Monday, September 24, 2012

Rolex and Recruiting: More in common than you think.

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Clients & job seekers deserve 'Rolex' recruitment services.
As recruiters, we have a responsibility to our potential and existing candidates to treat them professionally. Unfortunately, because some firms out there are lacking in integrity and have turned the art and skill of recruiting into a commoditized, low-quality, high-volume factory farm for human capital, there is sometimes a negative perception of the industry and recruiters in general, from both candidates and hiring companies. 

Staffing Talk contributor David Gee gives some real life examples of the recruitment image problem in greater detail. In essence, his examples show there are enough bad apples out there to make even the best, shiniest, sweetest Gala seem sour in the eyes of candidates and clients who have been let down by these types of firms.

To take it a step further, equate the problem to the fake Rolex market. I believe the fake Rolex has actually cheapened the exclusive status of a real one.  As I oversee the IT staffing sales activities of seven offices, I'm on a lot of planes and attend a lot of business functions. It’s no longer the rare person you see with a Rolex; instead it’s almost the norm to see that black Submariner.

Now I’m not saying they are all knockoffs, but what was once a symbol of class and refinement has become too common through indistinguishable fakes. The same might be said of the recruitment industry. My firm and many other accredited, legitimate resource providers like it, perform 'real' recruitment work. We call, consult, engage, listen and help candidates and customers solve their problems. Unfortunately, the fakes have tarnished our reputation. Submitting resumes without any contact then asking for exclusivity after the fact; posting bogus jobs in order to aggregate resumes in a database: that's how the hacks operate.

The end result is that clients mostly ignore the 'real' firms, assuming that we are also a cheap imitation.  The value of a solid recruiting firm is assumed to be equal to the value of a fake. 
Who knows if the job boards that marketed themselves to the 'upscale' or executive market have gone further to reduce the perceived value of good recruitment? After all, their inconsistent results have widely undermined their claims of exclusivity.

Either way, job seekers have developed similar behaviors to hiring companies in some cases, and have fallen to some bad habits that make it hard for even the better recruitment firms to truly help them find that perfect match. Monster's Larry Buhl wrote an interesting article on the subject detailing instances where candidates have done themselves a disservice through their actions and attitudes toward some 'real' recruiters based on their experiences dealing with bad ones.

When a candidate we recently hired gave us unsolicited feedback and thanked us for the 'special experience' he had with us, we were not surprised. He said he had done work with three other firms and had contact with many others. We didn't do anything out of the norm for this IT project manager and the recruiter he complimented treats all of his candidates the same way. But in this candidate's eyes, we did far more than countless other firms and gave him a level of service he had not come across. The point is, given his previous experiences with those who share our market space; we should probably count ourselves lucky he even considered engaging with us at all.

It’s time the Staffing Industry really asked itself - How can we change this perception?

Other than chest beating about how some of us in the recruitment industry really are interested in helping candidates and clients get what they want from the experience; other than delivering real, value-adding service; other than holding ourselves accountable for results; what can we do as legitimate recruitment firms do to squash the backlash from the resume factories? 

Make no mistake – Working with a recruiting agency should be a Rolex experience. Here, I see the true caring that goes into the process when great recruiters bring people and companies together. More than anything, I see the potential to help truly reduce the unemployment rate by helping our clients realize that the great talent does exist with some employer sponsored training and by showing job seekers that good honest companies are still out there too.

A Rolex is still a Rolex. Why? Because of the care and attention that goes into creating it. From a quick glance, the fake may look the same. But if you look closely, you’ll find it’s not hard to tell the real thing apart.

Josh Kaplan writes on various subjects including information technology breakthroughs, big data, IT staffing and recruitment, healthcare IT recruitment, and technical industry trends.