Is the recruitment industry as smart as it portrays itself?
Recently, I've been doing some competitor analysis - I'm a UK-based headhunter by the way, so my research was biased in that direction - and I've been surprised by the results. There are probably two main threads that betray some pretty poor thinking and activity ...
1 Headhunters give dreadful candidate feedback - if any
This is more completely covered in my blog Hold your nose, there's a headhunter coming through. I've been applying for jobs where I've made certain my skills and experience are a good match. I've applied personally and tailored my CV/resume and covering letter. I'm not disappointed that I didn't get the job....or even and interview....but I'm shocked at the number of acknowledgements I've received. So far.........none.
2 Headhunters/Recruiters have dreadful websites
I judge a company by its website. They are a real reflection of the internal thinking that goes on. Too often recruitment websites are so generic that they weaken a company's image, rather than improve it. You get the sense they have a website just because everybody else has one. I don't have to like a website, but I have to be able to find my way round and understand a clear language that speaks to me and tells me what marks this recruiter out as different. Here's a list of my main gripes:
1. Blogs that are dead. No entries for months, or in some cases, years. If you're not going to blog, don't pretend.
2. Generic images. Photographs of grinning idiots shaking hands, people sitting around a boardroom table looking nothing like directors, thrusting youngish people talking on a phone (shot taken from below to emphasise power), people hanging around a lift (don't understand that one at all, but it's very common), images of globes, somebody making a presentation (often next to a white board), pictures of ladders etc - you know the sort of thing I'm talking about!
3. Lazy language. Words that just say nothing. Somebody has just said all the right things, but without any sense of style, or conviction. It's bland and boring, and if somebody can't be bothered to get that right on their website (a decent copywriter's not expensive), why would it be a surprise that nobody would trust them with their assignments.
4. Words like 'honesty', 'integrity', 'quality', 'professionalism', should be regarded as given. Writing about them gives the sense that the author is trying too hard, and is simply writing something to fill a space.
"Ah ahh" you might say, "If you're such a bright spark, then this should be an opportunity for you Martin", and you're right up to a point, but at least in the UK, and at least as a headhunter, these issues spread a tarnish that's reflects on all of us.
And what I've just written doesn't apply to everybody, but my unscientific research tells me it applies to most. I came across some stunning exceptions, but they were in the minority.
I'm now going to take a new look at my website. Perhaps I'm not as smart as I like to think.