Posts Tagged ‘ agency ’

Do You Really Need to Ask About Salary?

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In the last two weeks one thing has stood out for me, leaving me feeling slightly uneasy because I am unsure whether I am right or not, strangely despite how I feel about it.

I’ve had a view on a particular matter as a recruiter and recruitment manager over the last few years and then much more so as a candidate last year during #myjobhunt and more recently.

What do you think when you are asked “What is your current salary or package?”

Do you answer? Why do you answer?

What purpose does it serve to ask the question? What purpose will it serve to answer the question? Surely this is an irrelevant question and on one’s business but mine?

In organisations where a rigid grade or compensation policy doesn’t exist, I can understand knowing what someone is currently earning helps construct an offer and package to fit the candidate and helps to avoid over paying someone. Yet is it still relevant? Shouldn’t you know how much you want to and can pay and still achieve worth to your business? Are you not asking for a multitude of problems and challenges by making yourselves open to negotiation.

In the larger more complex organisations the compensation packages are mapped directly to the Job Families and the Grades. New vacancies are generally submitted and approved based on the budget available, grade and salary banding (the guidance received from either the Recruiting or the Compensation & Benefits departments). Offers are made accordingly to qualified candidates.

Last year it seemed that only agencies or search firms had an interest in what I was earning in my previous job. None could provide me with a good enough reason for me to give them the info. I can only assume that they preferred to take short cuts to categorise me by a job title and salary to ensure an easy deal closure, rather than my personality, achievements, competencies and potential. Whereas the expert recruiters and interviewers at prospective employers didn’t need to ask. I was assessed and judged properly.

This year is no different. In the last two weeks I have refused to give an answer to that question to three different companies. They come up with all sorts of reasons why they needed to know, one even stating that their client, an HRD in an FTSE 100 organisation, had asked for availability and salary information to be put on a cover sheet. Expectations maybe, but I cannot imagine anyone asking for current info. Why would anyone need to know this?

All the time I was looking to move on from my last job and when I finally took the plunge, I was constantly asking myself, agencies and search companies –

“Why should the limitations and salary restrictions of my current/previous employer have any bearing or influence on what a future employer might consider I am worth to them?”

Please think about it – I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of others on this.

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

What does the Recruitment Industry Compete on?

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In a departure from #myjobhunt blog series

Recently I was asked “What do you think are the key factors that the recruitment industry competes on?”

My Answer:

You have to think about what you are competing for. Are agencies and search firms competing for the potential candidates or are they competing for the actual deal with the customer? They should have both in mind always.

Of course if competing for the candidates you have to be able to present yourself as credible and effective. An agency has to present itself as knowing the market as well as the ins and outs of the customer they are representing to the candidate, without the hard sell. They have to know all there is to know to ensure that the candidate has sufficient information to determine if the job and company is suitable. Also armed with the customer knowledge the agency recruiter will be able to determine accurately if a candidate can be turned into a credible applicant in front of the customer.

Competing at the customer level we look for agencies or suppliers that will be able to represent our brand, our company and the position we are recruiting for as if they work for us; much like a sales channel does for products. If a search firm or agency can show they have the ability to understand our business, our processes and our culture then they will be equipped to sell our proposition to each candidate and be of greater service and thus value to all parties.

To compete we all have to be in the position to represent ourselves to each other and meet the expectations of all involved. If as a customer I respect the agency or search firm – and more importantly the person I am dealing with – I will invest the time to educate them and equip them to better represent me. In doing so the agency or search firm will be armed to earn the trust of the candidate. The candidate will have confidence that they will be represented to the customer and the customer will have the confidence that their brand is in safe hands. The customer will appreciate that candidates from that particular source will be thoroughly vetted and closest to the mark.

So answer to the question; the industry competes on knowledge and credibility……………oh yeah, for the poorly managed in-house PSL structures its all about price and not quality of service and the poorly equipped agencies all compete on speed of service rather than quality.

I welcome thoughts and comments on this one please

Recruiters Recruiting Recruiters – I am learning lots, are you? – Day 19 #myjobhunt

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Today I tried to get back into the mood of the first two weeks, focused on how to try and build again a strong pipeline of opportunity. I knew I didn’t have the time to focus on it today but I had to think it through. Over the last two weeks many opportunities have come along, but very few of them have actually matured into anything. Some as a result of them not being the right fit, others because of the lack of follow-up, follow through or just respond. And not on my part either. More on this later. But I had to find more to keep my options open.

Coffee machine on, laptop on, Planet Rock loaded. On Planet rock at the moment they have Alice Cooper as the morning DJ, not the best choice I must say, because he does talk some crap! Today he was playing it as well. Grateful to iTunes thought. My own coffee was particularly good this morning. I only had about 90 minutes before I had to go out for an hour or so. Emails first. Quiet though. Very quiet indeed. The first time in ages that I hadn’t a single email to respond to. Strangely Twitter was quite too. Well until about 7am and then all of my Twitter buddies woke up at the same time. Worrying that they may have all gone to #SocRecCamp a week early without me. Definitely more on this next week. Oh yes indeed.

The #earlyshift was mad for about 60 minutes and quite amusing; the rain dominating many of the conversations; stories of soaked and miserable summer holidays from around the UK. It is a shame when we had 30C degree, plus, heat through June and July.

Right, Day 19 was to be dominated by a telephone interview rearranged from previously failed attempts and a face-to-face interview, both with the same company and would effectively be interviews 5 & 6. I made sure I was in a good signal area a good 15 minutes before the call was due and waited until 20 minutes after the allotted time. No call. I must say that at this stage I was very disappointed to say the least. Shame – what to do? Do I withdraw my application or see how the afternoon session pans out? The latter commonsense approach wins out but confidence is now obviously low. Whose wouldn’t be, eh?

On the journey of about 45 mins to the interview I get a call back from one of the companies than have a position I have been very keen about for the last few weeks. Unfortunately it as bad news. It would appear that this employer wanted someone with precise experience of managing large (yet 500 vacancies per year is not large) RPO engagements. So they want someone who does that, to change jobs to do that same again. Do people jump like for like? Well of course they do but the point is there are few that will and fewer still with the experience they thing they need for this job. Many relationship management skills and experiences are perfectly and undeniably transferrable for this role. Mine in particular as a Channel and Partner Manager would be a good example. A shame as it would have been a good use of my skills and personality to manage such a relationship. I can understand their position to a certain extent, but still it frustrates, especially as the job description was a good fit and the company offered an almost perfect brand to recruit for. I expect that this is not an unusual situation that many job hunters find themselves in, yet as a recruiter it does seem to have a bigger effect as we are taught to look for and assess the transferrable skills not ignore them! It is however important to remember it is not personal, it happens and there is nothing I can do about it. It is not something that I can have a direct influence over and thus need to just put it behind me.

I had to shake it off and be ready to perform in 30 minutes. I was quite grateful for the appalling weather and the amount of rain on the roads. I caused me to concentrate fully on the road. When I got to the interview I was ready.

The saving grace of the day was this interview with the Head of HR in EMEA. A very good experience to back up a very good impression of the offices, location and people I met and spoken with so far, as well as the information I know and have learned about them recently. To be fair apart from the one aforementioned potential interviewer the rest of the interviewing team have been a shining ambassadors for their brand. I have enjoyed the passion, enthusiasm and commitment to move the business forward. If they still want to see me I have a final interview next week with the global head of TA and am very excited about the prospect

Finally when I got home I had some decent email. One in particular from the professional career coach and CV writer who I mentioned in Day 1 and who had helped me with my CV. She came up a couple of ideas; one was for a company I had explored briefly three months ago, before I started #myjobhunt. It hadn’t lasted more than a couple of calls then but with another go from a different angle……..every option must be explored.

I also took some time to review the emails and the ideas that had come my way over the last 3 weeks and a list of those to follow up with has been compiled and will be acted upon tomorrow. I was also alarmed to see that there were a number of people who had contacted me, mostly in house recruiters and some I am afraid to say are members of The FIRM, who have not bothered to respond to my responses to their initial contacts. The FIRM has a goal to raise standards in all areas or recruiting, particularly our own. It is no wonder that candidates and agencies make their complaints. You let us all down by not trying to improve your own standards.

Music of Day 19 was Ballroom Blitz by The Sweet

What did I learn today? Not all recruiters are good at everything they do. Not all recruiters have the same nor keep to the same standards as I do. Over the last couple of years, I have complained about the poor behaviors at agencies. In meetings I’ve also heard agencies complain about the poor service they get from in house recruiters. I am beginning to empathise.

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring but i aint Snoring! -Day 7

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Day 7 rocked to the foundations, despite a very slow and groggy start.

Get up, coffee on and fire up laptop getting ready to go. Raining harder and steadier than we’ve seen in months and it doesn’t look like it is in a hurry to pass by either. No way I’m going out to feed the chickens in that! I reconcile this with the fact that I know they won’t want to leave their shelter and brave the rain just to get to the feeder, will they!

First task on the “work” list is to review all of those wanting to join The FIRM. I get a little sadistic pleasure in rejecting some of them – yeah as if it means anything!

So added a few today. It’s steady and then onto the next task. Finalising the newsletter. We send out a newsletter to all global members of The FIRM during the first week of the month with update and news. Emma did most of the work as always but just needed me to add a couple of items that had come to me at the last minute. This took a few hours to format and was ready to go out later in the day. I think each month we get better at it. We now feature a blog of the month; no it’s not me but Jim Stroud this month as well as a write up on a diversity event by one of the members. Plus the usual selection of offers for our members.

All of that and answering emails that had come in overnight had taken me to lunch time in the blink of an eye. Time then to start applying myself to #myjobhunt.

I was frustrated first thing not to have received emails I was expecting from a couple of people. Once I thought about it and looked closer I found them both in my spam filter. Why does that happen to legit emails? Then I remembered I have a new PC and the AV software purchased with it needs configuring. No guesses which one I have and trust :). So all tidied up and both emails responded to. Fingers crossed they will lead to something; one of them was confirmation for a 2nd interview. Phew! Time and date for that one was added to the calendar late in the day. Good news.

At the risk of repeating myself it still surprises me how many people contacted me today out of the blue, some of them I haven’t had much dialogue with before, wishing me well or just for a general chat. I got a message from someone who I’ve followed on Twitter and who has followed me back for sometime, but we’ve never communicated outside of Twitter. Very pleasant exchange. Interesting too to hear how she obtained her current contract assignment. Very encouraging. There was also a message in my LinkedIn inbox from another who wanted to keep my brain active with an idea around recruiting. Sounds intriguing and I am looking forward to exploring that one further. I don’t mind if these conversations or email exchanges as well as the others that I have, are not directly about jobs or work for me, it is just good to speak with like-minded people active in the recruiting space.

By about 14:30 in the afternoon I hadn’t really done too much that many would call job hunting. I think I had though – I’d had real or online exchanges with close to twenty people already.

Now, what I haven’t explained is that I do not get a cell phone signal in my house. On previous days when I’ve said to my wife that am going to the office, I have meant the vegetable garden, 50 metres up-hill from the house. I get a signal up there you see. This is ok until it rains. Like yesterday; a 40 minute conversation with someone left me feeling quite good, so I came down the slope without care; feet slid from under me and I landed hard. Luckily on my most padded bit (no not my head!). Not so lucky it was straight into a bed of nettles. So the garden is the office on good days and not suitable on rainy days, and with it coming down for Noah today, I have to drive up the lane to the top of the hill and park up. As soon as I do the calls start coming in. Initially voicemails, but then as I am returning those calls more messages are left. By the time I had returned to the house I had spoken with 2 Search firms, applied for one contract position, offered to help with referrals for another and confirmed one interview.

That was a very fast and very productive hour. On my return to the house there is an email from someone in The FIRM outlining a position that looks ideal for me, both in terms of location and content. It is via an agency that contacted her but since she is in my online network, it is allowed.

The day closes with the newsletter being sent out and feedback, as well as input, coming back to us.

The one negative of the day is the reflection that I hadn’t heard from anyone in respect of two jobs I had applied for on Day 1, other than an auto reply. Not surprising given that both were via agencies. Do I name and shame them? I am inclined to do so but want to sleep on it and hear your thoughts. It is a constant complaint in the market. We all know this and strive to ensure we offer better care and service. But here we are with two companies/people who have no respect. I might just out them tomorrow and see what happens – let’s call it part of the experiment shall we?

Music of the Day – India/Mountain Time, Joe Bonamassa

That’s it. Thanks for reading.

Hunted to Hunter – tales of a hirer who needs hiring

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Today I find myself in a place that I had hoped never to return to, at least not just yet. I now have to apply myself to the recruiting merry-go-round as an applicant. It will be interesting to note if I will see in myself some of the behaviours seen from the other side of the fence. More importantly it will be very interesting to see how others react to and treat me, especially in consideration of the job am hoping I might secure.

My intention is to provide a daily update on what I find out there, who I speak to, the reactions I get and the reaction or responses that I dont get.

So this is Day 1

The target is to be in a position, earning money by mid September

Activities today, that will I hope secure me my next big adventure started with a very thorough review of my CV. I am one of these people that keeps a CV up to date as I progress throughout a year to be sure I note down the important responsibilities and achievements as they happen. Then when I need to use it, I edit it to conform to the rest of the CV. The review is to be sure that all is kept clean, the small things are attended to, i.e. typos, grammar and spelling and it is still not too long. It is hard to believe that people spend such little time on such things when the stakes are so high!

Being objective is almost impossible when reviewing your own CV and I have been coincidently fortunate to get to know a professional career coach and CV writer who has offered some fantastic help.

So with the CV primed, I am all set and ready to go.

People have stated that I am one of the most widely networked and connected recruiters in the business, however I have spoken and written that it is not how many people I am connected to that counts, but the relationships I have created and mutual trust I have established with some of them that is important. So to let people know. If they don’t know my plight they can’t help. I have no allusions that I will be a magic switch. It is all about timing and to quote two of the greatest poets of this and the last century “you can’t always get what you want” (sic)

I also wanted to update my old files on the Personnel Today site and ensure that my profile was up to date and my searches were defined for what I am looking for now. It was like pulling teeth. It was not intuitive and didn’t navigate well at all. It also kept failing causing me to start again; very frustrating when I wanted to get as much done as I could in the shortest amount of time! Deep breath! 1,2,3,4….. Then having done a search and found what looked like a fantastic result the job/page wouldn’t load. So Personnel Today not the greatest experience. Onwards – Changebord next – an easier affair, albeit it still not complete as so much to do on my part to ensure thoroughness. Tomorrow!

Then I looked on The FIRMs job listing and was pleased to see some new jobs posted, some of interest as well and needing further investigation.

Emails and Twitter DM messages sent to a number of contacts which resulted in some very good results.

Two interviews for two different roles in the diary by close

Most of the people I have spoken to online or in person over the last few days have offered help, some with sound and welcome advice. Above all and most importantly the majority offered friendship and support. I couldn’t be more grateful and spoiled. To you, Thank You.

Tomorrow is new day with a new approach to a different set of known and unknown contacts. I am committed to not discounting any opportunity at the moment with the view that if I create enough opportunities very fast then I will have control.

One bit of advice I have always given candidates is that they must always go for the offer. Without offer the candidate doesn’t have any options and doesn’t have any choices. Without either the candidate has no control over the process.

Lets see if it works, shall we?