Hiring Mangers

In these hard times, during this pandemic, I discovered that getting or even finding a great new job is a big challenge, did you ever wonder why this is…

“I think that the hardest problem recruiters face is dealing with clients who don’t understand that search is a collaborative process… Especially in very technical fields, some hiring managers tend to have the opinion that it isn’t worth their time to share information or feedback with recruiters (‘because they won’t understand’). This is a major problem, because without that feedback, results will necessarily be nil.”

The problem,

Allow me to offer a somewhat different opinion. I think that the hardest problem recruiters face is dealing with clients who don’t understand that search is a collaborative process. There are many searches where it is simply extraordinarily difficult to find the right qualified people (who also want to make a career move at the time). Any client I am working with (not the candidate) needs to understand this and be able to give me constructive feedback on why or why not a particular resume I submit will be a good candidate.

Especially in very technical fields, some hiring managers tend to have the opinion that it isn’t worth their time to share information or feedback with recruiters (“because they won’t understand”). This is a major problem, because without that feedback results will necessarily be nil. I have an engineering degree, and vast experience recruiting top-level technical people. I know for an absolute fact that if a hiring manager gives me an accurate job description, and correct information, I can (and will) go and find that person. Nothing is more frustrating than a ‘dead-beat’ client who will not respond to repeated queries about candidates submitted (i.e. why or why not they are rejected, etc.). It’s possible that the client needs to be cautious about revealing proprietary data, but telling me to “go find me somebody” without telling me what to find is obviously futile.

I’m partly right that any determined recruiter can put together a list of pretty much the entire pool of candidates, given time and tools to do so. However, that doesn’t mean that clients will be interested in those candidates if they do not understand the reality that there are no others at the time of the search… Continuing to search for something that simply isn’t there is always a losing strategy.

Given the right description, proper cooperation from the hiring manager, diligent research, and a genuine opportunity (a good position to recruit for), they can fill pretty much any position. I’m totally correct about cutting through the ‘noise’ (‘noise vs. signal’), but the noise can also be on the side of the client one is interfacing with. Educating the client, and enabling them to understand that recruiting is a form of management consulting (which requires them to listen to my input) is sometimes the greatest challenge.

My suspicion is that I’m (working for Consulting agency) is primarily recruiting Technical engineers and project managers, who can be extraordinarily apathetic about job opportunities and especially critical of recruiters. My focus is more on hardware, chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, etc., where the density of recruiters is much, much lower. Software is a huge field which attracts lots of attention and recruiters, but it is not really the same ‘ball-game’ as recruiting in other areas where (1) salaries can be much higher and (2) skilled recruiters are less common.

In those particular spaces, I would say that the greatest obstacle to success is the client who refuses to communicate about the search, NOT reaching the candidates, who are often easily attracted.

What are the disadvantages of using a recruitment agency?

·       Agencies act on behalf of the employer, not the jobseeker. It is in their interest to fill each post with a willing applicant, so in most respects the interests of both sides should be met. But if any point of conflict between the employer and the prospective recruit should arise, agencies will tend to side with the employer because that’s who is paying their fee.

·       It’s also worth remembering that recruitment agencies are not careers advice centers, and are usually not qualified to help you with career decisions. Their role is to find people to fill positions for their clients, so don’t be tempted into thinking that an agency’s main concern is your career satisfaction. Some agencies will have no hesitation in trying to talk you into a job that you feel is unsuitable. If they do, don’t feel under any obligation to take it. You’ve gone to them to help you find the right job, not the wrong one, and if they get stroppy then go elsewhere. There are plenty of other agencies to choose from.

·       The same applies to your CV. Write the CV that you want to show the world, and only make changes suggested by the agency if you’re completely happy with them. It’s your CV and your career.

How can I improve my chances of finding a job through a recruitment agency?

  • When you apply to register with a recruitment agency, you will be asked to send a CV and then usually called in for an interview. Although the agency is not the prospective employer, it is their representative, so it’s important to put as much work into getting your CV right and preparing for interview as you would if you were dealing with the employer directly. The agency does a large part of the preliminary assessment for the employer, and if they don’t think you’re up to scratch they won’t put you forward, and may not even register you on their database.
  • Make sure you approach the right kind of agencies – ones that specialize in your industry or profession, and cater to your level of work. Ensure that you’re clear in your own mind about the kind of work you want to do and the minimum salary you’re prepared to accept. Some agencies will try and pressure you into taking different work or a lower salary, but if your aims are clear beforehand, they’ll get nowhere.
  • Once you’ve registered with an agency, keep them updated on developments in your skills, experience and achievements so that they can add them to your file and boost your chances. And stay on their back. It can be easy for an agency to get you on the books and then forget about you, so make sure you have a named contact in the agency and keep calling them on a weekly basis to see what’s happening. This will keep you at the forefront of their minds and maybe even get them actively looking for a position for you.
  • Above all, don’t just leave it to the agencies. While they get on with looking for your next job, you should be doing the same.

How many recruitment agencies should I register with?

There are two schools of thought on this. One approach is to register with as many good agencies as you can find. Jobs are often placed with several agencies, but many are given to one exclusively and you don’t want to risk missing the right opportunity.

The other strategy is to go for quality over quantity and select no more than three or four agencies that specialize in your area of work and locality. Being on the books of lots of agencies might increase your chances of getting a great job, but it could just as easily see you inundated with unsuitable vacancies from commission-hungry consultants that are ultimately a waste of your time.  

Why Do People Hate Recruitment Agencies?

  • There’s no denying that recruitment agencies get some pretty bad press at times, and there’s also no denying that unfortunately, some of it is entirely deserved.
  • There are still some recruiters who play a dirty game and give us all a bad name, and some of us practice hard-sales recruitment practices that don’t help our public image either.  
  • Anyone working this market will know how crazy it is at the moment, so we really can’t afford to keep up this negative image. We need our candidates and clients to trust us and enjoy working with us if we want to future proof our industry.
  • So, here are a few reasons people think recruitment agencies suck and what we as an industry can do to shake this bad reputation off once and for all.

“Recruitment agencies just hurl CVs at you until one happens to be good”

Why people think this:

  • A lot of people think recruiters just spam clients with irrelevant CVs because unfortunately, this is what a lot of recruiters do!
  • Most of the time, clients can easily find these candidates themselves, so it’s understandable they think recruiters don’t provide any value for money. This type of ‘service’ doesn’t have any value at all.

What you can do about it:

  • Never be tempted to hedge your bets and send your client loads of CVs in the hope that one will stick. This will just damage your reputation as a recruiter and your agency’s reputation too.
  • Only send across profiles that actually meet your client’s needs, even if that means you only send them one CV. This way, you’ll see your CV-send-to-placement ratio increase and show your client you’ve really listened to their needs.
  • Specking CVs to prospects you’re trying to win business from is still essential in today’s candidate-driven market, but you need to do your research first and only spec in relevant candidates that will actually pique your prospect’s interest.

“They don’t know anything about the jobs they’re recruiting for”

Why people think this:

  • All too often, when consultants take on a new role, they won’t gather enough information about the job so they can’t identify the candidate the client is looking for. It’s no wonder recruiters who do this don’t make placements as they’re guaranteed to send over profiles that don’t fit the business’s needs.

What you can do about it:

  • One of the most important skills to learn in recruitment is how to take a detailed job description from your client and ask all the right questions.
  • Early on in my recruitment career, I was taught to ask clients this question:
  • “Can you take me through a day in the candidate’s job role?”
  • This will tell you what a candidate needs to do on a daily basis so you can fully understand the requirements of the job, not just the generic info given to you on a job spec.
  • Don’t be afraid to manage your client’s expectations and tell them if you think their dream candidate will be tough to find – this will show them that you actually understand the job brief.

“They say they’ll call back, but they never do!”

Why people think this:

  • Recruitment is a fast-paced industry, so it’s inevitable that recruiters will concentrate on the candidates they think will convert into placements. But adopting this tunnel vision makes it easy to forget your obligation to the candidates who don’t get placed this time round.
  • Ignoring rejected candidates isn’t just bad practice, it’s also counter-productive to making placements. You’ve already built a relationship with this candidate and they could be perfect for the next job you have on. Do you think they’ll be interested in speaking to you next time round if you don’t return their calls?

What you can do about it:

  • You might think the answer to this is obvious: Always call a candidate back when you said you would – but there’s more to it than this.
  • Managing your candidate’s expectations from the start is key to overcoming this problem – if you’re not going to call them for a while, just tell them that. They’ll appreciate your honesty and it’s important that candidates learn to value your time too.
  • If you know you’re not going to be able to place a candidate, be honest with them and point them in a direction of somebody who can.
  • The candidate you didn’t call back today could be a future candidate, so face these uncomfortable conversations now – you could benefit from them down the line.

“Recruiters take a fat commission check for doing a bit of admin work”

Why people think this:

  • Agency recruitment is one of the toughest jobs out there, so the idea that we expect a huge pay-out for doing nothing is ridiculous.
  • The problem is that the job is so fast-paced that we don’t have the time to show our clients all the work that goes into filling our roles. If our clients only ever see the results and never the effort, we put in to getting there, it’s no surprise they think we’re overcharging them for our services.  

What you can do about it:

  • If your client could fill the jobs that you’re recruiting for them, they wouldn’t be asking for your help in the first place. So, remind them that you are an expert in your niche by finding them candidates that no one else can.
  • Show them the data on how many candidates you reached out to, interviewed and vetted before you sent over your shortlist. Your CRM should make it easy for you to pull all of this data into a report, so it’s an effective way to show your client how much work you put in, without taking up loads of your precious time.  
  • Recruitment is a busy job, finding a job is even harder. so, it’s easy to cut corners and fall into bad habits that can land you with a bad reputation. But it’s not too late to switch those bad habits for good ones. 

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