“As client’s recruitment model’s have become more sophisticated, recruitment consultants have become less so.”
This is a great quote from a leading MD of a UK recruitment business. It refers to the fact that client's have developed their recruitment models from managed vendor to RPO to in-house teams and beyond.
A version of this subject matter is probably the most discussed topic in the recruitment industry … apart from the economy of course! However, this quote is more insightful because it delves in to the business models within the recruitment process rather than the normal bleating from squeezed agencies. Austerity measures don't just bring with them binge drinking and chain smoking amongst frustrated recruiters. They also drive efficiencies and new business processes, with mixed results in my opinion.
The length of the current recession has meant that clients, especially larger corporate entities, have had the time and incentive to develop their own recruitment capabilities. They are more focused than ever on maximising return, paying less fees to agencies and improving their in-house systems and teams. At each stage the process has become more automated and often the distance between the recruitment consultant and the hiring manager has increased. You can argue about whether the process has become more sophisticated or just more truncated.
What I have noticed is that recruitment consultants, especially those newer to the industry, have become so used to the 'factory processed' corporate recruitment models that they have forgotten the art of recruitment, sales and networking. Too many consultants have become reliant on the active or 'just below' active candidate pool. Just using job boards and LinkedIn as extension of your database is not enough. If you can't add more than an in-house team can do for themselves then you won't get the fees and frankly don't deserve them. At best, your margins will be driven down through lack of value, correctly in my view.
What good recruiters do have is access to and influence on their chosen candidate communities. They have buy-in and trust that in-house teams do not have the ability to invent. They have access to a wider client / job pool that candidates want. They have knowledge of their client's market place and insights into projects, moves and trends that affect candidates movements and motivations. They also have to think about what they can provide, that in-house recruiters, job board advertisers and LinkedIn scanners don't have. As recruiters, if your model does not address this issue, you will struggle.
Are there enough jobs and fees to go round? The recruitment industry has such low barriers to entry that I believe it became over bloated in the good times with average and poor recruiters. In these austere times, the industry needed to shrink down and sort the wheat from the chaff. Those left need to differentiate themselves from their client's own resources or fail to justify their use.