I try very hard to ignore the frequent blogs and articles that either (a) pronounce the impending demise of the recruitment industry or (b) hysterically highlight what the author sees as some fatal flaw or failure of the industry. You're almost certainly guaranteed that such a piece is written by, or contains quotes from, the owner or employee of a recruitment industry vendor hoping to position their product or service, either explicitly or implicitly, as some form of superior alternative to using a recruitment agency.
Frequently I fail to restrain myself and can't resist firing back at these publishers, authors or owners (Tyro Payments, News.com.au, Gen George and The Canberra Times are all examples from the past four years).
Yet again I find myself torn between ignoring another piece of garbage with the now familiar theme; or teeing off.
Teeing off won so if you're bored with my rants on this topic I advise you to stop reading now and go back to whatever you were doing.
The piece in question was published last week on small business website Anthill Australia ('Anthill was developed to bridge this gap, appealing to highly innovative and ambitious ‘fast' growth businesses - SMEs with rapid growth potential and larger companies that realise the value of reinvention to stay ahead').
Titled You shouldn't waste precious money on recruitment agents, their time is already up the article was written by New Zealander Sharon Davies, Founding Director of Talent Propeller ('a specialist recruitment advertising agency which provided design, copywriting and booking services to companies').
In reality Talent Propeller is more than a recruitment advertising agency. Their website reveals a variety of other services available; services that would fall into the category of unbundled recruitment services (eg shortlisting, skills testing) available on a pay-as-you-use basis.
Consistent with the history of these sorts of articles Ms Davies is a recruitment industry vendor attempting to undermine her largest competitor; the recruitment agency sector.
Unfortunately for Ms Davies, she finishes up embarrassing herself to such a large degree as to substantially undermine her own credibility.
Let me give you some examples from her ‘prescient' article:
'Every recruiter I've engaged with has acted arrogantly. To be treated with deference at a time when you're trying to get a good job can be humiliating.'
Did Ms Davies skip Year 9 English? Does she not know the meaning of deference? (Noun: respectful or courteous regard)
'After such a gruelling experience (going for an interview and apparently not receiving feedback or coaching), candidates have a tendency to be wary of recruiters'
So going for an interview and, apparently, not receiving feedback or coaching is a 'gruelling' experience? What planet does Ms Davies inhabit?
Trekking to the South Pole is gruelling. Performing brain surgery for 8 hours is gruelling. Working down a coal mine in past centuries was gruelling. Going to a job interview and waiting for the phone to ring is not gruelling, it's just normal life.
'A survey we conducted among job seekers showed that more than half of candidates would avoid applying to jobs through agencies, and prefer to work straight with hiring companies.'
Actually it doesn't. Ms Davies manages to misinterpret her own company's survey!
As you can see from the above graph more than half (percentages are not provided) of the respondents (we are not told how many respondents there were and how the results were gathered) have responded ‘very likely' or ‘somewhat likely' to the question 'How likely would you be to contact a recruiter when searching for a new job in the hope they will find a suitable role for you, rather than searching for a job yourself?'
'Job seekers also say they're more likely to hear back from a hiring manager than a recruitment firm....'
Actually they don't, Ms Davies company survey does not ask this question (if it was asked the results are not reported) so how she reaches this conclusion is not known.
'... in the last 20 years, we've seen a rapid transformation of the social media landscape, meaning that people and businesses have the ability to connect on a scale like never before.
... more importantly, the social media platforms are optimised to categorise people based on a range of demographics and psychographic behaviours, allowing them to benefit from tailor-made communications. So whatever magic connections recruiters had before, they are shadowed now by the ability to reach people through direct targeting.'
Ms Davies seems to confuse finding people with recruiting them. No recruiter will dispute that it is easier to find people than it was 20 years ago but how many recruiters would agree that is easier to recruit the best people, compared to 20 years ago? I suspect the answer is close to zero.
'Recruitment agencies can cost a fortune; they are the ultimate overhead'
Again Ms Davies shows her attention in English class stopped just after she entered high school. Does she not know what overhead means? Let me enlighten her:
overhead (noun):the general, fixed cost of running a business, as rent, lighting, and heating expenses, which cannot be charged or attributed to a specific product or part of the work operation.
How can a contingent cost such a recruitment fee possibly be a fixed cost? It's the ultimate variable cost! If you don't hire a person via a recruitment agency then you don't incur the cost: duh.
'There is nothing tangible that clients are paying for when they use a recruiter. What they're getting is the ambiguous promise that they can get the best person for the job.'
What? Is the author a complete moron?
When a company pays a recruiter the agreed fee, the recruiter has delivered something tangible - it's called a new employee. Unless a placement occurs, no fee is payable. In my 28 years of experience in the recruitment industry I have never heard of any client paying a recruiter for an 'ambiguous promise'.
If a placement has not been made and a recruiter has been paid then clearly the recruiter has delivered a service that was contractually agreed to between the two parties. Otherwise the client would be liable to pay, and you can be sure they will pay ... zero.
'... if two great people apply for a job, you can absolutely guarantee that a recruiter will put one forward to one of their client companies and will put the other great candidate forward to another company so they can collect twice the fees. You have no transparency on who has applied for your job, who was contacted, who was ignored and who was shortlisted. The transparency is so lacking you may as well be staring at a black wall'
Where to start with this paragraph? What recruiter doesn't put their best candidates forward to the job? Of course recruiters put candidates forward for more than one job - isn't this in the best interests of each candidate? Don't candidates, and clients, want more choice not less? Any decent recruiter will be happy to provide a summary of applications and screening; but most clients don't want it or don't ask for it.
'Businesses are starting to switch from recruitment agency hiring to smart, yet simple technological innovation that removes the waste and ambiguity from the hiring process.
While those technologies harness the communication potential of the changing media landscape and ad methods, it still includes real people to account for the human nuances of some industry-specific roles.
Meanwhile, recruitment agencies charge through the roof in commissions and fees for out-of-date methods.'
This paragraph appears under the subheading Technology has made recruiters redundant.
What does the author mean? What point is she trying to make? It's pure and unadulterated gobbledegook.
What pearls of wisdom does the author conclude her article with?
'With today's available tools, it's easy to pinpoint and identify potential applicants who may be either active or passive job seekers. You can then target them with job ads so they can see the value in your company. Once they've applied, you can have them screened for basic and key skills, interviewed and then shortlisted.'
Yes, folks there you have it - the Great Leap Forward of the recruitment industry, according to entrepreneur Sharon Davies is......targeted job ads.
The death of the recruitment industry is based on: posting a targeted job ad and waiting for people to apply.
Wow. When we see such misleading, ignorant and, let me be frank, moronic articles coming from ‘entrepreneurs' attempting to build an offering in the recruitment marketplace, we gain an insight into the arrogance of such people who clearly think that all recruiters are lazy, unskilled and unethical.
No wonder the recruitment agency sector is thriving if these sorts of business owners are our competition.
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