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Why I’ll Never Be An Agency Recruiter, Again

Elena family web09By: Elena Di Fiore
Director, HR Management Consulting 

I’ve come away from #RHUBNZ thinking about times when I adopted a fearless approach to recruitment, and I’d like to preface this post in that I am no longer a Recruiter (whether it be agency or internal), and I haven’t been for the past two years.

For those of you not in the know, my very first professional role was as a trainee recruiter and I thought the world was my oyster. So many processes to follow, I honestly thought I could shake up the recruitment game but now looking back I realise it takes more than one dog to herd a pack of sheep. The further I moved up the ranks, the more challenges presented but also experiences that had me baffled.

Many candidates looked at me as all powerful, because I had the ability to rock their world with a better job. It wasn’t just one experience that turned me off agency recruitment as a careerpath but rather the many ways in which employers and candidates saw the role of recruiter for their benefit.

It’s A Lifestyle Choice

You know how you get an employment contract and it specifies the number of hours you’ll work per week? Scrap that. I guess being given the guilts for leaving the office after a 14 hour day, or taking phone calls at 2:00am in the morning from candidates should have been included next to the ‘Hours of Work’ clause in my contract. Whilst I may not have been selling cars, our KPI’s were sales driven and with very little focus on the human skill sets being ‘sold’. Stalking employers for vacancies was also encouraged, really not my thing. Then the cross over of professional and personal, when attending a function and being asked what my job was *cue onslaught of ‘hire me, hire me’ chanting from new found friends*.

Smoke & Mirrors

Grab the nearest pen. Now, look at it. I can sell you a pen because it will do everything I say it will do. Now consider a candidate who is human, has a brain of its own and the freewill to behave however they see fit. The merry go round of talking candidates up to employers, only to find out they had not attended an interview or tried to negotiate higher salaries, made me outright dizzy. While recruiters may be your ticket to a job, there was and is no excuse for turning up to your registration interview with poor hygiene, or presented as though you’re ready to watch a weekend AFL game on the couch.

Sense of Entitlement

Let me be frank, but there are more candidates than there are jobs so calling me every morning was not going to get you to the front of the line for placement (and p.s nobody likes a stalker). If you had the right skill set, you’d be memorable enough for me to call you. If an employer is seeking specific skills which are tough to find in the market, and you have the willingness to step into that role without having the necessary skills, think again. It’s no hidden truth that employers want their next hire to hit the ground running. Looking for skills? Go out and get them – don’t rely on the employer to train you. The key here is to understand that recruiters work for the employer because ultimately, the employer pays the commissions.

Lack of Employer Loyalty

We’re all using the same fishing rods in the same ocean of talent, so how an employer can engage with forty nine (49) preferred recruitment suppliers is beyond me. Every time the employer would list a vacancy, it would be copied, rewritten and reposted on job boards so what looks like fifty (50) jobs is actually one. Scary, huh? Throw into the mix the quagmire of negotiating rates with an employer when being undercut by other agencies, and the lack of compliance to privacy laws where employers don’t care whether a candidate has given consent to be considered in the recruitment process.

These days I prefer to provide recruitment advice and strategies to my business clients because what better way to recruit than to own the process itself, while being guided by an industry professional?

1 Comment

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