruiter is generally a reflection on what you are like as a Manager/Leader.

The flip-side of this is how clients treat their agencies and manage recruitment processes. In the past I have worked with Companies that eulogise about what a wonderful place they are to work in but then proceed to treat recruiters with pure contempt. This also affects how I view that business and how I relate this perception to my candidates. Again, I know we recruiters have a bad reputation and many of you reading this will have multiple examples of poor recruiters but there are bad eggs in every walk of life.

If you want to get the best out of your recruiter then perhaps it is time to treat them as a MEMBER of YOUR TEAM.

Download the free Social Recruitment in Retail Report here
 

A Retailers guide to looking for a job in 2014

By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment Looking for a job in Retail has continued to grow ever more complex throughout 2013 and promises to continue to do so in 2014. As a recruiter I sometimes forget what it must be like to be a candidate coming on to the market for the first time in 5 years. In 2008, the last peak in the market, it was pretty straightforward - you wrote a CV, uploaded it to a job board and waited for the calls to roll in. At the senior end of the market, you met a few head-hunters and kept an eye on the broadsheets. Fast forward 5 years and the recession, coupled with technology, have completely changed the landscape. According to the BBC, at the entry end of the Retail Jobs market you are more likely to be assessed by a machine than a person!  www.bbc.co.uk/news/business Unfortunately, once you have beaten the machine you will then need to perform a David Brent style dance: currys-graduate-job-applicant-humiliated ! For C-suite and Board Directors not a huge amount has changed. There are of course fewer jobs and perhaps still a few too many candidates but all in all it isn’t that much more complicated. You’ll need a good Social profile, but in terms of how you look for a job you just need to dust off the little black book and make some calls. Having said that, the one key change will be looking for a job in the press. You won’t find much in the Sunday Times - the Appointments supplement is, well, not much of a supplement these days. For those in the middle, managers up to Board level, it just gets more and more complicated. So we have compiled a short review of the various methods you can employ that will hopefully save you some much needed time for interviews and research!

 The Three routes to market

Social LinkedIn has changed the jobs market in the same way Monster, Reed et al did in the early noughties. It has become a giant candidate database for agency and in-house recruiters while at the same time masquerading as a Social hub…oh and there are some interesting stories on LinkedIn Today…no wait, I mean Pulse. In 2014, if you are a candidate, passive or active, you absolutely must have a profile on LinkedIn. Ideally it will be accurate too! There are a few things to remember:
  • If you are actively looking for a job and you don’t mind your contacts knowing this then you should unlock your LinkedIn privacy settings.  This acts as a ‘mating call’ to recruiters, think of yourself as a peacock! Just to be clear, you don’t have to accept the advances of every suitor! TWEET THIS
  • Your LinkedIn profile should match your CV. Using inaccurate job titles or forgetting a recent job move or two will sow seeds of doubt in Recruiters. Honesty is the best policy. Also, please do not spell MANAGER as Manger – it doesn’t do you any favours!
  • Keyword optimisation, or SEO, was once the preserve of tech-savvy geeks. Adding a sprinkle of keywords is now de rigueur for your Social profiles and will ensure you can be ‘found’ a lot more easily. This is particularly recommended if you are on LinkedIn to catch up with contacts, ahem, and well you might get the odd headhunt approach too…
  • I advised last year (click here for the 2013 suggestions) that getting active on LinkedIn via LinkedIn Today and the Groups would improve your chances of being ‘noticed.’ As the recruitment world starts to get busy again, and do some real work, in 2014 I think this will yield fewer results. I am not saying stop participating altogether, just don’t expect a strong ROI on your time.
  • WARNING: If you have a Line manager or a recruitment team on LinkedIn there is a strong chance that they will also notice your activity on LinkedIn. I have spoken to a lot of candidates in the past few weeks that have been specifically told to remove the LI app from their company phone/laptop or have received ‘special’ attention as a result of their online activity. Likewise, several HR clients have indicated that it is something they watch with interest. The level of awareness on LinkedIn has changed dramatically in 2013 so it is worth thinking about what you are happy for people to see.
Twitter continues to grow its user-base and as a Retail & Hospitality recruiter it offers the next most interesting opportunity to engage and identify candidates. Twitter tends to sustain longer ‘conversations’ than LI and it is easier to develop stronger relationships as a result. Also, if you are an ‘active’ candidate you can get away with a bit of banter with recruiters and employers without coming across as overtly looking for a job. Perhaps more interestingly you can research prospective employers far more effectively as people tend to give a bit more away.
  • Don’t forget those all important keywords. Company name and Job title should just about do it!
  • Follow the companies and leaders of the companies that you are interested in. It is also worth following a few industry experts and key figures too. You’ll find that there is often better content on Twitter than LinkedIn which might help with research for interviews.
  • If you are keen to follow up on a job application, you’ll find that asking a question on Twitter is a good way of getting a prompt response. Bear in mind this is all in the public domain though!
  • Overall though, it is worth bearing in mind that most Retailers have not got a dedicated twitter careers feed – in fact only 21% of over 200 Retailers surveyed: Social Recruitment in Retail: 2013 Report
Facebook / Google+ / Pinterest / Friends Reunited (only kidding, whatever happened to them?) – each of these sites have their merits but in recruitment terms they are really not worth your time. In the same report: Social Recruitment in Retail: 2013 Report we found that just 24 retailers had a dedicated Facebook careers page. Of the 24, less than a dozen were what one might describe as active. Facebook does have aspirations to become a tool for recruitment and with data that is available it may well become important in the future. A couple of points below to bear in mind.
  • Be wary of posting anything too controversial on any of the above sites. Facebook does tend to elicit more candid posts than the other sites. Employers have begun using this site for research into prospective candidates so it is worth keeping this in mind when you get home from the pub in the middle of the night.
  • Pinterest is particularly popular in the design world so if you work in fashion or perhaps buying it would be worth looking at setting up a profile. For everyone else – it should be for personal use only!
My final point is that despite the hype, Social recruitment is a long way off being the most effective way of securing a position. Indeed a recent report from recruitment firm Kelly Services found that just “11% of UK workers had got a job through social media – a much lower figure than elsewhere in the world. - See more at: http://www.recruiter.co.uk/news/2013!” Adverts & Applications Actually looking for a job in 2014 will be more complex than ever before. The job boards and specialist press have taken a hammering over the recession and while not a huge amount has changed there is perhaps a more even spread of positions than before the recession. With no one dominant player you will need to cover a lot of ground. A few points to consider:  
  • I wouldn’t bother too much with the printed press. Any industry magazine of note will now have a matching job board. As for the Newspapers, well, you have better things to do with your time!
  • There are a LOT of job boards to choose from now so in no particular order it is worth checking the following….take a deep breath: Inretail, Monster, Total Jobs, Retail Choice, Retail Week, The Grocer, Drapers, Reed, The Ladders, Indeed, Jobsite, Exec Appointments, Executives on the web, guardian jobs, Grapevine, The Appointment, Property Jobs, Property week 4 jobs, MAD, Marketing Week, Personnel Today…oh and LinkedIn has jobs too (IT IS NOT A JOB BOARD….honest).
  • Set up alerts for each of the boards relevant to you and ensure the alerts go to an email account that you check daily. 2014 will be a busy year and if you don’t get your application in early the chances are you will not be considered.
  • Wherever possible personalise your applications. A simple ‘Hi, how are you?’ does wonders.
  • I would also advise against loading your CV on to the boards if you are at Middle management level or above.
Agencies Everyone loves dealing with agencies so this will be the most enjoyable part of your search! Ahem. Like us or loathe us we have survived the recession and have come out leaner and unfortunately in some cases meaner ;) than before. In Retail and Hospitality the agency count has increased significantly with lots of specialists (AdMore included) springing up like mushrooms. In fact it seems that just as one large player departs the market several new ones grow up overnight! The job boards were supposed to kill agencies, and then LinkedIn was too - well we are still alive and recruiting. We have written about how to manage your agency relationships previously (Click here) so I won’t go over old ground but there are a couple of key points to consider:  
  • Start the relationship building now. Good recruiters will spot the candidates who make an effort in advance and are much more likely to go in to bat for them if they feel valued. Recruiters are often accused of being transactional, but it cuts both ways!
  • If you are passive in your search then 2 or 3 good relationships will suffice. If you are active or ,worst case scenario, out of work you will need to get in touch with a fair few agencies. There are no dominant players in the market currently so you need to ensure you have a decent spread. Either way, start with AdMore (click here to learn a bit more about us)!
I hope this helps and as always please get in touch if you have any questions.  

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