Perceptions of the Recruitment Industry

By Michael Allen of Brightred Resourcing Limited June 2015

Michael AllenIn September 2011, the Resource Solutions Group joined forces with APSCo to release a survey to their client and contractor base at the time. The purpose of the exercise was to discover and document perceptions of the recruitment industry. You can see their findings here.

It is hardly surprising our industry has had a serious image problem if both clients and candidates report agencies’ failure to deliver on over-inflated promises and an undervaluing of the skill-set of the individual. Politicians, too have waded into the issue, notably the then Labour leader Ed Miliband who in November 2014 promised a clampdown on ‘rogue’ recruitment agencies who operate “in the shadows of our economy and on the margins of law”. This was met with a strong rebuttal from Kevin Green of REC who accused him of “random business-bashing” and failing to see the important role recruitment agencies have in aiding the economic recovery.

The editor of Recruiter DeeDee Doke chaired last year’s Recruiter roundtable that involved the great and the good of the recruitment industry including Simon Dear chief executive of Tangent International. Whilst he admitted there was much bad practice within the industry, he added that recruitment was hardly unique in this regard. At the same meeting, Debbie Smith, CEO and founder of Caritas Recruitment held the media responsible for misrepresenting issues such as zero hours contracts and the importance of the flexibility this offered to many workers. The image of an industry, which attracts a certain type of candidate due to the flexibility in this type of arrangement, is, according to Simon Dear, stewarded by “a fair amount of legislation that keeps recruitment agencies on the straight and narrow”

It seems to me that there will always be debate concerning the perception of our industry. Over the last twenty years there has been so much change; clients have become more canny when it comes to what they want and how to get it, recruitment companies have sprung up all over the place meaning that quality is harder to find, and with the advancement in technology, the market is flooded with the CVs of hopeful candidates fresh out of school or college.  The REC’s Good Recruitment Campaign actively promotes the benefits of using agencies to address the resourcing challenge to achieve business success at a time when demand frequently outstrips supply.

At Brightred, I have always fought for quality over quantity. I’m not a fan of the ‘easy win’ where hoards of candidates are thrown into a pool in the hope that a client fishes one out. I am passionate about respecting not only the requirements of the client, but also the requirements of the candidate. I invest a lot of my time encouraging the team at Brightred to adopt a set of values which include treating everyone with honesty and respect, whatever their experience. I realise not every company follows this remit, and I know there are times it is more costly in time and financial resource than if all we did was process people electronically rather than face to face. However, as you can see from Brightred’s positive testimonials it’s clear that it is a very valued approach. Nurturing of business partnerships is key to maintaining mutual respect in this industry because in the end it is people, not projects that drive us.

If we are to raise the external perception of our industry, there needs to be a commitment by all recruitment businesses to adhere to the new regulations and reporting requirements. Not only that, but recruiters need to take time to listen to and build bridges with prospective clients and candidates. It’s not difficult! Never underestimate the importance of listening and give time to prioritising communication. It is time well spent when clients return time and time again to report that we found them the perfect fit for a role. Likewise, it instils hope in the candidate, that their role is not simply a temporary ‘fill-in’ but could lead to a long-term future with the client’s organization.

If you are interested in finding out more about how it works at Brightred Resourcing get in touch.

Michael Allen
Managing Director
mallen@brightred.com