• Jack Sharp

Fastest to the bottom: Does recruitment have an issue with quantity over quality?

Contingent recruitment agencies seem to exist because the market has a difficult time identifying, attracting and delivering excellent talent within a timescale deemed viable from the business. That is to say;

  1. We need talent immediately and we are happy to pay an external agency to find it

  2. We don't have the internal resources to deliver our growth needs and therefore need to outsource support when hiring

  3. We are finding it difficult to find talent and believe that if an agency can find it, then we can pay for it

I have had 3 very interesting conversations with three very different technically minded individuals over the last month. One an ex-CTO for a very successful Global recruitment agency (0 to +250 employees within 6 years), one a contractor that delivers new software ideas into financial institutions and the other an investor that has a deep-technical overview on their investments and offers both money but most importantly, technical mentorship.

With all three, our conversation naturally moved to their own experiences within recruitment and the positives and negatives of external support via an agency. The common denominator from all discussions was that there continues to be a quality issue with agencies where CVs are 'spammed' at a hiring manager / internal recruiter and that quantity will ultimately guarantee a placement fee. This fee is typically deemed expensive (c.20% of Basic salary) when no intelligence was applied to the sourcing, identification or presentation of CVs, however, for those agencies / individuals that brought quality, the fee was deserved.

Cube19 write a good recruitment blog and highlight this point well with the opening paragraph;

Agencies share an interesting relationship with their clients. It’s somewhat Jekyll and Hyde being battled over price and praised on delivery.

Ultimately, sharing similar sentiment in that Clients want the cheapest solution (don't we all) but do not want to lose out on the quality.

Know your intentions

Agencies should go into Terms discussions already understanding the intentions of the Client. Be that the Client is happy for an agency to provide a large, rather unqualified array of CV's and that within this will be the magic candidate or that they value a somewhat more qualified approach in which an agency will talk to every candidate on their behalf and present only those candidates most suitable for the role in question.

You can get an incline of which the Client is happy with when you ask how many other agencies are working on this role? If a Client lists a high number (3+) you get the impression they are well aware this is a race to the bottom and first through the door is a winner (less perceived value on quality and more on quantity).

Alternative Solutions

The question we are constantly asking is whether there is a better solution for Hiring Managers and Internal Recruitment teams. Companies like Workable offer an incredible technical solution that supports recruitment teams but doesn't nail the sourcing and identification process.

As a reader, what do you feel recruitment companies could do more of? Are there any ideas that could spark a new wave of external agency support? Do you think recruitment has a challenge with quantity over quality?

Please do let me know in the comments or pop me an InMail, there is a genuine interest in understanding the challenges and discussing the solutions.