A week like this one…

Recruitment Community, Partnerships, New Voices of Recruitment

Recruitment Community – My experience has reinforced the idea that recruitment folks tend to have a healthy dose of competitive spirit – agency recruiters compete with one another, in-house recruiters tend to compete with agencies on their PSL. When I moved into the freelance/contractor space over 3-years ago, I decided that partnering with recruitment agencies was going to be more beneficial for my clients, it would deliver a better candidate experience and I really wanted to build more advocacy within the wider recruitment community.

I was reflecting on this approach during the past week as I felt a pang of guilt when scheduling a recruitment agency briefing – it felt like I was betraying my principles of promoting the individual contribution and value of each recruitment agency partner – I felt like I was somehow diluting their individuality by summoning them onto a call collectively.

What’s the problem you might ask? – they provide a service and the client engages that service in a way that is time efficient for them. I’d softly counter this thought-process with – that’s one of the reason’s why businesses don’t get the full value out of recruitment agency partners – because they see the service, and not the person.

Related to that observation, I reflect on the numerous occasions in my career when Hiring Managers have said to me – “finding a great recruiter is rare” and “when you find them, you tend to work with them whichever agency they work for“. Okay then, if that is true, at what point does the recruiter transcend the service and be recognised as a professional person that can add tons of value? – I think it all comes down to the opportunity to display your individual contribution as a agency recruiter, and that opportunity, can often be secured through in-house recruiters advocating on your behalf.

Advocacy is key – as a talent acquisition and recruitment professionals, we need to advocate for one another – agency and in-house – we are all part of the recruitment community and we make the industry what it is through our collective contributions. I’d encourage us to have more conversations and build connections, let’s be constructively direct when we observe poor recruitment practices and let’s present a view of a connected recruitment industry that adds value, has integrity, drives high standards and is full of knowledgeable and skilled professionals that will deliver value for Hiring Managers and their business.

Circling back to the recruitment agency briefing I’ve scheduled, it’s a function of what the business requires, however, I will ensure that the Hiring Manager is briefed on each recruitment partner that is attending and that they have a clear understanding of the specialisms of each individual, the relationship that has been built through working together and that briefing has a collaborative focus as opposed to client-service provider dynamic, and I’ll be asking the recruitment agency partners for their feedback afterwards.

Partnerships – To further illustrate the power of partnering, this week presented me with an opportunity to explore a partnership model with a friend who is the Founder and CEO of an innovative Executive Search business.

The idea for a partnership materialised through a regular virtual coffee chat where we chat about our different views of the recruitment market, tech developments, hiring trends, and more recently, how businesses continue to adapt to a economy and world of work, impacted by the pandemic. It was interesting that, while I focus on start-ups and scale-ups and he focuses on SME’s and Enterprise clients, there was a consistent theme – what it is like to hire in a candidate-led market.

For those folks that haven’t experienced a candidate-led market before, it basically means that the individuals you want to hire are, predominately, not looking for a new career challenge – and if they are – they typically have multiple options from different companies and you’re competing with a number of other businesses to hire them.

A great example of this is the Product Management space; it’s currently super-competitive, time-to-hire for this specialism has significantly increased, salaries and remuneration expectations have increased considerably and Product Managers (of all levels) can have anything between 3-7 difference opportunities that they are pursuing at any time. If you want to validate this supply-and-demand challenge, run a simply search on LinkedIn for the last month and you’ll see over 14,000 job adverts for Product Managers in the UK and roughly about 4,000 currently Open for Workand that’s before you’ve even started to compete in the passive candidate market!

This challenge was one that a client of mine was facing as they scale a new practice within their consultancy business and they’d engaged me to deliver a discovery project to assess their current recruitment process. As the discovery work started to illustrate some familiar trends, the one that stood out the most was how would they attract, engage and hire for this practice in such a competitive market. For me, the question became – would I even have the time to support this vital part of the process?

I felt like I would be saying, “here’s your playbook and what you need to do – good luck!“, as opposed to “here’s our playbook and what we need to do – let’s get started!” – as one person, time is my greatest consideration.

Thankfully, the latter is now an option through a collaborative partnership with the aforementioned, CEO and Founder of the Exec Search firm – and the part of the conversation that pleasantly surprised me, was how easy it was for us to agree on a solution. You would think that two businesses exploring a commercial partnership would lead to extended conversations about legal and contractual obligations and revenue sharing – not at all – this conversation was focused on two things, 1). the client has a challenge that we can solve 2). how can we partner to deliver the best experience and hires for their practice.

In my opinion, that’s when you know you have a true partnership, when your values align before your commercial objectives.

New Voices of Recruitment – I’m in a number of WhatsApp groups where recruitment and talent acquisition professionals freely share their expertise, opinions and offer peers and community members valuable advice.

What I find super-interesting is the number of individuals that have a wealth of information to share and they don’t appear to either have the channel (outside the group), or perhaps, the confidence to put themselves out there in the wider community.

How do we/I encourage these individuals to step out of their WhatsApp comfort zone and share with the wider community their knowledge? – this was the reason I loved co-hosting The #SocialRecruiting Show with my great friend Katrina Collier, because it offered new voices a platform to share their knowledge, expertise and opinions.

I know there are a number of live recruitment and talent acquisition shows, podcasts and events which all host AWESOME guests, I wonder if there is an opportunity to encourage hosts to interviewing ‘one new voice‘ per month or schedule cycle? On the event circuit, perhaps organisers could create a new voices segment with panel speakers making their debut – first time speakers pushing themselves to be centre-stage alongside other peers going through the same experience.

I know, for a fact that there are event organisers that go to great lengths to ensure this happens already, however, I wonder if the new voices of recruitment know where/how to access these opportunities and what encourage it might take to get them committed to the idea.

This is subject I’m exploring, so I don’t have a full view of all opportunities and/or events for new speakers; for this reason, I’d welcome input, insight and information from the wider recruitment and talent acquisition community. Personally, I’m Chairing an event in September 2021 and I will be suggesting to the organisers that we aim to introduce new speakers to the agenda.

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