How about this for a catch phrase of the old guard in recruitment: “We are in the placement business, not the retention business!”
I lost count of how many times we were instructed to say that in my early days as a recruiter. Whenever a placement went wrong, that was the line used to justify why it wasn't our fault. Recruiters get their money, they don't give it back or do any additional work. No wonder a lot of contingent recruitment firms experience annual client attrition rates of 30-40%. As I reflect, was I right, was I wrong, was I greedy or were we simply abiding by the terms of the agreement we had in place? This approach needs to change. Or the amount the industry charges does!
No wonder a lot of contingent recruitment firms experience annual client attrition rates of 30-40%.
We’ve all heard the debate about real estate agents and their commission being too high when selling a home. Discount brokerages, competing web platforms, and direct sales have gained strength because of this attitude. I have seen a shift in attitudes from real estate agents though. They are looking to add greater value, taking a consulting role and building in staging, advanced marketing strategies... in other words, a more high-touch service. A similar approach is slowly starting to occur in the recruitment world.
Some recruitment firms now give you a 6-month guarantee. Some charge you less than they charge their best client (a story for another day). Some NO LONGER steal your employees for other clients (sound the trumpets). Sadly, even though almost everybody can be found using online tools, very few agencies have adapted or adjusted their approach to recruitment. They have simply increased their KPI targets and reduced their internal compensation models to add more headcount. None of these factors relate to the experience or the aim of any recruitment – a successful employee-employer relationship.
So how do we collectively achieve that aim? My advice is to always hire with the end in mind. An engaged employee successfully meeting your business objectives - that's the goal. Too many hiring managers and recruiters simply try to replace what came before expecting a better result. Take the time and reflect on how you can ensure employee success. Here are some questions you may want to ask -
- Who will be training and coaching this person?
- Who will be managing and overseeing them, what types of personality and style would mesh well?
- How will you know they have been successful in 3 to 6 months, do you have the tools and processes in place for that to be realistic?
- How will you quantify success?
- What core tasks must be performed by this new hire and therefore areas of experience you can’t compromise on?
- What other tasks would be desirable, complimentary or areas for training and development over time?
- What are the performance milestones and objectives you will be setting for this person?
An engaged employee successfully meeting your business objectives - that's the goal.
These answers will help you develop a position profile - a document that captures the fit, success factors, experience requirements and the usual duties and responsibilities. This type of positioning will allow you to have a genuine conversation with people about what it will be like working with you, what they can expect and how you are going to support their success. It isn’t about making a placement anymore, it is about collectively maximizing the success of people and ensuring everyone understand what is needed to achieve success.
I wonder if some of our competitors want to evolve. It is no secret that the placement business is facing dramatic market pressures, and I for one couldn’t be happier the ‘employment agencies’ that make their money from pure placement activity are losing market share to technology and internal talent acquisition teams. It is time for recruitment firms to focus on providing successful employment relationships. That means improving value proposition and bridging the gap between recruitment and onboarding.
Our model is Find, Fit AND Retain. The recruitment piece relies on direct recruitment. We utilize advanced screening and assessment tools to ascertain fit, then send in the professionals to support onboarding. Recently, Keynote signed a contract to acquire an HR consulting business, formalized a partnership with an industrial psychologist and added two new psychometric tools to our process. These elements strengthen our ability to provide the FIT and RETAIN elements that are key to a strong HR strategy.
People ask me what the long-term plan is for Keynote Group. We are automating more and more of our search process and I’m not shy of telling people that! My answer is we will become a talent consulting business, providing end to end support for all people needs within a business. That will include talent acquisition of course, but initiated by technology platforms and marketing as the key driver before professionals handle the critical conversations. More so, our focus will be on team dynamics, engagement, performance management and strategic HR support. Our goal will be the maximize the success of a business through its people.