Tuesday, 16 August 2011

"Have you got any roles in internal recruitment ?"

A two part blog ....

I speak to agency recruiters all day ......some approach me looking for a new role and others are recipients of a headhunting call. Something that I am hearing more and more these days is the following sentence (or a version of):

"Have you got any roles in internal recruitment"

Fair enough. However, the majority of people that give me this response are not able to provide any well considered reasons for wanting to jump the fence to an internal role. In fact, in nearly all cases the individuals do not demonstrate a good understanding of the role of an internal recruiter beyond what the title suggests. When I dig a bit deeper into their reasons, the answer is usually something based around not wanting to do sales or working towards targets anymore. What I suspect is really sitting behind their thoughts is a belief internal recruitment would be a much easier job. In my experience this could not be further from the truth.

OK, there may not be a billing target to stress about but there are certainly very demanding expectations of fill rates. OK, there may not be a requirement to business develop but you still need to build relationships with your hiring managers, which is essentially the same thing . Furthermore, internal hiring managers will be far more demanding on you than an external client because they absolutely depend on you to deliver. As an agency recruiter you will probably not be the only person engaged by the client and therefore their need for you to deliver is less. At the end of the day it is far easier to walk away (or hide!) form an external client than it is a hiring manager sitting in the same office as you.


I speak to managers in recruitment agencies all day.....some approach me looking for new staff and others are recipients of a sales call. Something that I am hearing as commonly these days as ever is the following (or a version of):

"They need to sell"

Absolutely fair enough. However, a good deal of these managers do not seem to be able to provide much more on their wish list than that. In fact, in a lot of cases they do not seem to have thought much beyond what they are looking for in a prospective employee than their ability to sell. What I suspect is really sitting behind their thoughts is a belief that a good sales person will make a successful biller.In my experience, whilst that is sometimes true, there are many more attributes that someone hoping to be a successful recruiter needs.

OK, there may be billing targets to achieve and a key part of this is an ability to develop new business. But if you are just a great sales person you will not be able to place the business you pick up. As an agency recruiter you will probably not be the only person engaged by the client and therefore you need to deliver. 


Here is a thought....

Agency recruiters, be more realistic about what your job is. Developing relationships is an essential part of working in any professional consultancy, not just recruitment. No one has ever died from making a sales call (as far as I know anyway). In my career I have only been hung up on once and I found it genuinely funny, because it was.

At the same time, managers of recruitment agencies be more realistic about what you can expect from your staff. No one wants to come to work in what should be a professional consulting role to spend 80% of their time being flogged to make pointless sales calls to hit some irrelevant target.

Hopefully we can then retain (and attract) great talent that this industry desperately needs.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Advance (recruiters), Australia's fair....

I originally came out to Australia for what was meant to be a year, but 10 years or so later I am still here. I have spent that time going back and forth between England and Australia, working for a variety of different recruitment companies and in different sectors. Over this time, one thing has become very apparent to me with regards to the recruitment industry in both countries – Australia is a much better place to do work. This is a personal view point but the path I have taken has been well trodden by UK recruiters for many years and that trend seems only to be getting stronger...so obviously I am not alone.

The shortage of recruiters in Australia means that I am continually sourcing talent from the UK and having conversations with recruiters who are based there about moving to Australia. After we have got beyond the improved climate and potential for a much improved lifestyle the conversation turns to why it is different recruiting in Australia. Based on my experience, this is what I tell them:
The "fair go" Australian attitude means that people here will more readily give you a chance to prove yourself. In England, I would often find myself having to beg a receptionist to put me through to a hiring manager and then have to beg again for a meeting which would only happen because I had bored them into submission. A painful and unrewarding experience all round. In Australia, the majority of times I call a new client I get through to the hiring manager directly, they are happy to speak and as long as I am credible and pleasant they will agree to see me. It doesn’t even feel like a sales call. In fact the meeting will more likely be in a coffee shop than a boardroom.

Australian’s are intrinsically more genuine, more honest and more respectful. In terms of recruitment this makes for far less messing about with uncommitted time wasters (the scourge of every recruiters life!). You can leave any bravado at the door and you will find yourself being able to be far more consultative and not just a sales person / job filler.

The shortage of skilled recruiters in Australia means less competition with other recruiters working in the same sector as you. The usual state of play in England is that most market sectors are far too over subscribed with recruiters all going for the same piece of pie. So yours will likely be the tenth sales call that hiring manager has received that day. Whilst the Australian recruitment landscape is competitive there are not as many providers - it easier to get heard when the background noise is not as loud.

The economic climate in Australia is amongst the healthiest anywhere in the world and, with the caveat that I am not an economist, it should continue to be a rich playground for recruiters. Compare this to England (or other parts of Europe and the US for that matter) and you have a further reason why recruiting in Australia is a more pleasant experience.

The Friday night drinks trolley can appear as early as 4pm ...and includes nibbles !
If you are a recruiter who wants to be recognised as an expert and respected as a peer by your clients, play on a level playing field and, let’s be honest, would prefer your job to be easier then there is no better place to ply your trade than the lucky country down under.

Footnote: whilst this blog may not appear so, I am at heart an Englishman. I cried when we won the Ashes and will be supporting England over Australia in the Rugby World Cup !