Why Do We Recruit The Way We Do?

Great recruits are the building blocks of your business

It is time to question why recruitment is done the way it is and has not changed in decades despite no one being really that happy with how it is.

One aspect of recruitment we have not mentioned yet is something that affects a lot of candidates without them realising it. We are referring to the PSL. The Preferred Supplier List is a term for a list devised by a company featuring their approved recruiters. If a company has a PSL, they will only work with recruiters on that list. So far, so simple.

These lists usually contain between 3 and 5 agencies, but can feature as many as 10 depending on the recruitment needs of the business with the PSL. Those aren’t small numbers so there is a lot of competition still within that group.

Why would anyone have a PSL? Cost reduction will be a reason constantly given to justify them. PSLs can help when you have high turnover and the roles you are trying to fill are not especially specialist. Those looking to grow good, yet not especially deep, relationships with suppliers find PSLs very helpful too.

Some companies like to segment the agencies into the types of work they do, but then some just use the same few for whatever roles are going, even if they have no experience within that industry.

The problem with PSLs is the same problem that you find in any recruitment scenario where multiple agents or agencies are tasked with bringing forth a plethora of prime candidates. There is a scramble for the candidates, and they are often the same candidates, to fill the roles.

What can, and often does, happen is that when that one job is released to the PSL agencies, all hell breaks loose. The mad dash to find the candidates who are openly applying on job boards leads to a small number of prospects being approached by a number of recruiters. This is the same thing that happens when there are no PSLs but generalist recruiters are chasing the same commission. And it doesn’t generally make a company look like it knows what it is doing when it comes to recruiting.

Even though that is the system, it is still really down to networking. Growing key relationships is a good thing but that can sometimes lead to favouritism between the PSL agencies, with the favoured one getting a heads up from a friendly manager about an upcoming vacancy, giving them a head-start. While this doesn’t put the rest at a total disadvantage it can leave them disgruntled.

Despite advantages, all the recruiters are in the same boat of still being one of many with pot luck sometimes dictating the outcome. It can be a terrible business because even though they are officially on a list, it does not guarantee a thing.

80% of recruitment work is free, which means that 20% is recompensed. Those numbers are pretty wild as there is not another profession in the world where only one fifth of your working time is paid for. Let’s imagine that there are 10 companies on a company’s PSL, which means that 10 recruiters are spending all their time chasing candidates for that company. That means that hundreds of hours of work are being performed for no reward whatsoever. Of course, companies don’t mind that they don’t pay for the work they don’t have to pay for, but there is a better way.

When recruitment partners are mentioned, businesses usually shy away because they consider them too expensive. The simple fact is that the same money is paid, it is just structured differently. At the end of the search, the successful PSL recruiter gets paid, whereas the partner’s fee is staggered throughout the process. This style of doing things is actually easier and also doesn’t waste thousands of hours of work to get the same result. With millennials and gen Z-ers looking for more ethical workplaces, it can’t harm a business to spare a thought for recruiters.

The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results so perhaps it is time to lay PSLs to rest.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

The Rise In Job Vacancies Is Exposing Flawed Recruitment

For many businesses, the recruitment strategy is not clean or tidy

Job vacancies have skyrocketed as the economy picks up pace and it is fair to say that it has taken a few people by surprise. In entertainment, IT, construction, the service industry, etc., job vacancies hit around 950k for the 3 months up to July, just shy of a million, according to ONS.

With unemployment falling, the market outdid expectations, possibly due to an economic boost related to restriction relaxation. Exacerbating the disparity between candidates and vacancies, businesses are trying to catch up.

While some are pointing to labour shortages, one possible reason for the gap is the refusal, by companies, to acknowledge the need for a change-up within their recruitment strategy. We use the word ‘strategy’ lightly, as for most organisations, their recruitment is a rote, repetitive routine, unchanged for many years.

With those levels of job vacancies, generalist recruiters are snowed under. This may be a good time for them, but it isn’t such a great time for companies who are requiring really specialist candidates. We have spoken before about those recruiters going for the easiest results and now is no different. Unless you have trained yourself out of it, humans naturally go for the lowest hanging fruit. It is a fact of life and recruiters are no different.

We are not blaming generalist recruiters for this, as companies who need candidates have no one else to blame but themselves. If you have engaged the services of one or more recruiters to feed you CVs, but with no guarantee of a reward at the end of the process, why would they do the work for you? If they get an easier challenge which is more likely to pay off for them, why would they not go for that? If your industry ran on those same rules, you would also be focused on those low-hanging fruit, those easy wins, to bolster your confidence and your bank balance.

Basically: what kind of service do you expect if the service is free?

To put it frankly, this situation has never been easy. Companies just didn’t focus on the realities of it before. They were immune to it when the times were good. It was a nightmare before, how hard do you think it is now?

It is very likely that, right now, you are starting to wonder when you will hear from the agencies you tasked with finding you prime prospects. You probably won’t hear back from them. They are busy finding the easier-to-find candidates for someone else. Why should those agencies send you resumes?

Because they said they would? When the chips are down, they have better things to do. Life is about partnerships and relationships. You do not have a partnership with them. You don’t really have a relationship with them. They don’t owe you anything. It may sound harsh, but it is the truth.

If you are expecting loyalty from them, think about the loyalty you have shown them. Is there even any loyalty there? Did you select one recruiter to find you what you need, or did you contact a few in the hopes that one of them will come through? How can you expect the results you want if you cannot be loyal to them?

We appreciate that you haven’t thought about any of this before and it can be something of a paradigm shift to reconsider your whole approach to recruitment. If everything is going well, then you don’t need to worry. If, however, you have noticed that things aren’t running as smoothly as you would like, then that needs to be addressed.

With one million job vacancies, think about when recruiters will finally get around to helping you with your recruitment. You can wait around and hope or you can do something about it.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

The Fight For Talent

A little dramatic, sure, but the fight for talent is a serious one

There is no such thing as an easy hire, no matter what you’ve heard or what you believe. There are easier hires, depending on the area you are hiring in, but if you are doing it correctly, it shouldn’t necessarily be easy.

Putting out a job ad and expecting an avalanche of applications used to be the way it was done and companies have been lulled into a false sense of security by the economy being the way it is now, thinking there is a lot of qualified talent floating around waiting to be chosen. This is not the case, and the way through this problem is organisation and realism.

Strategy is required no matter who you are hiring but especially if you are hiring for specialist roles. The quality candidates who were on the open market have been hired during this extended Covid-19 pandemic so the rest of the talent out there is passively looking to leave their current roles.

As lockdown eases, the competition for these great prospects will start to really heat up and those companies who have not caught on yet will be left behind.

Talent may be delaying any moves due to the instability in the economy, not wanting to jump to something which is a riskier prospect.

One of the reasons that companies are finding it hard to find the talent they want is due to loyalty. If the employee has been treated well during the pandemic, they feel they owe something to the company for sticking with them or accommodating their work situation. Another company coming in needs to offer them the same kind of environment where they are a name and not a number.

A lot of the time, the internal recruiting systems that businesses employ are not refined enough to deal with the demands of the job market as it is now. The process is usually outdated, way too long and drawn out, and does not take into account that time is of the essence when your competitors are snapping at your heels.

As more and more vacant job roles come on the market, the disparity between supply and demand will become more and more apparent.

As is usually the case, a lack of supply leads to budgets rising as competition grows to obtain the sparse, prime candidates. If the companies hiring have knowledge about what their candidates are looking for, they will know that oftentimes the prospects are not only looking for money, but are looking for job satisfaction or career progression too. Either way, competitors will be upping their game and probably engaging specialist recruitment experts in order to locate all of the hidden gem candidates they can.

If you do not have the pipelines needed to supply you with candidates, then you need to find someone who does. Specialist recruitment partners are the obvious choice and are becoming a more common part of the recruitment landscape due to the fact that they have knowledge, focused attention and candidate pipelines.

The major problem is that managers are not on the ground when it comes to recruitment and don’t see the state of it and the emerging trends, daily. They shouldn’t have to, of course, but that expertise is needed in the hunt for these hidden candidates or the fight for the best ones will be lost before it has even started.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Is There Common Sense In Recruitment?

Do we really have to spell it out?

When it comes to encouraging sensible ideas within recruitment, it may feel like we are like a stuck record. But consider recruitment as a whole and how much it resembles a stuck record. Over and over the same mistakes are made, and over and over the opportunity to change is missed.

How many companies take the employee churn rate seriously, for example? Do you even know your company’s churn rate? Churn can be costing your business serious cash plus draining other resources. It can cost around half a year’s salary to replace an employee and that is before you factor in lost productivity, lost customers and the negative impact it has on the employees who remain.

When it comes down to it, churn is a problem originating in the hiring process. It is not the only one. Currently within Data, AI, ML and Cloud, there are not enough quality candidates for the amount of roles to be filled. Organisations are not heeding warnings about this and are ploughing ahead as if they are still in the dominant position.

Obviously, how a company hires is totally up to that company, but when seeking very specialised candidates, it is advisable to engage the services of specialist recruiters. They can find the candidates you want. If we can liken it to the housing market, there is a great house in a great location. Now if you want to find what is on the open market, you go to zoopla or rightmove, which are the equivalent of a contingency recruiter. The house may be available on a few sites, easily searchable. Which means a bidding war could kick off, and if you don’t have the most money, you will miss out every time.

If, however, you wanted to find a house that was not yet on the market, you would engage a specialist who knows the area and uses methods other than waiting for the house owner to approach them. No matter the magic methods they use, they are likely to know about amazing properties before anyone else. That way you get in before your rivals.

Even when it comes to negotiating for the property, the specialist who has knowledge of the local market will likely impress, and has perhaps already met the owner face-to-face, so will be in a better position. This is the same for a candidate being more likely to accept a job offer.

Like the record, the hiring process can go round in circles. Recruiters can send cherrypicked resume after resume only for the client to reject them as if they have not been carefully selected. This process often happens over and over and it often happens with generalist recruiters because they find it hard to find the hidden gem candidates.

When great candidates are selected to move forward to interview, interview processes lag behind what is needed. The candidates who are in demand need to be processed quickly but often they are not. The processes are still in place from the past, when the market was employer-driven. A company can update its IT systems or how it orders lunch but how it interviews is generally never up for examination or discussion.

This turns what should be a streamlined pipeline into something more akin to a lottery. In demand candidates choose another company, or to stay at their current company because it appears a better option than an indecisive business. This causes the wheel to start spinning again. Every time, missing out on the prime candidate, wasting time and resources but sometimes getting lucky so the system is ever really questioned.

If your hiring reminds you of the movie ‘Groundhog Day’, that might be a clue that more common sense needs to be employed, so that more amazing hidden candidates are employed too.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

What The Candidate-driven Market Means For You

With candidates in the driving seat, it may be a bumpy ride if you don’t adapt

Unlike other economic downturns, the Covid-19 crisis has not exploded and receded leaving chaos in its wake. It is a rolling, evolving disaster and one which, while it may have been anticipated by some, could not have been predicted by anyone.

Unemployment has yoyo-ed over the past year and a half. This has left confusion across all industries as the tables have turned between candidate-driven and employer-driven power and now it seems to be settling into a candidate-driven market, which seems like it will be the case for the foreseeable.

Companies are still expecting to gain great expertise while offering low-ball offers and the harsh reality is starting to hit. Those who understand the recruitment landscape are warning but those warnings are going unheeded.

Within a high-demand, niche market like Data, recruitment is complicated by the lack of qualified, active job seekers. Overqualified prospects, if they can be found, will be expecting a package that acknowledges the demand they are feeling within the market. Anything less makes them feel that your organisation is out of touch, and especially when it comes to future-facing industries like data, being out of touch is something you want to avoid.

Demand outstripping supply means that benefits are important and a company must be agile to what the market is offering and match or exceed it. Any perks should be considered and not just thrown in to bulk out a standard package.

Remuneration is the not the only concern either. Those looking to further their careers will be seeking guarantees that upskilling and promotions are a possibility within the business.

Confidence is another thing these candidates will be looking for. They will be looking to have interviews with managers who are confident and knowledgeable about the role data will be playing within the future of the company. They will be looking for signs that the business is confident to invest in that future, as, with economic downturns, jumping from a secure current role to a risky future one may not be the chance they want to take at this point in time. What is your company doing to show you will be around in a year’s time?

 It may seem strange to companies used to being in control, but if you want those prime candidates you must cater to, court and bend over backwards for, those prospects.

How and where the candidate will be working is bound to be at the forefront of their mind. In these tough times, safety is a huge concern and candidates will focus in on businesses that empathise with their predicament. On top of that, working from home and hybrid working have changed how we think about work. We are no longer bound to the office, so here is a chance for businesses to set out their stall early, and show that they have really considered how their employees’ feel.

Employees knowing that they are respected and appreciated is a major way that companies can build trust. Covid-19 has changed the way we socialise so drinks on the last Friday of the month are not happening, and maybe that can mean a rethink of how things are done.

This may be a hard pill for companies to swallow but burying their head in the sand will not make it change. This is a candidate-driven market and if you postpone taking it seriously, your competitors will overtake you and your ideal candidates will choose them over you. It really is that simple.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.