Two weeks ago I flew to Sydney to listen to industry legend, Andrew Banks, in conversation with MC Andrew Klein at the Think Tank session organised by the RCSA and held at the Swissotel.
Andrew Klein managed the, often difficult, balance between probing further on any specific topic and keeping proceedings moving along to fit in with the advertised finishing time.
You could have heard a pin drop as Andrew Banks recounted tales from his days starting out in Sydney as a ‘ten pound pom’, working for Geoff Slade, meeting Geoff Morgan, starting Morgan & Banks, selling Morgan & Banks 1 (to Select), selling Morgan & Banks 2 (to TMP), selling Morgan & Banks 3 (Talent 2, to Allegis) and onto his life now as a reality TV star and movie producer living in LA (where else?).
One of the issues he addressed was KPIs and their role in recruitment (do they have one?).
Andrew was emphatic that they were very important; ‘they tell you where to look’.
What he meant by this was relevant statistics (mostly known in recruitment as KPIs) reveal the areas in a consultant’s (or team’s, or company’s) activities and processes that are working or not working.
There is little point putting in place remedial action for a consultant (or, more broadly, a team or a company) unless you know where performance is falling down. In my experience the unfortunate default reaction to any consultant underachieving is either ‘do more’ or ‘we’ll get you more training’.
Both of those actions are, broadly, likely to be the right ones to undertake however the question then become a variation of ‘do more of what, exactly?’ and ‘training in what, exactly?’
As an example, a consultant is failing to reach financial targets and after a careful review of their KPIs, it is apparent that there is a large differential between candidates referred to clients and candidate/client interviews taking place. This would indicate that ‘where to look’ (as the manager) is one or more of the following areas (there are others):
- How real or qualified the job is
- the consultant’s assessment of candidates
- the consultant’s candidate documentation sent to clients
- the consultant’s verbal presentation of candidates to clients (and handling of objections)
- the consultant’s skill in converting a candidate presentation into an interview time in the single conversation
In this example there is little point in the relevant manager urging the underperforming consultant to ‘make more call to get more jobs’ as the core problem is not generating jobs, but in having client/candidate interviews occur for the jobs that are already active.
Keeping stats (or KPIs) is only the start. They have to be …
- the right stats
- reviewed regularly
- compared to company (and industry) benchmarks
- acted upon promptly
Most recruitment agencies keep stats and review them regularly. The areas of weakness are typically (i) and (iii).
Andrew Banks (together with Geoff Morgan) have, to date, made more money from recruitment than anyone else in Australia. Any recruiter, manager or owner would do well to listen when he talks about what can help improve both individual and company performance.