Fuck the recruitment industry
Posted by Mitch on 19th October 2015
This is the sentiment that pretty much sums up the current state of my industry, if my recent LinkedIn feed is anything to go by.
People, it seems, are not happy with recruitment agencies.
People (who sometimes also go by the name of “candidates”) are complaining that they don’t get phone calls returned.
Companies are moaning about being sent speculative anonymous CVs.
And Software Developers are doing what they always do – crying like babies every time they get an email telling them about a job they’re not interested in.
Maybe it’s just a blip. Corporate UK having a temporary hormonal crisis. Or maybe me seeing a lot of these negative posts right now is just a coincidence. I don’t know.
I have to say though, I’m a little surprised.
I thought the Internet had been around long enough for everyone to have read enough about other people’s experiences with recruitment suppliers to have worked it all out by now.
That recruitment is a shitty business.
But it seems they haven’t.
Today, the dynamic between agencies and hiring companies (sometimes also known as “clients”) seems even more Sisyphean than it’s ever been.
Despite the fact that candidate data is widely available to anyone who can be bothered to go look for it, agencies are still trying to do business on contingency and wondering why they keep getting shafted – either by the hiring company, the candidate or another agency.
And that probably just makes many of them behave even worse. Like fat kids who keep hearing the word ‘no’.
The more well-meaning agency recruiters will respond to these criticisms of their industry by saying “we’re not all like that” and other similarly bimbo-esque bullshit.
Often they’re active members of a recruitment trade body like the REC; an organisation seemingly intent on preserving its Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy relationship with a recruitment industry that, if it were a person, would have been certified as brain damaged by now.
I know there’s a minority of you trying to do things differently – and that is encouraging. But in the big scheme of things, as an industry we’re still frogs that haven’t worked out we’re in a saucepan, let alone realising that the water’s gradually getting hotter.
I’ve even had some of my peers tell me that because I have a large network/following of recruiters, I should be more responsible in what I say about my sector. That I shouldn’t agree with these complaints from, what are in essence, our customers. That I should defend the industry.
Really? If you care that much, build your own network of recruiters and preach your apologist bullshit to them yourself.
So before you start kicking me in the nuts by accusing me of just being a cynical has-been, as an external supplier I’m still filling jobs at a 90% success rate – so I’m comfortable with my minuscule contribution to the recruitment gene pool. I’m not pissing off any candidates or pebble-dashing hiring manager’s inbox with anonymous CVs.
Hell, I even offer to train recruiters for less money than falls out of James Caan’s pockets in loose change every month.
So fuck it. I’m trying, OK?
If I sometimes take the piss out of the industry, it’s because it’s begging to have the piss taken out of it. Just like all those silly fuckers that have ever appeared on The Apprentice.
I wish I had all the answers to this malaise, but I don’t. But what I do know is that companies get the agency representation they deserve – because if that company is too lazy to do some basic due-diligence on a recruitment agency before engaging with them, they deserve everything they get.
It takes about 10 minutes to get a snapshot of an agency’s DNA just by looking at the amount of clichés they use on their website, the background/average length of stay of their staff and the quality of their jobs ads. And then another 10 minutes to instruct them on precisely how they want them to behave. Just like they presumably do with any other external supplier?
But instead, they dish out jobs like confetti to anyone with less than 3 years total work experience who are now branding themselves as a “Talent Acquisition Consultant” and who 6 months ago were working as a fucking Sales Assistant at River Island.
Talent Acquisition Consultants whose only way of determining talent is by counting the amount of matching keywords on the job specification and the CV.
And these companies get away with it because they’ve got names like Barclays or Vodaphone. And because the agencies don’t tell the target candidates who they’re trying to fill these jobs for. That is, until the more desperate of those candidates have responded positively to their typo-strewn emails. So much for talent acquisition.
The agencies keep doing it because they do enough numbers to sometimes draw out responses from those people who need another job/contract. In short, it works. The collateral damage is high, but when it comes to making money, who gives a shit?
Then, eventually everyone forgets the names of the agencies that pissed them off and so the whole cyclical clusterfuck starts-up all over again a few weeks later.
So, if you’re a hiring company and aren’t smart enough to see this and to do something about it, fuck you.
And if you’re an agency recruiter who thinks it’s best to blindly defend the industry, fuck you too.
I’m sorry this blog is so long. I had neither the time nor the inclination to write a shorter one.