Procurement must share the blame for broken recruitment processes

Our recent newsletter article on recruitment, and our post that included GPA's response to our criticism of recruiters who don’t tell you when you’ve been rejected, drew a great and often very amusing response from readers. Do take a look at the comments...

There were some really heartfelt contributions, and we got into a debate between candidates who see some recruitment firms as “worse than estate agents”, and folk from the recruitment side who pointed out that it is often their client or indeed the candidates who behave badly and make the process difficult.

And there’s no doubt that procurement has got far more involved in the recruitment spend category over the last few years. I don’t mean purely recruitment of procurement people – I mean procurement getting involved with the whole range of  recruitment services provided to their organisation. And procurement people and functions, motivated largely by showing what an impressive “saving” they have made, must share the blame in many cases for driving down margins and supplier performance.

If a recruitment agency has had their margin slashed to the bone in order to keep or win the business, don’t be surprised if they don’t take time to communicate with and feedback to applicants – they can’t afford it. It’s another example of why we need to focus on value, not price, in whatever we’re buying. But it may well be that we in the procurement field have played a part in the poor perception of recruitment firms that many now hold.

Now that is no excuse for some of the other practices highlighted in the comments we got – fishing expeditions for cvs, advertising non-existent jobs etc. The reputable firms don’t do this. So again, it seems to me that there’s an argument that here is a process and a market that is looking a bit “broken”, and perhaps needs what we might call a “flight to quality”.

So if you’re in the position of choosing a recruitment firm, don’t be drawn into the false economy of selecting purely on the lowest fees. Check out what they will DO for their fee, their track record, references, the MI they provide... we won’t revisit previous posts, but you know who the serious firms are, and you will easily spot the cowboys.  There’s nothing wrong with linking performance to fees, by the way – but bear in mind, the less reputable firms will quickly work out if they can’t fill your roles and then  basically give up if they think it’s going to cost them more than they can make out of you.

This all got me thinking, and, of course (this was a bit of an insight for me but is probably blatantly obvious), recruitment is a “supply chain”. It is the supply chain for permanent – or temporary - staff. And then what struck me was the complexity of that supply chain – and how that has increased over the years.

We’ll come back to that tomorrow, when we’ll explain how the recruitment supply chain has gone from having two participants to (by my reckoning) seven in some cases.

Voices (2)

  1. Chris Chapman:

    Choosing agencies that are a member of RECS http://www.rec.uk.com/home is a good start (although there are also good small/single proprietor agencies run by people who have been in the purchasing recruitment sector for many years.)

  2. David Atkinson:

    I wonder how many include in their recruiter evaluation criteria; “protecting the reputation of the buyer’s organisation by demonstrably treating applicants and interviewees with courtesy, respect and dignity?”

Discuss this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *