It used to be the case that candidates sought out jobs. The newspaper industry made millions as a result. The classic argument for advertising in a print publication was that it reached the audience you needed. Readers, seeking jobs, flocked to Computing Week, Computing, the Guardian, the Telegraph, etc.
Then along came the internet, job-boards, Linkedin and social media. There were lots more places for people to look for jobs. Technology now makes it possible to create talent pools and, data protection permitting, to communicate with groups of individuals who might be interested in a job at a future date. Job alerts can be sent daily to those who have signed up to receive information about roles that match their skills and experience. Contextual advertising places advertisements into related, online editorial content that is likely to be read by potential candidates. Google and Facebook advertising works by placing your recruitment message in front of people whose self-declared interests suggest they ought to be good candidates for your jobs. Increasingly, the jobs come to you, rather than you having to seek them out. So where does this leave the recruitment consultant?
For the generalist/High Street recruiter, the improvement in the UK economy means that lots of jobs are available at almost all levels. These firms may be vulnerable to the march of technology, but when it comes to specialist recruitment there is a much stronger case for both candidates and clients to use the skills of sector-specific recruiters, whether in our field of IT or in such diverse areas as Finance, Catering, Engineering or the C-suite.
Clients use good consultancies because they know that their contact genuinely knows about their industry and its people, their foibles, their strengths, their weaknesses, which bands they like, what team they support, what makes them tick and how to get the best out of them. Technology, although pretty amazing, still can’t quite match the experience and expertise of a bona fide ‘artisan’ recruiter. Nor can you form a bond of trust with technology in the way you can with a good recruiter. It pays to invest time and effort in cultivating this relationship. That’s why, at the very top of the City for example, the headhunter’s little black book of contacts is so valuable.
On the other side of the fence, candidates come to firms such as Be-IT and our competitors because they know that we have two advantages over the advert that drops into their inbox or is placed next to their Linkedin profile.
Firstly, while matching technology has come on in leaps and bounds it still isn’t a patch on an experienced human being who has taken a full brief and thus knows all the personal quirks and strategic imperatives that go to make up a new job at his or her client’s firm. Secondly, recruitment consultants benefit from the fact that many jobs are not advertised. So candidates come to us to seek out jobs that they otherwise wouldn’t know about.
Time is money, and it’s possible for clients and candidates to waste a lot of time on duff applications to advertised vacancies, even with a good ATS and a host of ‘sheep from goats’ killer questions. People have been known to cheat with their answers, and to date no online application form can assess people like a good recruitment consultant. Clients like using good recruiters, even if they don’t always like paying the fees! And that’s the subject of my next blog….
Andrew Finlayson, Associate Director, Be-IT Resourcing