Blog Tape

by | Apr 6, 2017 | Communication

Why retained or exclusive search is often a better model than contingency perm recruitment.

I feel there is a wind of change coming within the recruitment sector and if you’re a recruiter you need to be prepared and if you’re a company looking to recruit senior staff in the future it would help to know what your competitors already do.

Where is the wind coming from? It’s coming from new technology, social media, AI, better trained recruiters, online platforms desperate to remove the ‘middle person’, in-house recruitment teams being invested in again and much, much more. This all means that it’s even easier to find candidates than it was before and even easier to find candidates that want to be interviewed (the hard bit is the bit no one wants to do, asses, analyse and evaluate if the opportunity matches both parties for the long term). This means clients are inundated with CV’s and applications from multiple sources and, as such, the days of us recruiters are of course numbered (again).

I could use BREXIT or Trumpgate as a reason for this, however I’d like to think we’re all savvy enough to have worked out for ourselves that the current recruitment model just isn’t working for permanent senior recruitment.

Now I can’t speak for everyone, however we’ve all read enough recruiter bashing posts to realise the level of service currently being provided by 90% of recruiters and the fees they’re charging doesn’t match. Especially when I guarantee not one of these recruiters could tell you (or care) what retention levels were like after 6, 9, 12 months etc.

Recruiters are being hunted by people fed up of this approach and if you need any proof then take a look at all the ‘disruptive’ tech out there; it’s not being heralded as a help to recruiters but as a means to get rid of us. Unfortunately, a lot of companies drive this level of service to standard due to ‘negotiations’ around fees and a lack of interest in what is happening but merely how many candidates they see that eventually fills the role

Let me share an example:

I recently met with a prospective client (HR and internal recruitment) and had the most engaging, informative and entertaining 2-hour meeting regarding strategic growth plans and how senior recruitment is central to this. Poor recruitment stories were shared, attrition levels discussed and dissected along with barriers to hire and retention.

During the meeting, it also became clear that our approach to search (insert web link to journey) was not only “a breath of fresh air” and “exactly what they were looking for” (client’s words, not mine, I assure you). So much so that we moved onto the subject of 2 live senior roles that they would like me to work on.

So far, so good right?

I was then advised 4 other agencies would be given the role, everyone “HAD” to work on a 16% fee and there would be no access to other internal stakeholders to formulate a brief so we’d work from a job description only.

My response (paraphrased):

“Although I’d love to work with you client X, I don’t feel this is the best way to approach such business-critical roles and isn’t conducive to the right Fit, merely the closet match to who is currently looking at job boards.  Based on all the information you’ve previously shared about recruitment experiences I’d rather wait a few weeks/months to see what your current ‘partners’ source and if you’re not happy with the calibre I’d be more than happy to come in again to take a candidate/role brief and conduct a bespoke search”

Apart from the obvious questions around ‘are you sure you don’t want to take on the role’, the meeting ended cordially with a promise I’d get back in touch at an agreed date for an update.

I was contacted within 2 weeks by this prospective client to undertake the search.

Now here’s where it could have got messy. I proposed a higher search fee than when we first met and only agreed to take on the search on a retained basis due to the amount of quality candidates I know will have been put off based on mass mailers, quick calls, LinkedIn InMails etc. My prospective client wasn’t very happy with my suggestions.

Side note – I know this seems the perfect place for people to ‘recruiter bash’ but as well as being a nice guy, husband, father and family man I’m also running a business to put food on the table and a roof over said family’s head. I also would never take on a search if I didn’t think I would add value and complete the assignment.

This is where the title comes into play.

If you’re a recruiter happy to work on a bulk vacancy basis and call it search, an approach that wanes after 2 weeks when the role becomes ‘hard to fill’, then you and I both know that clients are becoming savvy to the fees you charge against the work you carry out and they won’t have their eyes closed for much longer.

If you’re a company looking to recruit business critical staff surely, it’s better to not play the field and pick 1 partner after carrying out due diligence so you get what you need, when you need it.

Take a look here and see if this is the sort of approach you think could help you and your business for the long term.

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