Ric’s Rant on Recruitment
Mediocrity is the comfortable curse that some in recruitment seem to be willing to live with. The downside is that you cannot grow from being comfortable with mediocrity. For every star performer in the recruitment sector we have hundreds, who hang on, faint outlines and echoes of erstwhile resonance, or of managers they once hoped of emulating.
I’ve watched too many recruiters at all levels embarrass and demean themselves in futile attempts to remain what they once were a decade or more prior; or what they hoped they may have become. In the meantime, desperation causes them to behave in ways that negatively impact upon themselves, their organisation, their clients and their peers.
As soon as one recruiter discounts a fee, the ripple effect is swift and all-consuming. As soon as one of your competitors cuts corners and doesn’t complete all the necessary checks and balances – and it comes undone – you get tarnished by the fallout.
The critical factor for recruiters is the competency and expertise to continue to perform,professionally, at your best level, or to exceed that level. Once that level is no longer rising, the laws of entropy enter, and the plateau will ineluctably erode.
The challenges facing recruiters are immense:
- LinkedIn is now a recruitment tool
- The job boards have been a competitor for years
- Many organisations are now handling recruitment internally
- People can set up on their kitchen bench with little overhead costs and then discount fees and continue to have margin
- Panels and preferred supplier agreements are eroding fee levels
- Accounting firms are now including recruitment as a service
- and, on it goes
The recruitment sector, to survive, must become the recruitment profession. The recruitment profession must be cognisant that innovation and reinvention are two key imperatives for success and survival. The recruitment profession must eschew the limited thinking of “sales-based” recruitment and discounting fees. Once one starts, your competitors will follow and it becomes a doom-loop. This approach will ultimately render the people and organisations without deep pockets, obsolete.
What do we know for sure about reinvention and innovation?
Well, for starters, planning, most of the time, is activity over results; kind of like bureaucracy! Most recruitment consultants don’t like cold-calling. Most clients don’t appreciate cold-calling. Clients will always think they can do their own recruitment, successfully. Candidates will always assume that you need them and owe them something, even though they don’t pay you. Does this make them any less important? No.
How can the recruitment profession become more innovative and what are some of the ways we can gain inspiration from reinvention?
- Stop benchmarking; rather form alliances with organisations and entrepreneurial thinkers.
- Use Ric’s Reverse Thinking (RRT); whatever you think, think the opposite and then consider the merits of that thinking.
- Forget your own personal history; you’re never as good as your last victory, nor as bad as your last defeat.
- Have a “Be/Do” philosophy.
- Be willing to walk away from business. A lousy prospect never makes a great client. And, the client will always expect premium service even though they’ve only paid you a deep-discounted price. Charge what you’re worth and expect to be paid.
- Celebrate successful failures and punish mediocrity.
- Diversify just for the heck of it.
- Change your pricing strategy to include project fees, retainers, payment in advance, etc.
- Thrive on ambiguity, because if the answer is known, then it’s no longer innovative, is it?
- Maintain accountability by cultivating your recruiters (and yourself) to be “Dreamers with Deadlines”.
The recruitment sector is most definitely facing serious and concerning challenges; the time is now to behave differently, appreciate and respect your value more, and re-educate your clients as to the return on investment they receive by engaging and appropriately paying for your professional recruitment services.
However, the first sale is to yourself, if you don’t believe it, then nobody else will, either.