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No Agencies? But I have the Perfect Candidate for You?

For those of you that follow the Wired Sussex Twitter feed you will be aware that earlier this week we asked this question:

"We get a lot of jobs posted where people stress no agencies - what is it that Sussex media companies don't like about recruiters?"

The responses we got were on the whole less than favourable, so I thought that I would follow this up with a more in-depth look at why this is. The main threads of the responses were: cost, hassle and lack of knowledge, and I will now try and put a case for both sides of the argument for each point.



Cost:

Everyone knows that recruitment agencies charge a percentage of the salary as a fee for using their services, this can range from 12.5% to a whopping 30%, however the normal is usually around the 15-20% mark. So using an agency to find, say, an Account Director at £40,000 per annum will cost you anywhere between £6,000 and £8,000, for sending a few CVs, arranging a few interviews and then chucking you an invoice. How can they charge this exuberant amount for doing, what amounts to, very little other than paper shuffling and email sending?

This is the truth in some cases, however if you use a decent, ethical recruiter you do get your money’s worth. Recruitment is all about relationship building, getting to know your clients business inside and out. Working in partnership with a recruitment consultant will save your company time and money in the long run leaving you to focus on what is most important to your business, your clients. How much is that worth to your business? How much will it cost you as a company if that member of staff is missing from your team for months?

Hassle:

Those endless phone calls from recruitment agencies that flood into your office the moment you post a new vacancy onto the internet, the incessant deluge of “I noticed you just posted X, I have the perfect candidate for you” calls, the unsolicited pitching of candidates to your business that not only are you not currently actually recruiting at that point but the skillset of the candidate has never been a need for your business and if they had taken even a few seconds to look at your website would realise that you wouldn’t ever need. I’m with you on this one, I can’t remember the number of times I have had recruitment consultants call me at Wired Sussex because they have seen a job we have posted, when what they have actually seen is jobs from our jobs board. And the most frustrating thing of all, the final straw that makes me want to scream is the fact that once you are on the recruitment agencies database you then become free game for every consultant in the business to think they can call, email or harass you from now and until eternity.

But hang on a minute, what happens if they do have the perfect candidate for your role? What happens if they have that candidate that may not come onto your radar by your current methods? Are you going to turn down a top candidate just because they come from a recruiter? There are recruitment consultants who are experts in their sector and have a handle of what is actually happening in the industry, and in some cases top candidates will hand over their job search to a recruiter and not apply any other ways.

Lack of Knowledge:

Glorified snap is what they play, they get a job advert, get a CV and match as many keywords as they can, as long as the bulk of them match they think they have the perfect candidate. They think Java is the same as JavaScript, they haven’t thought about whether there is a team fit at all, all they do is just fire you an email with CVs attached, sit back and start working out what to buy with the money they have just made, because basically it’s in the bag.

This is where we come back to the whole relationship/partnership angle. A recruiter that takes time to speak with you, get a feel for what your company ethos is like, really get under the skin of your company, is a niche recruiter that knows the sector inside out will be able to send you CVs or even just one CV that will match what you are looking for exactly.

So where does it leave us?

I think Sussex and the media sector here is a different beast altogether. We are lucky enough to be in a strong position with a sector that is thriving, networking events abound and, if I do say so, a rather cracking industry jobs board. The need to use agencies isn’t as integral to business as it is in say London or elsewhere. I personally think that you can use recruitment agencies to benefit your business, however in a capacity alongside using your own networks and niche jobs boards.

There are a large number of incompetent, unknowledgeable recruiters that are in it for your money and only your money, sharking their way through the sector like Jaws, firing out CVs in a scattergun fashion waiting to see how much sticks, but don’t write them all off. I have worked with and know some great recruiters, there are recruiters out there that are industry experts, that know their sector inside and out and really understand the need for a mutually beneficial business relationship.

Probably now would be a good time to come clean. I am a Recruitment Consultant, I have been one for the past 6 years working within the media sector. I have worked both in a recruitment agency environment as well as internal recruitment for iCrossing and more recently Wired Sussex. I have heard all the venom before and for the bulk of recruitment consultants it is highly justified, and this brush that we are tarred with frustrates me. I am very proud to be a recruitment consultant and pride myself on my sector knowledge and expertise but I am in the minority.

As you were all very vocal on Twitter, you now have more than 140 characters to say you tuppence worth, we'd love to hear your thoughts

About the author

Phil Jones

Hi, I'm the Managing Director of Wired Sussex, overseeing our strategy as an organisation and work to promote our membership and its needs to local, national and international stakeholders, including government.

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