Two things have happened in the past couple of weeks that has made me realise why recruiters generally have a poor reputation amongst both clients and job seekers. This poor reputation is not confined to external recruiters but also internal recruiters or Talent Acquisition people.
Before I talk about the instances let me say from the outset that I am neither perfect or do I believe that every recruiter performs their job without care. What did happen has made me think fundamentally about the role of a recruiter, his/her relationship with those that interact with them and how the business is perceived by its users.
I am currently helping my 20 year old son secure his first job. He has prepared a well written CV, and is applying for entry level roles involving IT and computers in the London area. These roles are advertised either by recruitment agencies or by companies employing internal talent acquisition staff. His applications have been either through job boards (Monster, TotalJobs, Reed etc.) or direct to the company or agency. All in all he has now made 10 applications in the past 2 weeks. He has not had one single response from any of these applications – positive or negative, be it a standard letter. Nothing.
Last week I advertised a New Business Director role on two major marketing focussed job boards. Our policy towards ‘no’ letters has been to forward those candidates details who we feel are not appropriate to our part time administrative assistant to process and ‘reject’. As I knew he was away and unlikely to act on the responses for the New Business role for at least 2 weeks I decided to do them myself. Nearly every person I wrote to then wrote back thanking me for the ‘reject’ letter and promising to register for our email alerts. One email in particular stuck out where the individual said he will gladly register with us as we were ‘head and shoulders’ above our competitors and indeed everybody else in the recruitment industry by replying!
So – the question is why? Why don’t recruiters respond to applications? My 20 year old son looking for his first data-entry job may one day become an MD of a company. He is certainly a very gifted individual (if I am allowed to say so myself!). He may join a business competitor to one of the companies that he has recently applied to directly and rise through the ranks and then become of interest by the ‘silent’ business. Indeed one of his friends now or in the future may ask him what he thinks of that said company – his response will be – they ignored me when I was seeking my first job.
Talent Acquisition? – pah! From his experience and from others I’ve heard about this function will do for recruitment what offshore call centres has done for customer service. Recruiters? Their reputation is somewhere on a par with undesired door to door salesman and ‘chuggers’.
I see organisations such as REC and IOR talk about raising standards and ‘ethical’ behaviour, charging a fee to join their organisations but the most basic, fundamental thing, the number one complaint from people about recruiters – replying to candidates - they have nothing to say about in their articles of association so consequently have little or no value to their industry or the people they are supposed to help and utilise their members' services
So, what does this mean for Premier Consultants? Well for one thing we have now made it our policy to respond to every single response- personally. We will give feedback on why people have not been progressed if requested. We may fail but we will try and email everyone.
Finally if you don’t believe it makes a difference read this email sent in response to a reject letter below: -
First and foremost I wish to thank you for your email, so few companies one applies to have the simple decency to reply and I can honestly say (for what is no doubt the silent and slighted majority) it really does make a large and very personal difference.
At the very least I will continue to view Premier Consultants as a company with the interests of all its customers in mind (on both sides of the net!)
With very many thanks and kind regards
Thank you for reading. RW 14-09-2012