Posts Tagged ‘ agencies ’

In-house Recruiters – behaviours and ethics, improvements needed

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Whenever in-house recruiting practitioners come together online or in person you can bet your house the conversation will soon turn to the use of recruitment agencies and soon thereafter to how bad or unethical they usually are.  Some of the more entertaining discussions in the online communities I am a member of are full of anecdotes of bad practice, lack of integrity, stupidity…..well the list goes on. Sadly the comments are all too true, frequent and similar in nature, so it is hardly surprising that all agencies good or bad tend to get grouped together as bad.

 

However on a number of occasions recently I have been party to some discussions and comments from the other perspective; those made by recruitment agencies about the issues they have with HR, in-house recruiters or hiring managers.  Some of them are the expected moans about an inability to sell, usually coming from a blatant lack of understanding for their customers and not worth the consideration, others however deserve much more.

 

Whilst the in-house recruiters might enjoy “agency bashing” as a frequent activity, the agency sales people do have some genuine reasons to “bash” back.    I give you a mashup of a couple of incidents from earlier this year, as an example of one of really poor behaviour.  Sadly the in-house recruiters involved are members of The FIRM and yes they still are, in the hope that they will learn from others.  Discussions have been had.

 

An agency is briefed on a role by an employer about a specific vacancy, asked to find suitable applicants and submit CVs accordingly.  The agency supplies CVs to the inhouse Recruitment Manager as requested, in accordance with procedures.  The Recruitment Manager contacts the candidates directly and attempts to bypass the agency. 

 

Because this is a mashup of incidents, much of the detail from each is omitted, including the names of all parties, but you get the gist.

 

Let’s be clear on this, if the agency has been asked to provide CVs for a particular role and responds accordingly I cannot think of any justification why this kind of behaviour is acceptable. You should be ashamed. 

 

I’d be interested to hear if anyone can try to justify it.  This is also I am sure, just one of many moans or genuine complaints that could be aimed at in-house recruiters.

 

Many in-house practitioners generally take the high moral ground when it comes to ethics and professionalism and become quite partisan in either promoting or defending that position, myself included, yet I am all too aware that there is merit in what the agencies say and based on the above I am sure few would disagree.   A couple of years ago I presented to an audience of over 100 inhouse recruiters and used the words “you are not as good as you think you are”.  I had learned that at the time as a result of my own, then recent, job hunting experiences. As a result of the growth of the in-house recruiting function in the last two years I believe this to still be the case today, more than ever. 

 

To be able to do our jobs properly we have to act with integrity. This is true when dealing with everyone in the candidate supply chain, no matter how they are sourced.  To behave any other way is not only a mistake, but so damaging to your recruitment brand and to your own personal reputation.  Even if you don’t have your own personal code of conduct, your company should without doubt. 

 

I am not saying you have to deal with recruitment agencies, however I am saying that if you chose to, then doing so with the highest levels of professionalism and honesty can only be a good thing.  I would hope that members of The FIRM think and behave the same way. 

 

I welcome all comments and thoughts on this one

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LinkedIn – Blank Invites to Connect …………why?

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I must get between 10 and 20 invitations to connect with people I don’t know each week on LinkedIn. Many of them come from recruitment agencies. I am okay with this; after all it is what LinkedIn is for.

What I don’t understand however is why nearly all of them have no message in them. They offer no reason or qualification why the connection is relevant to me or to them for that matter. I can make assumptions but………………..

It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to write a quick note. LinkedIn even makes it straight forward by limiting the number of words for those literarily challenged.

Is there a logical reason for this? Am I missing something? Lazy, rude and spam?

Recruiters – What are your 3 Burning Questions?

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A month or so ago Emma and I were invited to present at the End of Year Recruitment Conference held this last week and organised by The Recruiter Network. This would be the first time we had stood up as The FIRM in a public environment and wanted to do something that was in keeping with our core values – we chose “sharing knowledge”.

There are many ways in which standards can be raised for hiring managers, recruiting practitioners working in-house and for sales people working at agencies; arguably the biggest of these is by gaining an understanding of how we all work. It is probably fair to say that very few agency staff know what it is like to work in house or what the roles and responsibilities of recruitment or HR practitioners are and the challenges they have.  There are guesses; some right, some wrong, but rarely known

With this in mind we felt a little information sharing could go a long way. If the in-house function is performing well, has the sophistication, resources, competencies and desire then the use of agencies will be eliminated in that organisation. However, I doubt very much that this model is widely adopted and that the vast majority of companies will chose to use the services of agencies for one reason or another. Let us remember though that the vast majority of companies do not have a dedicated competent in-house Rescouring teams and as such companies choose to use agencies. Hiring managers who manage their own process typically won’t have a clue how to resource properly, despite what they themselves will think and as such will tend to use an agency or worse, multiple agencies for expedience. Nothing wrong with that if it works well for all parties.

So to our presentation. The idea was to ask agencies what their Burning Questions are and discuss some of the reasons the questions needed to be asked and hopefully provide answers and insights.

1. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as a recruitment consultant, would like to ask your customers (hiring managers)?

2. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as a recruitment consultant, would like to ask HR or Resourcing teams at your customers or prospects?

3. What are the 3 biggest issues or frustrations you have when dealing with HR or Resourcing functions?

The questions were posted on Surveymonkey. Using Twitter and the UK Recruiter newsletter we invited agencies to ask away.

We were given a 50 minute speaking slot at the start of the conference and as such unfortunately we couldn’t discuss every question asked. Some were just too stupid anyway.  These are the ones we addressed or at least we tried to on the day. Thanks to the discussion in the room amongst the delegates we sort of ran out of time.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Question 1. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as the recruitment consultant, would like to ask your customers (hiring managers)?

  • What is more important, cutting costs or finding the right candidate?
  • What would be your ideal Agency/Customer relationship?

Question 2. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as the recruitment consultant, would like to ask HR or Resourcing teams at your customers or prospects?

  • Do you have favourite agencies/recruiters and why?
  • Why do you block access to hiring managers, even when we are a recognised and trusted partner?

Question 3. What are the 3 biggest issues or frustrations you have when dealing with HR or Resourcing functions?

  • Feedback …………or a lack of it
  • Poor job descriptions or briefings on the positions
  • Not responding to telephone calls (messages) or emails

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From many of the questions it is clear that some agencies really do want to learn in order to help their customers. It was also clear from some of the reactions in the room to the answers we were giving that agencies simply do not know nor can they comprehend the scale of some of the challenges in-house people have – there were gasps after Emma gave one example of what her teams are dealing with on a daily basis. It is also clear that many companies would do better by engaging more with their suppliers and teaching each other how to work together.  Better results for all I suspect will be realised.

I welcome further questions

I welcome further answers

If you would like to discuss any of these questions or any others that you have please let me know. My contact details can be found here.

An old post: Will I Win? or I Will Win!

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Originally posted 23 September 2009

I read a very good article this morning, one that made me think hard about behaviour, rationale and the power and control of my own mind

In the article by Peter Bregman in the Harvard Business Blog showed how simple mind games can have a very adverse affect on our personality and our lives. It is a great article and really struck home how much control we give to our imagination and creating fantasies that can all to easily become reality.

In describing the two scenarios; his own personal anxieties after being stung by a number of hornets and the behaviour and actions of his friend in the work place I am sure Peter has outlined situations that we can all see ourselves doing in our daily lives. I certainly can – it is only human nature surely.

Will I Win? or I Will Win! Exactly the same number of letters, the same number words. All that is different is the order they are in. The first has doubt and insecurity running all through it, whereas coming at the same words from a different perspective and using them slight differently they become full of certainty and confidence.

So by taking control of your imagination and reeling in the fantasy before you start living it you’ll have better options. Positive Mental Attitude is what it’s all about. And we can control that! I’m neither an evangelist nor an expert on the issues at all and don’t intend to preach but I read this article and it reminded me that by taking the positive “I Will Win!” stance is actually more enjoyable and relaxing than asking the question.

How much visibility do you want / need when Job Hunting? – Day 32 #myjobhunt

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Since Day 1 I have been blogging frequently about my quest for a new job. When I started I did it purely to reflect on the day past. Within 2 days this had changed. The response I got from people gave me confidence and made me realize that this blog could be a fundamental tool in my job hunting activities. By the end of the first week I couldn’t believe the response and support I had received from so many people, some of whom I had already met, many I had not. It was however Week 2 that things really took off and by the end of Week 3 I had secured my first offer (Day 16). I think I have already written about how I got to Week 3 previously and will no doubt do so again in more detail, once #myjobhunt comes to a conclusion, if in fact it does before I lose interest in writing about it.

Since Week 3 and that offer I have come to realize something and it has been on my mind since. I have made my job hunting activities so open and visible to people, what will happen and what will people think of me if I don’t secure a job? Of course it is inevitable that people will start to wonder why people don’t want me. What will happen if I get a job and then it doesn’t work out? What if I can’t cope? What if …..? What if…..? So many what ifs? I have asked myself if writing this blog was the sensible thing to do in the first place and how can I stop without any negative impact.

Then I looked at the positives of the blog. The blog almost became my CV, the opportunities it created for me, not only actual jobs, but further discussions to take my career in a different direction have been constant throughout the last six and a bit weeks. Some are not for me, others have been too much for me i.e. I didn’t think I was ready or not likely to meet the expectations of role. Some have been great but the salary or rate and location hasn’t worked well. Others still haven’t mature yet and may or may not at all.

The blog has given me so many new perspectives on things; it has taught me some huge lessons about the market and the ability (or lack of) of the many practitioners in it; good and bad. It has made me think and be more reflective about what I want and what I can do. The good thing is that all of the lessons learned will be taken into my next job and built upon and shared with my colleagues, hopefully adding value at each step. This whole journey has taught me so much and no matter what, I expect I will still continue to blog in such a manner going forward.

This quest, this journey so far has been very emotional; worrying, stressful, annoying, humbling, inspiring, enjoyable, amusing. I have to this point, every step of the way enjoyed it immensely and I have made some terrific new friends.

Music of Day 32 – Daydream Believer by The Monkees – very loud and singing on the train!!! Oh yes I did! And others joined in!

How much visibility do you want / need when Job Hunting?

On Day 30 I got the call I was waiting for (and dreading!).

Today I accepted a job. I start 1st October 2010.

THANK YOU EVERYONE

How do I get onto your PSL?

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If you haven’t yet come across UK Recruiter I recommend a visit and a read. Run by Louise Triance, UK Recruiter not only provides a wealth of information to all those involved in the UK recruitment market, but Louise is a big advocate of getting agencies and in-house recruiters to network and cooperate with each other.

Louise recently asked for contributions to her “Recruiter Clinic” series by asking various people involved with the recruitment business “What is the question you are asked the most often?” and “What is the answer you give?”

I was pleased to help.

This is the question I get asked the most: How do I get onto your PSL?

Answer:
Many large organisations with traditional purchasing models follow complicated and cumbersome RFQ, RFI and tendering processes to select the suppliers for their PSL. There is no sure fire way of getting through the rules, weighting and scoring matrices that can be set up by procurement teams I’m afraid. This kind of process and the resulting set up, tend to leave suppliers feeling they are being kept at and arm’s length, with limited relationship potential, other than that of traditional supplier/buyer and that any quality in service is diminished. I agree. It’s a lottery and to be honest a waste of energy and time for all concerned.

In organisations where there is more emphasis on quality of service and importance placed on cooperation and understanding of the business, as well as the personalities required in the different roles, it is crucial that you build a relationship with the key stakeholders. These will either be with the in-house recruiting teams or the hiring manager.

A bit of advice, if the organisation you are trying to sell to has an in-house recruiting team, bypass them at your peril, for they can be the decision makers not only on which agency to deal with, but also on which people will be hired. You will almost certainly ruin any chance you have of dealing with that company if you try and go around the in-house recruiting team to the hiring managers directly.

Within such organisations PSL’s are built based on suppliers’ previous track record with a company, on feedback and input they get from the hiring managers. In-house teams in many of the HR departments talk to each other and compare notes on agencies, especially if they are members of The FIRM, and thus it is important that the levels and quality of service you offer is of the highest standards at all times.

If you are invited to give a presentation as part of a PSL review, be sure that you know the company you are presenting to inside out. You have to know the scope and scale of the company, which markets in operates in, who its competitors are, what the competitors are doing (in respect of sales strategy, reorgs, hiring) why they hire, how they hire, what competences they look for in the various departments, what technologies are important to that market, what is the buzz in the market, what legislation could affect them. This is more information than you can possibly get from an hours superficial searching on the internet. This is proper and through research, but it has to be done if you want to have any credibility. If you can clearly show that you know the market better than the in-house recruiters then you will be adding value already.

Hope this helps

Job Hunting, it’s all about Commitment, Confidence, Calls and Choices – Day 30 #myjobhunt

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This post represents my feelings from last week. If I were to keep true to the trend established in previous posts it would be a summation of Day 30 of #myjobhunt, which represents 6 full weeks of job hunting. Yet, I am going to sum up my feelings of Week 6 rather than making the post about a specific day.

Having been away with a great group of people at #SocRecCamp the previous weekend the week started on a high. I was just happy to have had the experiences in Devon. As the week progressed my mood changed.

Week 6 was certainly the lowest I have been throughout my quest for work or at least that was how I felt at times. A few things started to dawn on me that made me question what I was doing, why I was doing it and what it meant for my wife and I. It also made me question what I was actually looking for. Did I want the perfect job where my competencies and experiences could be fully utilized; a job that I would feel a passion for, a commitment to and one that would give me the challenges and the satisfactions that many don’t get to realize. Or did I want a pay packet?

I was beginning to wonder.

When I first started out Week 1 caught me by surprise, the number of opportunities I uncovered and the number of vacancies that my friends and colleagues passed my way was overwhelming as was the constant support. It all looked so positive and continued to look that way for a few weeks. In Week 6 however the number of appealing opportunities had come down to just 3 positions that I had interviews for. So my pipeline was very thin, opportunities coming my way were fewer, and fewer still were appealing. At the same time others who I know were getting jobs and starting them inside my own 6 week window. So of course I had to ask myself if I had the right mental approach, as well as if I had the right approach and strategy to job hunting.

As great as it seemed to test the power of Social Media and not use agencies I still have bills to pay. When I started #myjobhunt I did not aim to only use Social Media – all I wanted was a job. Yet after a few days my confidence was such that I became the biggest advocate of Social Media as a job hunting tool or set of tools. By Week 6 my confidence was waning, in fact it started waning in Week 4, once I became officially unemployed, as the doubts and the natural concerns about the future crept in.

It is not just about me either. I’ve been in similar positions before and was hoping never to be back here again. Each of those times my wife was a rock, a fantastic support even when things got as bad as they could have done. I didn’t want to put her through the worry again. It was obvious to me that once my gardening leave and my employment finished in Week 4, her stress and worry levels more than doubled. Then after our decision on Day 26 to withdraw my application from that technology company I decided I had to make her a promise – I promised to have accepted a job by the end of September. I was confident that I could get a contract; even one that didn’t advance my career would still pay the bills. I had also resigned myself to using agencies to hunt for work. I don’t care. We need to live.

These are all issues and concerns that all out of work job hunters go through; I know I am not alone.

All these feelings despite having had a terrific interview on Wednesday and a few other leads coming my way. If the Wednesday option doesn’t pan out then I would actually be starting all over again, back to Day 1 or Day 2, and I suppose it was this realization that hit hard. Or was it just that I had interviewed for that one job that I really wanted?

On Thursday a contract position that I had interviewed for in Week 2 disappeared on me. The company concerned changed strategy and thus the need for contract support went away. This didn’t help my mood or my confidence.

The call I wanted didn’t come.

On Friday morning, Day 30, I got loads of Twitter DM’s, texts and emails from people all asking me how I was. Whilst I so appreciated the support, I was trying to get my head away from the anxiety of wanting the phone to ring by doing something else. A two mile run helped but I felt like I was a teenager again. I even Tweeted a message later in the day, “Why don’t they call?” – I got some stupid answers to that!

I had to go out at about 1pm. This is a good thing; it meant that I would be busy and likely as not be able to get a signal on my phone. Still every time my phone rang with a number I didn’t recognise or with number blocked my stomach did some gymnastics. Each time it rang with a number I did recognise I answered but wanted them off the line soonest. It was one of those days were I was in and out of signal so that each time I got a signal I checked voice mail and returned calls only to have more calls come through and leave messages whilst on the phone. The call I wanted didn’t come through.

If you’ve read previous posts you will know I don’t get a signal at my home and have taken to walking or driving to the top of the hill about half a mile away to get one. So having left home at 1pm and not heard anything by 4pm I was resigned to not getting the call until Monday. I was actually okay with this. After all there was actually nothing I could do at this point. I was nearly home at 5.20pm and about 20-30 seconds from losing signal when I got the call.

I now have a choice.

Music of Day 30 – Nothing Else Matters by Metallica – I know, seriously I was listening to the Black album – coincidence eh?

Thanks for reading