A few years ago, I thought I would dip my toe into the interim market. I was astonished to be asked, without anyone meeting me, for vast amounts of personal information along with my actual passport, not a copy, as a first step, before I could even talk to anyone about the types of roles they may have that I may suit. It felt as a candidate entirely one sided, only one recruiter was happy to meet me – very happy to give a shout out to Matt Brooks at Better Placed HR, get to know me, scrutinise my CV and work with me. Was lucky if I got a robot email from others. Occasionally got a call saying “this is just you”, and then a dead trail of unanswered emails and calls. It was a disheartening experience.
I don’t hear many happy stories about recruitment in fact I hear sad and unhappy stories from the many people I coach and talk to.
Here’s a list of some of the things I hear about recruitment:
- I hear that recruiters are swamped with applicants and they don’t have time to acknowledge. They’re busy.
- I read that it’s accepted (by recruiters) that experience in the charity industry is considered reason enough to deter you getting on a short list for other sectors.
- I hear that recruiters don’t return calls after initial interest.
- I hear that candidates go for interview and don’t get feedback. The recruiters are too busy.
- I hear that recruiters are busy.
- I hear recruiters talk about their pet hates. “it really gets me when “they” put their hobbies on their CV. I DON’T WANT TO KNOW YOUR HOBBY SO GO AWAY”
- I hear recruiters saying that they only have 30, 20, or 5 seconds to look at a CV.
- I read on on-line forums that candidates, many of them, are considered quite stupid.
- I have been told that some agencies do advertise bogus jobs to build their CV data base.
- I read that recruiters attribute poor standards to poor briefs from their clients.
What are your standards?
To what scrutiny do you subject your own providers of recruitment I wonder for people, talent, human capital, human resource, your most important asset? Is it 20 seconds? Is it more than that? Do you care about the candidate?
When you are working with a recruiter, some questions:?
- How do you know that they operate to ethical standards?
- What is the candidate experience that they offer?
- How do they conduct themselves with you?
- Do you moan about them?
- What could you gain if you take more in – house?
- What can you do to ensure your candidates are not victim to petty prejudices, unconscious bias, and your conscious bias?
- What training do their consultants have, what CPD do they undertake?
- Do they have a diverse staff – or do they have the same, age, ethnicity, industry, academic background? If they do, they may be unconsciously looking for people who look just like them.
- What data can they provide you about the diversity of their candidate pool, and how diverse are the candidates they are providing to you?
- Do you give this the same attention and standards that you would want for yourself
In house, outsourcer. You may think it’s enough as it is. “That’s just how it is”.
I don’t think that is good enough.
I am not writing this from a perspective of immunity from subjectivity, none of us are. I’m not immune to irritation from a candidate that doesn’t seem to have read the brief or. I still work from time to time with clients on key recruitment assignments when it’s relevant to work I am doing with the organisation. I’m working on myself and exploring diversity and group identity.
This is updated from the original post in February 2016, prompted by a thought from Paul Duxbury. I’ve been trying to find some data about UK recruitment; I’m interested in the age and ethnicity profiles of people placed in permanent roles via external recruitment.
If anyone reading could point me towards this data, thank you.