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Death of the Cowboy Recruiter

Why recruitment is no longer a numbers game

In the modern age of recruitment everything is becoming quicker and more efficient. Candidates are easier to search for and more accessible than ever before, everyone who you could ever want to contact has an online presence, and CV’s are theoretically easier to get hold of…

The recruitment world has got faster and faster. In my opinion all this speed of service has created a major problem in the industry. We’ve all had the classic numbers game talk from our team managers through the years… 10 CV’s = 5 interviews = placement. Essentially this ethos still stands up but the key point to focus on in the entire process is quality. Quality of candidate and quality of service have to be top of the priority list for any ambitious recruitment consultancy. If recruitment consultants are pressured to work in a number driven environment, with huge emphasis placed on amount of CV’s sent in the shortest time period possible, it will always lead to a drop in quality. This is where the issue lies. If you want a long and successful career in recruitment remember this: the number-driven approach is extremely dated and will ultimately lead to failure.

The numbers game is the mentality that a lot of modern recruiters have grown up with and has no doubt served them well through the years, but recruitment has changed. Client expectations have gone through the roof and rightly so. A large portion of clients out there will still see recruiters as a necessary evil, this will no doubt be derived from bad experiences with the endless cowboy recruiters out there – the CV slingers, the ‘chuck enough proverbial at the wall’ type recruiters – but I do believe that the attitude towards recruiters and the value that we add is slowly changing for the better.

From my experience, clients are willing to pay a higher fee to work with consultants whom they can trust to consistently deliver extremely well-qualified and informed candidates. They want to see recruitment consultants as an extension of their recruitment team, someone they can have complete confidence in to the point where if you are submitting a CV they will expect an interview request. The classic numbers approach goes against this ethos and will ultimately lead to a drop in quality and a breakdown in the relationship with the client.

Recruitment is often seen as a job that you “fall into”. I know that I didn’t grow up with dreams of one day becoming a recruitment consultant, but I do think that it’s a job that finds you. It takes a special kind of individual to take on such a demanding role and contrary to popular belief you have to be a skilled individual to be a success in recruitment. Paramount in this skill set is the ability to build and maintain meaningful relationships with both clients and candidates alike.

Recruiters have to have a very thick skin and be able to keep a very level head as when it all hits the fan there is only so much within our power to control. It’s our responsibility as recruiters to educate our clients on the current candidate market and also to educate our candidates on the current job market. At any point in the process (No matter how much time you have invested) the client or the candidate can change their mind. It could be another job offer, a raise, a change of heart, a chat with the “other half” – there are a million and one reasons why a deal may not happen and it’s our absolute responsibility to make sure that everyone in the process is fully informed at all times and in a position to make an educated decision.

We work in one of the most competitive sectors out there and our clients are never going to be short of competition contacting them promising to deliver the ultimate recruitment service and the highest quality of candidate with a promise of the lowest fees and a never ending supply of life changing candidates!

Recruitment as an industry has a historically bad reputation. In general, people are not a big fan of the stereotypical wide-boy recruiter that has become synonymous with the title. With the ever evolving approach to recruitment and a new generation of quality driven consultants to take up the reigns I feel like the recruitment industry has a bright future – a future where we can be proud to call ourselves a recruiter!

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