What will push your buttons to stay in agency land?

Over the last 18 months, we have seen 5,348 consultants leave the recruitment sector, however at the same time we have seen an increase in active recruitment agencies. There are currently 1,720 recruitment consultant jobs advertised on seek alone. A question I believe is worth asking is how will these new and existing agencies bring consultants back or attract new talent to our recovering sector?

For the majority of recruiters, we move from one business to another for certain things; be it a prestige brand, a mentoring manager, PSA’s or financial gain. However, are there agencies offering all of these qualities, if any?

What would get you to move to another agency, or what do you think makes your agency the best?

The current 'essentials' for me is the management and culture. It is rare to find a “people manager” in recruitment; usually it’s a high billing consultant that has moved up the ranks and, in some rare cases, this can work. Luckily enough, after years within the industry, I’ve finally got a true people manager! Relating to culture - it is different for everyone but personally I think we need to encourage a “work hard/play hard” environment. In recruitment, we seem to lack the team environment that most other industries promote. Between the draw-locking of candidates and candidate-stealing, how can we foster a team culture in such a cut throat sector?

I’m keen to hear your thoughts and suggestions of what you feel the recruitment companies of today are missing and what would you jump for?

Views: 109

Comment by Jerry Albright on October 4, 2010 at 9:46am
With the technology available today - I just can not see why anyone would want to move from one agency to another without fully exploring the option of working for him/herself.

20 years ago it was just not practical to think you could go on your own. The agencies had the databases and the cost of phone calls alone would hurt you within a few months. That's all changed now.

Unless you MUST be a part of a team - catching up over the latest gossip at the coffee pot each morning - (and you feel that is worth 50-100K each year) - there is just no reason to join another agency once you learn the profession.
Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on October 4, 2010 at 1:23pm
Go on your own.....
Comment by Sandra McCartt on October 4, 2010 at 4:16pm
Believe it or not you are already "on your own". You just pay somebody else at least 50% of what you make for the illusion that you aren't.
Comment by Matthew Stedman on October 5, 2010 at 10:52am
I know people who have left employment to start on their own - only to be back working in the same company 6 months later. I agree the benefits are rewards are far greater working for yourself, but unless you have a real drive and focus it can be a disaster.

Some people become really unproductive without the constant pressure from their managers, KPI's and competition of the office.
Comment by Paul Alfred on October 5, 2010 at 11:11am
Well Said Sandra well said ....
Comment by Barbara Goldman on October 5, 2010 at 6:41pm
You are on your own. There are no two ways about it, this is a commissioned position. I've been hiring independents lately. The people that have succesfully joined us are people who went out on their own, and then found it very difficult to make an income.

From what I can tell, and I've interviewed scores of experienced recruiters, the reasons for changing and moving from one firm to another are either an uneasiness with the culture, or a feeling that the recruiting commission should be higher.

The recruiter is the dealmaker. Without the recruiter, the firm has nothing. So, bitterness and resentment develop when one recruiter, or two recruiters pull an entire office. The top producer needs to be paid more, but the problem is overhead for the comany. The 80/20 rule is true in most offices, 20 % of the recruites do 80% of the business. So, a bigger cut for the top producers gives the owner too slim of a margin to be able to hire and train recruiters.

It is interesting that the top producers are not necessarily successful when on their own. I think that some personalities thrive in an environment working with others. Also, recruiters tend to go on their own too soon. I believe it takes five years to learn this business. I've seen more rookie 'stars' go out on their own and fail than experienced recruters. The experience brings the ability to survive in different economic makets, and with the myriad of situations that arise from day to day.
Comment by Zahra Sandberg on October 5, 2010 at 6:53pm
One of my essentials is also management and culture- that is the main reason why I am with my current firm. I left once to another firm, only to return after six months, realizing that the grass is NOT always greener. Working for a firm, to me, is not just to catch the "latest gossip at the coffee pot" as Jerry put it...

In my role as an Account Executive, basically responsible for bringing orders in - I thrive in a competitive environment where we are all working hard to hit our budget goals. Even just hearing other people making calls can encourage me to pick up the phone once again. I also love the fact that my firm has been around for over forty years and holds a strong reputation in my area, which allows me to sell our services with genuine company pride, somthing that would take years for me to establish on my own. I'm also just not interested in handling everything, like full desk recruiting, accounting, HR & Benefits, etc.
So for people like me, starting my own firm is not really appealing - at least not at this point in my career.
One of the strategies my company uses to promote a team environment, but also balance out the ownership of candidates issue, is the two-day rule. A candidate is "owned" by a recruiter for 48 hours, and then it is pretty much a free for all. Unless a candidate is in the interview process. We have 10 account execs bringing in orders- and 14 recruiters - so as an order is distributed, the recruiter should be calling their candidate within the two day time frame- or another recruiter can feel free to call. We look at it like this, if we don't share candidates with eachother- our competition may share them for us. It is in the best interest of the company to place the candidate, where ever that may be. Hope that helps!
Comment by Jennifer Heald on October 5, 2010 at 9:37pm
Hi all
Thank you so much for your comments.

Special thanks to Matthew, Barbara and Zahra. That was the kind of feedback and relevant suggestions I was really looking for to attract new talent.

Have an great day and i look forward to hearing more suggestions. :)
Comment by pam claughton on October 6, 2010 at 8:29am
Hi Jennifer,
This is an interesting question and while I am one of the ones who went on my own, it wasn't until I'd been at my firm for 10 years and frankly the main reason I left wasn't because I was dying to go on my own it was because the culture changed along with several managers and I didn't enjoy the environment anymore. Several other top billers left as well for similar reasons and ironically, we now work together. :) But, they were not looking to leave either.

So my point is that I don't think the majority of top recruiters really are looking to go on their own. I think it depends where someone is in their life and working at a good agency is a great decision for a lot of people.

What we saw when people came to our agency from another was that in most instances it was similar to the reason I left, the culture changed and usually management changed. Sometimes commission structures changed for the worse or sometimes accounts may have been re-distributed.

So how to attract these people? Sell your culture. A good working environment, one that is collaborative and friendly and 'work hard, play hard' is enticing. Sell the opportunity, do you have an aggressive commission structure? One that increases along with billing and seniority? Do you offer flexibility? The ability work work from home one day a week? That was something I loved when I worked at an agency, working from home on Fridays.....interestingly, now that I have my own firm I'm in every day. :)

You might also want target more junior level people who have potential, as they may be more inclined to want all that an agency environment offers. When I was in my late 20's, I was the youngest one at my agency and never dreamed of leaving. I also lived in the city then and loved the whole lifestyle of socializing and going out after work with co-workers. By the time I left, I was in my late 30's and had moved to the suburbs so had a long commute, so my priorities had changed.

Also a huge sell is that people manager you mentioned, especially if that person also works a desk and can lead by example. That was super important when I first started to have a working manager to learn from.
Comment by Jerry Albright on October 6, 2010 at 8:38am
Jennifer - you're right. The question wasn't whether a recruiter should work on their own. It was how to attract them to an agency. Sorry for changing your topic.

I would think a recruiter would want to know there is activity at the agency. If I were to go on an interview I would want to hear the phones ringing. I'd like to see recruiters working with each other - strategizing on sendouts or mapping out their job orders on a white board.

If I were to look around and see everyone just pecking at a keyboard - looking as if they're wondering what to work on - it would cause me concern.

If I were a great recruiter but not good at client development I would want to know there was a strong account manager or two that I would source for. If I brought a strong acct development background I would want to see evidence in the team's ability to deliver candidates for the new clients I would bring in.

Most of all I'd be looking for sharp people, dressed professionally enjoying their day.

Good luck. Oh - and great commissions (progressive scale) would certainly help!


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