Six Ways to Take Control of Your Recruitment Life

By Julia Briggs

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One great way to have your time wasted is to set up a recruitment agency and, even worse, focus on the interim and consultancy market. Don't I know that for sure!

If I ruled the world…..every single minute of time that one person or organisation 'takes' from another would be chargeable, and include a cancellation policy.  

Can you imagine how transforming that would be?  Every business would be focused on making sure they were absolutely on top of their game in a 'zero mistakes, zero wait' culture. No more tyre-kicking by procurement departments.  No more last minute meeting cancellations or no shows.  No more working ridiculously long hours because 80% of your time is spent on fruitless tasks and in pointless meetings. 

What a wonderful fantasy.  Especially for those of us who work in the recruitment industry on a contingency basis.  One of the very few examples of actually doing the job  - by producing a cracking shortlist - where you deliver exactly what is 'contracted' and you don't get paid. With no redress. 

No wonder so many recruiters respond by putting only a little bit of effort into a lot of opportunities. So clients then brief more agencies to try and get the quality up and … you get the picture.   

Given I'm never going to be in a position of global dominance, it's up to us therefore in recruitment to take control.  And if more of us did this, we could transform our industry for the better. For the clients, the candidates and for us.

My 6 Rules

  1. Never work without a full brief on a signed off vacancy.  Ever. You can write it and get the client to approve it, but it must be done.  If the client doesn't want to spend time on briefing then you're playing the National Lottery, not working in recruitment.
  2. Never work without an open and reasonable day rate or salary.  A client looking to find someone who is cheap is a client who is not committed to the cause. 
  3. Never work with anyone other than the decision maker, unless the intermediary is a consummate professional and able to manage the decision maker. You've just lost 10 days of your working life (unpaid) otherwise.
  4. Always agree the process in advance (dates for review, interview processes, decision timescales) and book them in the diary.  Put them in the brief so all parties are signed up in advance and less likely to postpone.
  5. Assess the offer, assess the market and revise the brief if needed.  If you can't, then bail.  The amount of time wasted on a long shot, unless you are retained and paid for your time only, is far better spent on many other activities. Especially with your loved ones.
  6. Assess the competition.  I insist on exclusivity but that's because I have a turnaround time of 3-5 days for rigorously screened candidates. Screening covers psychometrics, behavioural evidence, verbal reasoning and skills.  I earn it. Over many a weekend and a holiday.

In spite of all this, it's not a smooth path to success. Almost 40% of assignments disappear - the brief changes, the business changes, or the hirer changes. Even post appointment things can change early on and you've lost your revenue stream if you are paid a margin (the double whammy of contingency and servicing the interim market). 

So, the next step is to go radical.  And that's for a future blog……..


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