Lessons Learnt Over 2 Decades in the Recruitment Industry

Lessons learnt in the Recruitment Industry.

“ Twenty years ago, our tools of the trade were the telephone, a well-leafed Yellow Pages and a fax machine.”

The Recruitment landscape has changed significantly since February 2000, when Hire Power first opened its doors for business.  Old school recruitment involved extensive cold calling, large typing pools and long lines of applicants who had to be interviewed in person.  Five C.V.’s were faxed or hand-delivered to clients, who made their appointments fairly quickly and clinically, and if the candidate “never delivered” or was a “bad fit” before the guaranteed had expired, clients believed that it was relatively straightforward to find a replacement – and often it was.

Fast-forward to 2020 and our work space is up in the Cloud, Google Maps is our friend and we operate and converse over Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp. The relationship between recruiter and candidate is no longer transactional.  This “new look” relationship is a candidate journey of understanding and inter-connectedness.  Through channels and platforms such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, PNET and so forth, candidates have become far more self-aware; they possess valuable knowledge about their industry and job sector and they are constantly rethinking, relearning and retraining, honing their skills for just the right moment when they respond to that amazing Job Alert that has been sent to their Inbox.

Smart recruiters revert to Google or LinkedIn, even Facebook at the mere suggestion of a candidate’s name, giving them an instant snapshot of the candidate they either do or don’t wish to pursue to fill a role.  As far as the back office is concerned, we’ve said “good-bye” to all the typing pools and “hello” to the chatbots that now screen and distribute applications at any time of day.

So, where does this leave Recruiters, Candidates and Clients and how do we adapt to these changes?

5 Ways for clients to hold onto top talent in an applicant-short market

  1. Hire faster! Respond to your Recruiter sooner! Too many clients take too long to respond once CV’s have been submitted for consideration.  Good candidates, the ones that your company needs are not hanging around to hear from you – they are spoilt for choice.
  2. Ensure that your job order has been properly constructed and appropriately mandated and signed off, otherwise the process is “too loose”. If the client doesn’t project means, authority and the desire to fill the role, they won’t attract the right candidates.
  3. There is no “perfect” candidate. Allow a little latitude for the candidate with the right attitude – skills can be trained.
  4. The recruitment process from the perspective of a recruiter working several orders is a very costly and strenuous one. A savvy recruiter assesses the validity and viability of specification and very quickly drops an order to the bottom of their priority listings if they feel that a client is just “shopping” off of them.
  5. Recognise the effort of your recruiter and share your hiring frustrations and concerns with them, because once you do, that recruiter will nurture their relationship with your organisation and develop an in-depth awareness of company culture and an understanding of the skills gap that might exist; and they can surface candidates with the right skills and competencies that can genuinely add value to the team.
  6. Be sure to “sell” the benefits of joining your company to the recruiter. The candidate market is fast-flowing.  Candidates are often here today and snapped up tomorrow.  Equip your recruiter with as much information and context about a role or organisation as is permissible. This builds your credibility.

6 Tips for Applicants 

  1. Craft your CV in line with the specific advert that you are applying for. 7 seconds is all the time the recruiter has in which to determine whether to Review or Reject your application.
  2. Artificial intelligence (AI) is real and it’s here to stay. If you adopt a “spray and pray” approach to job hunting without taking the time to read the job advert thoroughly and slanting your CV accordingly, well then it’s quite simple…not only have you waster 7 seconds, but the algorithms in the Applicant Tracking Systems can’t find the correlating words or phrases in your documents and thus aren’t able to pick out your CV.
  3. Professional etiquette separates quality from mediocrity. Take the time to pen a solid cover letter; check formatting and spelling before pressing SEND and dress up when you show up.
  4. Respond to the recruiter! Don’t forget about that job that you applied for on Indeed two days ago.  Go back, check to see if the recruiter has requested more information or would like to have a quick telephonic chat with you.    At the very least, remember the name of the recruiter that has booked an appointment to meet you and arrive on time!
  5. Engage in fantastic conversation with your prospective employer, by being prepared and selling yourself (both in your CV and at the Interview). Quantify your skills and list relevant notable achievements. 
  6. Twenty years later and candidates still think that they can get away with misrepresenting their academic qualification, omitting periods of employment or reasons for leaving a certain employer. Transparency is king…always.

In summary, you should work alongside your recruiter because the candidate/client journey has changed, the power has shifted and the pace of recruiting and securing talent for retention has increased remarkably.  They can take your pain away and want to partner with you.

Over many years we have seen organisations take on and retrench; we’ve seen applicants come and go.  We’ve watched with interest (and pride) how the careers of the candidates’ whom we placed way back in the early 2000s have just blossomed and expanded. And with equal excitement, we will watch how a batch of young people who start in new jobs this month, survive and thrive!

We have also chosen to embrace the technology at our disposal to allow us to work smarter and faster, giving us more time to invest in what matters most, which is keeping it “human” and personal.  Our team grows stronger daily with the notion that placing people in the right role, at the right time and in the right organisation, truly changes lives.         


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