What is recruitment? There are many different answers to this question but for us in the agency recruitment world, it is essentially the act of representing a client’s business and filling a vacancy by marketing their employment opportunity to the jobseeker market. Of course, this has greatly evolved over the years and now includes headhunting, marketing to passive jobseekers, offering unbundled services and even outplacement services.
It has also evolved to the point where the traditional recruitment approach is flipped on its head and one candidate is proactively marketed out to a variety of different employment opportunities. This is prevalent in talent-scarce roles where the rare and unique skills of an individual mean that a recruiter can have the pick of clients to represent the candidate into. The dynamic shifts, with the key relationship being between the recruiter and candidate, as opposed to the recruiter working on behalf of their client. You might witness this shift for hard-to-fill roles such as fire engineers, enterprise architects or, yes, even agency recruitment consultants (who are any good).
I’ve always referred to this process as reverse marketing. Over the years I have also developed an understanding of hierarchy amongst reverse marketing practices:
- Recruitment Consulting: Properly qualifying a candidate, interviewing in person, agreeing on opportunities to present them to and then calling prospective employers to market the candidate in and arrange interviews.
- Post and Pray: Following the above procedure but, as often happens these days, failing to connect with the employer over the phone, so having to fall back onto a well-worded, intelligent, relevant e-mailing of the CV for a position you know that company are looking to fill. And then praying your candidate gets an interview.
- The Float: Similar to above but without any prior knowledge of specific vacancies within an employer and presented in a way of “just to make you aware” but really actually struggling to add value to the recruitment relationship.
- Flick and Stick: The most base of recruitment practices with a CV spammed out to multiple employers, sometimes even without the candidate’s prior knowledge, in the vain hope that one such employer might just happen to need someone with those skills and be begrudgingly forced into seeing the candidate with the millstone of a large fee hanging around their neck. In a more crude sense this can be compared to throwing sh*t at the wall and seeing what sticks.
An e-mail received by an internal recruiter was recently brought to my attention. Which of the reverse marketing techniques above would you say it falls within? By the way, names have been removed for confidentiality reasons (and hysterical throwing-toys-from-pram reasons), and I’ve changed the job title to er…Pig Hunter…just for the hell of it:
By way of introduction, I specialise in the recruitment of Pig Hunting professionals for XYZ Recruiters. XYZ Recruiters has been established in New Zealand for 1000 years and we have a demonstrable track record in recruiting for pig hunting roles including: Hunt Planner, Pig Manager, Pig Stick Coordinator, Pig Sty Manager, Pig Carrying Coordinator, both on a Contract and Permanent basis.
I have recently interviewed an exceptional Pig Hunter with strong experience in the Hunting Industry. I have attached a full resume for your review and included a brief profile below:
* Over nine years experience in Pig Hunting
* Managed SAP role out into pig sty
* Weekly reporting on stock sold on a weekly basis
* Analysis of kills both up close and with firearms
* Liaison with external and internal stakeholders developing and strengthening
relationships to achieve hunting targets
If you have any questions regarding the candidate, or wish to discuss any other recruitment requirements, do not hesitate to contact me by email or on 0800 PIG HUNTERS.
Now I know we are in tough times and in the agency recruitment world we need to find some wins wherever we can. This was a nicely worded e-mail that represented the candidate in a professional way. But let’s be honest about things here. There is no intent to build a worthwhile relationship with the employer or internal recruiter, no genuine insight into that business’s requirements, nothing being added to the recruitment relationship beyond the hope that one of any number of companies this was sent to might just need this hard-to-find position filled and might just happen to be interested in this candidate and end up coughing up a fee.
This isn’t to single anyone out, I worry that this behaviour goes on way too often in recruitment and really cheapens our offering (while we continue to claim huge value for large fees). But how about this? In this instance, amazingly, said internal recruiter actually responded to the approach, and also shared the e-mail with me:
Hi there xxxx,
Thank you for referring xxxx’s CV over to me.
Whilst xxxx has some very good experience he doesn’t quite fit what we would be looking for as an organisation if we were recruiting for this role, Pig Hunting means different things to different hunters and we would be looking for someone with recent experience in the pork sector. It is a good idea to find out exactly what clients are looking for in a Pig Hunter as opposed to floating a CV in the hope that the client might just have a vacancy and the candidate might just fit what they are looking for.
Then you have the added “hurdle” of the internal recruitment function who will of course want to try and recruit for the position themselves before outsourcing to an agency then even when they do you come across the “preferred supplier agreements”. I totally appreciate it is hard work out there right now for an agency recruiter so one tip I would give
you (as a former agency recruiter) is pick up the phone and talk to potential Clients, you work for an awesome brand and have a fabulous Manager (I am assuming xxxx is your Manager) who is incredibly respected and well regarded within the industry and he can give you some really good pointers as to the best way to market candidates like xxxx and to establish your networks within the industry.
It would also be a good idea to cover off the gaps on xxxx’s CV between June 09 and May 11 and August 11 up until present day as it is not clear what xxxx has been doing during those times.
I hope this feedback is useful and please don’t think I am being critical, I have been in your shoes and know it’s an uphill battle out there right now.
All the best and just give me a call if you have any questions.
This all happened a couple of weeks ago and as yet there has been absolutely no response from the agency recruiter. Clearly it’s tough out there right now but can recruiters really afford to pass up an opportunity like this to connect with a potential future client? To accept the invitation to make a phone call and actually connect in a meaningful way that might one day bring real value to the recruitment relationship?
Maybe the recruiter is on holiday…maybe a really looooong holiday from recruitment. I certainly hope so because if all you want to do is flick and stick and never take the opportunity to build a relationship, then really what is the point?