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Recruitment – An Academic Exercise?

Conversely the majority of recruitment companies, especially the huge CV factories, are staffed by people with absolutely no exposure to the wider commercial world; recruitment is all they have ever been exposed to.

Herein lies the problem. To them recruitment is a numbers game; customer service, customer retention, building relationships and simply treating people with respect is often absent. If you’re a major client you will be persuaded and not listened to; if you’re a candidate you are simply a commodity and will be treated as such, it’s endemic to their structure. Please let me explain.

CV factories are invariably staffed by graduates whose first role is to relentlessly cold-call companies; to them recruitment is a numbers game and they need big numbers.

Following a carefully considered script they will try and break through the ‘gatekeepers’ to speak to some decision maker and explain how, due to their massive size and ‘obvious success’ they are the only plausible choice for your recruitment needs. The prospect will usually then be passed to a more senior person who will ‘do the deal’.

This telephone sales effort is usually backed by a massive SEO and marketing budget that ensures that they generate enough leads to cover their massive overheads and so the machine grinds on.

If the newly minted recruiter doesn’t give up, can hit his targets and brings in his quota he will be moved to calling candidates. Here again numbers matter; he will contact as many ‘relevant’ people as possible as quickly as possible, trying to scoop them up as ‘their’ candidates thus blocking their competitors.

Despite never having worked in man management, having never done anything like the job he is recruiting for and having never even sold a product or service or manged an account the factory recruiter is charged with ‘interviewing’ candidates on your behalf; he is also of course representing your company and selling both the role and your company to that interviewee.

This is actually quite a frightening prospect, both because he is playing with peoples careers by making decisions that he has no experience or qualification to judge and because he will have a very limited knowledge of your company and no real idea of what the role he is offering actually involves.

These issues are circumvented by simply putting square pegs in square holes. To a factory recruiter the only people that can undertake the role you need filling are those that are already doing exactly the same thing for a competitor. A candidate may have the right contacts, transferable skills but not be from a direct competitor; a factory recruiter will pass him by.

This is because a factory recruiter cannot have an intelligent conversation with a candidate and so they cannot understand their abilities. To them it is about numbers, if they ‘own’ enough candidates you’ll take one of them.

If successful in this candidate sourcing role and hitting their numbers the factory recruiter will move up again, into a client facing role where he will sell the importance of recruiting people with ‘contacts’, who have a relevant industry background.
Whilst contacts etc are valid and helpful attributes, often vital if you are replacing an unexpected resignation, in many cases they are not the only things to be considered in finding the right person.

The successful factory recruiter won’t consider such wider issues. He has placed candidates using a tried trusted formula and he knows it all comes down to numbers. His next move is to management where he will oversee the roles he has performed, perpetuating the system.

When he speaks to you to do the deal he’ll guide your brief or write it for you in order to suit his methodologies. He’ll justify he’s fees with their numbers, presence and very apparent overheads; not on the quality of their candidates or processes.
And this is why many recruiters are like academics. In academia an individual goes to school; then goes to sixth form; then goes to university; then works in a school or other academic institution.

We’ve all met them. They have no clue about the commercial world that pays their wages. They operate in a strange, isolated environment with a unique perspective which is out of kilter with the wider business world.

The factory recruiter is in exactly the same situation; they work in an isolated environment with little understanding of the world that pays their wages and which they unfortunately influence by their actions.

The future success of any company is in finding and hiring the right people.

Would you trust a CV factory with the future of your company?

If you want to experience intelligent recruitment from people that have actually succeeded in commercial sales roles and therefore speak your language, please contact us.

©Michael Thomason

 

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