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The past four weeks have been a very productive period for my own professional development. I have attended the ATC Sourcevent  , the RCSA Conference   and Greg Savage’s Cunningham Family Fund fundraiser presentation, Old Skool   v New Kool  .   

I love hearing from a range of people about the sector I am passionate about. Each of these events has been very valuable in confirming some of my own opinions and enhancing my thinking about the future of recruitment.   

It’s certainly further clarified my views about the differences between recruiters and recruitment businesses that will thrive in the current decade and those that are unlikely to survive.   

If you’re a recruitment consultant  , you are slowly failing if …   

1.      Your first action to source candidates is to post an online job ad  

2.      The sum of your research into a client or prospect is spending 5 minutes on their website  

3.      You keep meaning to ‘get into social media’ (professionally) but you haven’t done anything about it yet  

4.      You have less than 200 1st level connections on LinkedIn  

5.      You email short lists to clients and you don’t hear back for days … weeks … or ever  

6.      You think receiving a job description by email is a reasonable substitute for taking an assignment brief face-to-face with the client  

7.      Your first response to needing more candidates for a job is to ‘refresh the ad’  

8.      Your frequent response to something not going as planned is to say ‘I assumed …’  

9.      When you hear ‘you can be a back up’ (to a PSA panel or to a preferred agency) you believe it  

10. You are asking candidates ‘what are your greatest strengths?’  

11. You view taking references on a candidate as an administrative task   

If you’re a recruitment agency owner or manager  , you are slowly going out of business if …   

12. You know 20% of your consultants’ time is wasted on low pay-off clients and candidates but you haven’t worked out what to do about it yet  

13. Your dollar spend on job boards is going up, not down  

14. You only schedule training for rookies or under-performers  

15. You don’t keep statistics on the source of your highest quality candidates, and placements. Or if you do, you don’t review them regularly  

16. You give your perennial under-achieving consultant ‘one more quarter’ to make it … for the third time  

17. You think all clients and prospects have the same low regard for Hays as you do  

18. You still believe that ‘number of candidates interviewed’ is a meaningful KPI  

19. You think advertising ‘no KPIs’ in your ad for a recruitment consultant is a positive thing  

20. You insist on hiring ‘experienced recruiters’  

21. You spend more time on filling jobs than anything else  

22. Your concern for the future of your business is directly correlated with how this month’s billings are tracking   

Wake up!   

The twenty first century is now more than a decade old yet many recruiters are operating with business models and recruitment techniques almost unchanged from 25 years ago.   


  1. Voice of Reason on 13/09/2011 at 3:23 am

    Oh Ross, your back-handed compliment to your former employer was just too funny!

    It's ironic isn't it that Hays and its ilk is such a great hunting ground for consultants at the 2 – 3 year experience level, yet supposedly everything they did up to that point was inferior?

    Alas the reality is that a lot of our clients must be sending business the way of the big blue techno-H, else it wouldn't be making such a very large profit despite all the big blunders like the recent RBS scandal.

    But then, I did eat KFC recently on the way home from a camping trip, not because I was yearning for some deep-fried crumbed lard, but because it was there. And it was there again. And again… all along the way home until eventually I gave up hope of happening upon a roadside sushi bar on the Western Highway, which didn't specialise in salmonella sashimi.

    Thanks again for the Tuesday chuckles.

  2. Mark Smith on 13/09/2011 at 11:06 pm

    Really enjoyed this article. Some of it a little too close to home, nevertheless I have sent it to everyone at p2p with the subject 'Wake Up'.

    Mark Smith

  3. Brad Stewart on 14/09/2011 at 1:01 am

    Kia Ora Ross… yes, bit of a eye opener indeed and guilty of a few of your points – some good areas to be mindful of. In addition I am recruiting my first consultant right now so well timed re a few reminders. This article lead me to start diving in to the archives on your site researching competency based interviewing questions. I have read articles going back as far as 2008 on this topic… what about after the interview, effective reporting methods? Fortunately many of my clients meet my candidates on my recommendation, which is based on hard won trust. I still offer reports on candidates to all clients, new or old – but would like to know if you have an article or thoughts around effective reporting? Cheers, Brad.

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