The first in a series of posts on how the recruitment industry needs to move to a more strategic model of service delivery

Every year, normally at the start of the year, there is a plethora of survey announcements declaring those key issues that are keeping CEOs throughout the world awake at night – and inevitably, within the top 5 issues, you will find their concerns regarding their inability to hire the right people with the right skills.

Strategic recruiting

Not totally unexpected of course, especially in the hyper-competitive tech industry. This year, however, the people issue is even starker with the issue of “Failure to attract/retain talent” the number 1 issue.  That recruitment continues to be a strategic concern is not a surprise, yet we have the contradiction between the strategic intent of recruitment and the typically transactional nature in which recruitment is often implemented. Surely there is an army of cloned candidates as above just waiting for us to ask them to come on board? After all, isn’t recruitment simply asking someone to join your company, and them saying yes, how could they say no!  But then, if it’s such an obviously simple thing, why is the inability to hire consistently in the CEO’s nightmares.

So, it is a surprise that companies continue to accept this contradiction. People are a company’s greatest asset, yet the recruitment process seems to be one of the least valued. It is strewn with poor candidate experience, vacant employer brands, empty employer value propositions, inaccurate role descriptions, least-cost options and it is accepted because the myth exists that recruitment is easy. And in its’ simplest form it is – after all, it is simply asking someone if they would like a job with your company, and them saying yes. How can that be hard, why would you need to spend money on that?

And yet, companies do spend money on hiring because supporting these companies in their hiring is the 400 Billion USD recruitment industry (400,000,000,000 USD !!!).  So, despite recruitment being so easy, companies spend an amount on recruitment services which is greater than Apple’s and Google’s annual revenue combined (in fact, you would need to add in 50% of Amazon’s revenue on top of that to get to the same level!).

Strategic recruitment

It is necessary to ask what services do you get for that $400 Billion? First of all, you need to ask what are the business models that underpin the recruitment industry?  Well, chief amongst them is the contingency model – the no win no fee approach, in this model, the staffing company only gets paid if one of the candidates they put forward is employed.  So, in fact, companies aren’t actually asking for or getting a service, because there is no exchange of value between the hiring company and recruitment provider and there is no commitment to deliver.

Strategic recruitment

Why, if recruitment is so important and so easy, do companies spend over 400 Billion annually, of which a large part of that is spent on a model that isn’t actually a service or a commitment to help attract suitable candidates that companies can hire … something odd about that …. no wonder CEOs can’t sleep

So, what to do? The first thing to do is to re-position the recruitment industry to be on par with other professional services industries in order to elevate the expectations of both hiring company and recruitment consultancy firm in terms of the level of quality, commitment, service, and partnership required to give the CEO back some sleep.

In my next post – From outbound to inbound – we’ll discuss how the recruitment process needs to expand up and across the value chain and move away from just being the commodity CV exchange.