From Shortlist Wednesday 25 July 2018

The biggest threat to the recruitment industry is the increasing number of employers bringing recruitment in-house, and emerging technology is the additional impetus for making agencies the second option, an industry advisor says.

At a recent Captain’s Table event, chaired by Navigator Consulting CEO Tony Hall, agency leaders gathered to discuss the biggest threats to the industry, and what to do about them.

Several key themes emerged as attendees discussed what the industry should be doing to counteract the growing number of clients that are bringing recruitment functions in-house.

The first step is to build stronger relationships with clients, Hall says, “so we as recruitment agencies are the first port of call, as opposed to the last port of call, when it gets too hard for them”.

Agencies should also be working better together to solve client and candidate requirements, to ensure the industry thrives, he adds. “If we’re not filling roles that we say we can fill, then we’re providing even more ammunition for companies to say ‘we might as well do this ourselves than pay recruitment fees to companies that aren’t delivering’.”

Filling more jobs is absolutely critical in encouraging companies to use agencies more, the leaders agree.

Leveraging technology well enables better recruitment service delivery, Hall says, and points the way to adding more value for clients, “so we can justify the high margins that we would all like to have”.

Transparency builds stronger relationships
Painting a fuller picture of exactly what it is that agencies do and the effort required to fill a role is also vital, as is communicating that effectively to clients, says Hall.

“Are we articulating how much work goes into a recruitment assignment?” he asks.

This should start in client proposal documents that outline all client services at beginning of an assignment, and be reiterated through detailed invoices that provide a list of services involved, line by line. “That’s just absolute gold,” Hall says.

Hall urged recruiters not to send invoices that simply say, “recruitment fee, $35,000”.

Getting out and meeting clients face-to-face to build relationships is the optimal way to get their buy-in.

“I wonder how much consulting we actually do these days, as recruiters,” says JobAdder CEO Brett Iredale. “All day every day we’re walking around recruitment floors, the pods are all full, and everyone is there tapping away and not out talking to people.”

“Recruitment consultants now are relying on email, phone, LinkedIn, whatever, way too much, at the detriment of relationships, perhaps,” Hall adds.

Collaboration is better than competition
A more organised approach to industry collaboration – rather than purely focusing on competition – is more beneficial to recruiters, says Elias Recruitment CEO Jason Elias.

Efforts to win work on an exclusive basis are a better driver of competition than fighting over the same vacancies simultaneously. “It’s great for job boards [but] candidates get confused when we all fight over the same people,” he says.

“As an industry, we shouldn’t be like seagulls going for little chips,” says Elias.