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The Looming Precipice Some Recruiters Face!

I know it's been said so often and is hackneyed but we're now in a place economically where we haven't been before. It's quite unusual because on one hand we are seeing the development of some of the most technologically advanced "temptations" and fleeting positive signs in the economy, but it also feels we're sliding towards a big black void that seems to not want to go away. Perhaps this looming precipice is a result of having those "temptations" thrust in front of us and being unable to resist! But I digress. And what's this got to do with recruitment anyhow?


Well, a couple of things - technology and the looming precipice! For some that is.... Because the same illusionary or perhaps delusionary behaviour is alive and well in our sector. Carry on regardless even though the precipice is firmly in sight! Now don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating the demise of the recruitment industry just as some commentators have done recently. Quite the opposite in fact, because when it comes to sourcing the best talent, regardless of technology or internal processes or an internal recruitment team, I'm proud to say that as an industry, we still stand firmly on our own feet, albeit some with slightly rounded boots!

This is predominantly brought about by one problem. If we take industry standards as the norm, we don't offer value for money and cost far too much for what we do. And my reference to the comment of illusion and delusion is firmly at the "head-in-the-sand" recruitment stalwarts who bleat on relentlessly about how much value we offer and "we're worth it" whilst their clients (or prior clients) recruit internally. We've single-handedly created our own "competition" due to this. It's basic economics. When something is expensive, people look for alternatives and unless you meet the market, they go elsewhere or take up that alternative.

It really came to a head recently when the Government announced that it was going to go out to tender for External Recruitment Services. I attended a number of sessions they ran pre-empting what was about to happen and there was much wringing of hands and lamenting that the world was going to end - which it may have for some. Not a jot of what a great opportunity it was for security, continuity, and developing relationships with the biggest employers in the country. All it was about for most was that their fees would be slaughtered and for some it has. And about time. For general recruitment, no-one should be paying double digits anymore or if you do get into double digits, it should be "just" and there should be a very valid reason, such as enormous experience or specialisation. In other words, something is brought to the table. I've heard some spectacular stories recently of 15, 17, even 18% fees and whilst I'd just love all that money, it beggars belief that in today's economy that recruiters are justifying it - and that some companies are still prepared to pay it.

I make no apologies for self-promoting, but we restructured years ago in anticipation of what we could see looming and just as most other industries and sectors have also done the same, our industry still seems to think it needs flash offices and exaggerated overheads - hence having to charge high fees - when in fact it's experienced consultants who actually deliver the results. And that can be done from anywhere. And to unashamedly self-promote more, we have a team of exceptionally highly experienced (with an average of over 20 years' experience each) operators who work remotely , have little or no overheads themselves, no corporate overheads, and we pass on those savings to clients - and mostly with single digit fees.

But we are not entirely on our own. The recruitment industry must have some relatives in the retail sector with the recent grizzle by the Retail Association about people trying clothes on and then buying them at a fraction of the cost over the internet. A fitting fee? Try getting real, and getting competitive!

We've already made the changes needed to survive today, and we're doing well. We're delighted to have been selected on the All-of-Government External Recruitment Provider Panel - and I would like to believe due to the philosophy we espouse and practise.

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