Time to reinvent yourself

Roger Philby on Adversity - the mother of all invention? Lord, I hope so!

I can think of no other industry where creativity, new ideas and therefore invention is more lacking than in recruitment. If processors have Moore’s law, recruitment has ‘sod’s law’, as in sod’s law the agency will charge you a percentage of the salary which bears no relation to the work done, or sod’s law they won’t deliver what they said they would. So, if this recession is the mother of all recessions, maybe this is the one where we will see recruitment agencies reinvent themselves. Personally, I think the current model of intermediary is dying - and if not dead, on its death bed. Don’t believe me? Try reading What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis or FREE by Chris Andersen.

The basic economics for the client do not stack up any more: why pay 25-30% to an intermediary when for far less they can employ a researcher, or use a fixed-fee job board or LinkedIn (isn’t that just what you recruiters are doing?). In the current model it doesn’t work for the client, so their reaction is, ‘drop your fees (pants)’ and there are many a recruiter today with their pants firmly by their ankles.
So as the cash cow declines, us recruiters should be doing two things, firstly:

  • Demonstrate value - Listen to the client; they have the answer!

Even chickens can fly in a hurricane, and that’s been the recruitment market for the last five years. Agencies have done well, despite having no
differentiating factor at all. As the calm comes, these guys are dropping out of the sky and pecking at fewer roles - literally scratching in the dirt.

However, there is hope! Clients will pay for perceived value, so we can create our own stay of execution by listening to the customer and learning from it… they are saying ‘we need to save money’. That doesn’t mean you need to drop your trousers - just articulate your value. Where can you save them money? What service could you offer for free? If the best you can offer is a salary survey - then get in the truck, as it’ll be the slaughterhouse for you!

  • Innovate - Listen to the client and the candidate. They have the answer!

Your current model is dead. You can choose not to believe me, but rest assured the guys who innovate now and produce the ‘game changing’ service(s) will reap the new client and candidate zeitgeist.

These are exciting times to be in recruitment; the clients and candidates are ready for change. Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, once said: “Innovation is to distinguish between a leader and a follower.” Time to decide what you want to be… Adversity - the mother of all invention? Lord, I hope so!

Next issue: In-House Hannah returns

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This week’s contracts and deals include: CSG

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This week’s new product, offices and offerings include: Franklin Fitch, Infused Learning

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This week’s appointments include: Bullhorn, Caburn Hope, Eames Consulting, Knowit, Morgan McKinley, Nakama Group, Outsource UK

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