Recruitment agencies: Where the bloody hell are you?

My experience of attending both the ATC Social Media in Recruitment event last Thursday and TRU Australia last Friday (both held in Melbourne), left me scratching my head as to what might be going on inside the heads of leaders in our sector.


Here are two events where a majority of the attendees are corporate recruitment managers looking for solutions to their problems. What a perfect opportunity for recruitment agency leaders to network and understand the recruitment challenges of their prospective clients.


The other huge advantage of attending these events was to hear from the US recruitment directors of Facebook, Sears and AT&T about their recruitment challenges and successes (Sears hires 150,000 employees every year!).


Not only were both days incredibly interesting and valuable in terms of recruitment trends, I estimate hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential business was accessible to any recruitment agency smart enough to find it.


I sat and chatted with the national recruitment manager of a huge and iconic multi-national discussing her business’s ongoing problem of recruiting store and department managers for their sites all over the country. What an opportunity for a recruitment agency recruiter to have such a conversation in a non-sales environment.


Yet there was barely a handful of agency recruiters in attendance on either day.


I publicised both events in Ross Recommends; the tickets prices for both events were very reasonable ($875 plus GST for Thursday, $150 plus GST for Friday) and both events were held in Melbourne’s CBD.


For those recruitment agencies smart enough to be at either event, they had this gold-plated opportunity almost entirely to themselves.


What were the rest of you doing? Cold calling? Furiously responding to a tender or PSA request? Dealing with another tyre-kicking client? Bemoaning the economy?

The recruitment world is changing very, very quickly and it seems most recruitment agencies either don’t realise this or don’t care enough to find out about the threats and opportunities that are everywhere you look.


  1. Aaron Dodd on 08/12/2011 at 5:34 am

    Hi Ross. I can only speak for myself, but I WAS planning to attend both, but didn't in the end. My excuse was only that Mindset has so much retained delivery work on, and with ony two weeks to Xmas, I simpy couldn't spare two days out of my schedule. I had warned Bill Boorman months previousy that it wasn't a good time of the year for many in the industry, but he was aleady committed to running TRUAus off the back of the ATC. Not sure if others recruiters are as busy as we are, so I'd be interested to read their excuses!

  2. Paul Jacobs on 08/12/2011 at 9:04 am

    Hey Ross – agree with your words. We may get to a place where corporate recruiters are way more advanced in their capability than agency recruiters. I've always maintained that change in the industry will come via the corporate recruiters. However, I would hate a whole lot of agency recruiters actively prospecting for work at a TRU event, rather than being there to participate, listen, learn and think about new, different, and better ways to source and attract talent. I gained lots of awesome ideas from both events which I will pass on to my clients. Aaron, shame we didn't connect in real life.

  3. Tamara Duffy on 08/12/2011 at 9:20 am

    Wow, that is surprising Ross. And yes, it does not sound as though there are too many recruitment leaders thinking outside of the box. I will be attending the ATC Event in May, and am looking forward to it even more so after reading this.

  4. Ross Clennett on 08/12/2011 at 10:35 am

    Thanks for everyone's comments.

    @pauljacobs I certainly am not advocating active business development by agency recruiters at any conference. However simply by being at any conference and engaging in authentic conversations you wil find that natural business development opportunities will arise.

    But they never will unless you are there in the first place.

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