It has been 48 hours since #truLondon and we covered a lot of content. Over the next 5 days I will be sharing a daily thought from #trulondon. Something that stood out for me or made me think, and there was plenty of things that stood out in the memory bank. I’m going to kick off with one I’d love to hear your thoughts:

#truLondon thought 1: Lazy Recruiters

Igotmore annoyed in one track than I can remember at any of the #tru events I have attended. What caused me to get so irate was the comment “recruiters are lazy!”. Now I have worked with plenty of recruiters over the last 27 years.In the past it was all agency recruiters, and I was one for a long time. More recently my work has been mostly with direct recruiting teams.I want to start by stating that in all this time, I have met very few that could be described as lazy. Quite the contrary,I,ve met few people in any other profession who work anything like the hours, or as hard as recruiters. So why this comment, and judging by the lack of reaction, agreement?
From my position, there is little difference now between the working practices of agency recruiters and their corporate counterparts. Whilst third-party agency recruiters might have fee paying clients to satisfy, that’s not really different to having equally demanding and fussy hiring managers, except that a corporate recruiter can’t drop a hiring manager if they prove to be a difficult customer.

Over the last 18 months, the roles have got closer and closer in terms of how they operate. When we talk sourcing, technologies, candidate difficulties or control, as well as influencing hiring managers, the conversation is identical regardless of discipline. Corporate recruiters benefit from greater support in candidate attraction from employer branding communications and initiatives, agency recruiters often benefit from a wider exposure to the market at large, through working with a range of companies.

Time pressure is an issue for both disciplines, as well as a “hire now” pressure ahead of “hire future.” The pressure is on to fill seats and find the hard to hire talent. The “war for talent” is largely a war for other people’s talent. The talent that is needed to fill open positions is the talent that companies are fighting to keep, everybody is battling for the same candidates. I think recruiters have been slow to communicate this. There is a real perception that recruiting is easy and as a result, recruiters are lazy.

In my opinion, recruiters can be accused of being inefficient. When we look at most recruiting technology, it’s mostly underused, with little investment in keeping skills up to date, changing operational practice as the technology has developed. Whilst most recruiting technology issues regular updates and increased functionality to stay competitive, most recruiters use it as was bought.

One clear example of this is the recruitment database or ATS. Many recruiters, (by no means all), use the database for information storage and tracking rather than information retrieval. The progress from Recruiting 2.0 to 3.0, was really little more than the move from post and pray to source and spray. Recruiting is still focussed on volume of approaches in the hope that some of it fits,and volume often brings results.  Priority needs to be on developing smarter working practice, and development takes time. Time is the factor most recruiters aren’t allowed, with the current pressure to hire. Rather than recruiter bashing, i’d like to see a rethink on allowing recruiters to redesign operating practice, and link closer with vendors to make sure they are getting the best out of the technology they have.

Recruiters work far to hard to be described as lazy, and only those who have never had to deal with the real complexity of influencing both candidates and hiring managers beyond attraction would ever think otherwise. Recruiters need to communicate these issues better, and work on brand “recruiter” as hard as employer brand. If you work with recruiters, get to know their job better.

People play the critical part in  the success of any organisation. The recruiters who source and introduce them are central to the success of the business. I always felt privileged to be charged with the responsibility of influencing people s careers and getting the best talent in to organisations. Talk of “lazy” recruiters does not reflect this.

Sometimes, and in some cases inefficient, true , but lazy, definitely not!

Bill