Recruitment Outsourcing Why Are Recruiters Unreliable

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Today we are going to discuss why are recruiters unreliable.

Expected Salary of a Recruiter

People who join the industry often start on a total employment cost of around GBP 20k – GBP 50k. This will be depend on their “experience” in the workforce and life. As they progress a good consultant can easily earn GBP 30k plus (including commission).

Their commission schemes are usually 3 times their cost of employment. This obviously varies, however many companies have a surplus deficit system which basically says, if the gross profit you generate this period does not cover your costs for this period, then the shortfall will be added to next period and that will continue to happen until you cover your costs. If on the other hand you have a surplus (you generated more gross profit than your costs), you will get paid a commission. We are not going to get into commission schemes here as there are too many variables and it’s too complex.

Psychology & Recruiters

Without covering their costs, the recruiters role is in jeopardy. You may have heard of an American Psychologist by the name of Abraham Maslow. Maslow was the person who developed Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a theory in psychology in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”.

The following (in italics) description is straight from Wikipedia which is one of the best descriptions of this theory and can be by searching for Maslows Heirarchy of Needs in Google.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization at the top. While the pyramid has become the de facto way to represent the hierarchy, Maslow himself never used a pyramid to describe these levels in any of his writings on the subject.

The most fundamental and basic four layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called “deficiency needs” or “d-needs”: esteem, friendship and love, security, and physical needs. If these “deficiency needs” are not met – with the exception of the most fundamental (physiological) need – there may not be a physical indication, but the individual will feel anxious and tense. Maslow’s theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher level needs.

I like to think of it like a ladder. You cannot climb the rungs above you unless you have satisfied a the lower rungs.

Now all this psychological stuff is brilliant, however, what has it got to do with why recruiters unreliable you may ask.

The Ideal Recruiter

Many people join the recruitment industry as they have this perception that the industry is built on helping people, an esteem aspect in Malsow’s model. Many new people say, I am going to be different, I am going to call every one of my candidates regularly, I am only going to put un-believable candidates forward to my clients, I am going to be blah, blah, blah. They are so pure, it is beautiful to watch.

On the other side of the equation both Candidates and Clients all say they want a recruiter who has empathy, commitment, understanding, is honest, reliable, who takes the time to listen, who will stay in contact, who will consult with me, who will be proactive.

The Real Life Of A Recruiter

However the dream consultant has now been in the recruitment industry for 10 weeks and with no billings they are now looking down the path of termination, which means they drop straight down to the red level (Safety) in Maslosw’s model, and that “rung” is now shaking.

They are now forced with doing what ever they can to generate some revenue to secure their employment/income, which they need as they have built a lifestyle around this income. Things at home go from bad to worse as they have now totally forgotten about the green level so when their partner starts to look at them with that twinkle in the eye, all of sudden there is an instant headache.

Our “pure” new recruiter who was going to do everything so differently to the rest of the industry, has now been corrupted by the fear of losing his/her job, and their behaviour changes.

  • They stop calling every candidate to “have a chat”
  • They only contact candidates they can place
  • They stop returning calls as they absorb too much time and will not result in a placement
  • They stop paying attention to white-noise in CV’s and start skimming over CV’s looking for saleable points/skills that tick boxes for their client.
  • Their interviews drop from 60 minutes where they got the whole life story and even looked at some family snaps, to 25 minutes of straight to the point discussion.
  • They start putting more candidates (even the ones that don’t fit) out to clients. They even put out people who they haven’t met (what! OMG).
  • They stop having long lunches
  • They start arriving early and leaving late as they realise that you can talk to candidates and do admin after hours, but business hours is core client time.
  • They start paying attention to the KPI’s that were set for them as that is what is going to be used to justify keeping their job

They do this day in and day out for weeks and all of a sudden, they get a placement, then another one, then another one! Money starts to come in, and the pressure is off… for this month!

They then realise, that this just keeps going. This pressure is par for the course in recruitment. And after 3 months of this 1 on 2 things will happen

They will leave the industry

OR

They will become the unreliable (but very efficient and still employed) recruitment consultant that everyone talks about.

Final Note: The purpose of this post was to provide a indication of what it is behind the veil of a recruitment company and not to downgrade the role of a recruiter. I am totally aware that there are plenty of other reasons why recruiters are “perceived” to be unreliable, as I also know there are plenty of recruiters who are not unreliable. This is a snapshot of what it is like to be a recruiter in an agency environment today and one that drives to “un-reliability”. Yes the structure of the organisation comes into play, as does the support that is offered. However we do know that if a consultant doesn’t cover their costs then they most likely be asked to leave.

Source: Research

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