Looking for your next career move?
Searching for market leading talent?
‘Right place, right time’… ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’… ‘they always land on their feet’…. There’s plenty of cliché’s people use to explain how some people manage to further their career while those around them are left waiting in the wings, but although it takes much more than luck to reach the heady heights of the C-suite, you can’t rely solely on hard work and endeavour if you want to maximise the potential of your career. As a dedicated ‘career manager’, I thought I’d share my knowledge and experience and highlight 6 reasons how using a specialist recruitment partner can help you make decisions that will escalate your development, and also how you can avoid the pitfalls that have led to recruiters being voted the 7th least trusted professionals in a recent survey by CV-library!
Now obviously this theory isn’t hard and fast; but as a general rule of thumb it works. Quality-driven recruiters are all about detail, insight, in-depth understanding of roles, opportunities, cultures, behaviours, and then matching people with like-minded businesses to propagate an environment that drives the success of both parties. Obviously this approach is more labour intensive and so commands a premium price point; but if you look at it in broad terms, businesses that use quality-driven recruiters are looking to invest in identifying and attracting the best people to join their business and their teams… whereas, those who adopt a cost-focused approach to recruitment…are not so much. If you’re thinking which type of business offers the best opportunity to develop your career, then I think the answer is fairly obvious.
Traditional sales-led, transactional recruitment is very much a numbers game. It’s about getting as many CV’s over to a client as quickly as possible to have the better chance of placing a role and making a fee. The sales-led approach relies heavily on KPI’s; if you make a certain number of calls, and send a certain number of job specs out, you’ll get x-number of replies and y-number of applicants, and then if we fill z-percentage of roles we’re working, we’ll get a bonus. If you’ve not made enough sales yet, make more calls and send more applicants. Unfortunately, it means that the motivation for the recruiter is to get you into a job to hit a target, not because it is the best move for your career.
The relationship-led approach to recruitment relies on a far less pushy, more organic growth strategy. The idea being that if you really get to know both the candidates and the businesses in your sector, you will be able to match people to roles and environments that suit their behaviours and attitudes, as this is what drives success for both parties. By taking this approach you get more repeat business with clients not just from providing better candidates, but also from the resultant growth these candidates can deliver, and also with candidates when their careers develop and they look to build out their own teams. Ultimately, their success relies upon your success which goes much deeper than a monthly bonus.
The less-is-more approach definitely rings true for job applications. Cost-focused recruiters will often throw CV’s around like confetti in an attempt to claim ‘ownership’ of a candidate before their rivals, and hoping something sticks so they can hit one of their beloved KPI’s… but from a candidate point of view, this can often leave you being overlooked for jobs that you could be well be suited for and being pushed forward for jobs that you aren’t. For example, what if an out-dated version of your CV is sent over for a job without your knowledge, (forget the GDPR nightmare that this is risking for the recruiter AND the client), but your most recent work history is usually your most relevant and without it you’re undoubtedly hampered. A quality-driven recruiter will not just ensure your work history is complete and your CV is in good order, but they’ll write a profile summary about you that highlights key points where you are matched to the job brief and company in question, so that it gives you a better chance of getting considered. Similarly you may not be suitable for a role, for example, you work best with structure but you’re being put forward for a job that provides lots of autonomy, but your recruiter isn’t aware of this so they’re just telling you whatever you want to hear to get you in front of them. If you’re in multiple processes and some of them aren’t suitable for you, it’s distracting you from the ones that are.
Further to that, once you’re in a process and interviewing, quality-driven recruiters will be better positioned to coach you through the process as the detailed approach they take will mean they’re likely to have a more in depth understanding of the process, the interview styles of the hiring managers and even the preferential presentation styles. This isn’t facilitating a false representation of you but enabling you to display yourself in the best possible light. Ultimately, the better support you get in the process, the better prepared you’ll be and the more confident you’ll be, which will enable you to perform to the best of your ability.
There’s always a risk when you move from one job to another, but knowledge is power and the more you know about the business you’re considering moving to, the better armed you’ll be to make the right decision. It’s difficult to get impartial advice on opportunities unless you happen to personally know someone who already works at the business you’re considering; if the employer genuinely likes you they’ll maybe paint the business in a better light than is true, embellishing progression opportunity or paint over any cultural issues. Similarly, transactional recruiters who focus on the short-term wins will sell-up the opportunity in the hope of making a placement stick. Even looking at reviews on Glassdoor and such like, often focus on the negatives. These sites can often be the home of disgruntled ex-employees with an axe to grind.
If you work with a quality-driven career manager to help you make informed decisions; firstly you’ll know that they’ll have asked the questions and got the detail that matters; secondly you’ll know they’ll have been able to corroborate this with other people in their network who they have strong working relationships with; and thirdly you’ll know that they’re in it for the long-game and won’t want to place you in a role where ultimately you may fail.
The problem with cost-focused transactional recruiters is that ultimately, it’s all about the bottom line and anytime they spent chatting on the phone to you, is eating into that. If you’re wondering why you don’t get any updates on roles, it’s because your recruiter is too busy trying to get more roles on. Wondering why you’re CV is getting floated around for jobs that you don’t know about? Because asking your authority will hinder the number that they can get sent out every day. Wondering why you don’t get any feedback after interviews? Because that eats into their time and with lower fill-rates and smaller fees they need to work twice as many jobs to generate the revenue. Wonder why you get sent for jobs you’re not suitable for? Because it’s a chance of a placement and besides, they probably haven’t had time to understand the intricacies of the job to know you’re not suitable in the first place. It’s difficult to be too harsh on these recruiters, ultimately they work to the conditions of the client; if the client is paying low fees and engaging multiple recruiters they either need to work like that or miss out. But at the end of the day, it’s not doing your career any favours, but you can choose whether you engage with recruiters like that.
This harks back to my first point and that is that good businesses generally want to work with good recruiters; and if you want a good career and good advice, you also need to work with a good recruiter. If an agency rings you saying I have a job with ’x’ business paying ‘y’ salary, are you interested? Alarm bells should start ringing. Even if they offer to email over a job spec, that approach doesn’t demonstrate the importance that a career moves commands. A good consultant will have open lines of communication and an in-depth understanding of an opportunity before they try to present it to you. They can give you genuine advice about how your salary stacks up compared to the wider market; whether moves are right for your progression and offer the opportunity you need, where there are skills gaps in the market and the direction you can take to increase your value. And on the flip side, if you go for jobs and aren’t successful, they’ll seek out constructive criticism so that you can learn a develop to improve your chances of success next time round. They are, in effect, your ears on the ground. The bridge between you and the wider market; giving you access to information that enables you to make good career decisions.
And finally, good recruiters are the gift that keep on giving because they can help you on both sides of the fence. Finding a good recruiter is like finding a good mechanic, once you find one you trust you’ll often stick with them for life, and the added advantage of finding a partnering with a good recruiter that helps you further your career; when you start building out your own teams you’ll have someone on hand who you trust implicitly because you’ve seen exactly how they work and how they’ll represent you, and you can use them to help you develop your own team. The beauty of relationship-led recruitment is that it’s all about the long-game; long-term sustainable growth as opposed to disjointed quick wins. If long-term sustainable growth is the path you want to take for you as well as your teams, a quality-driven recruiter is the support you should seek out as quickly as you can.
So that’s my list of 6 ways a quality-driven recruiter can give you the support you need to maximise your career potential. Make sure you follow our Company Page, and look out for our next series of videos where we discuss the implications of going the other way, and discuss the hidden costs of low-cost recruitment campaigns that can jeopardise long-term success.
Looking for your next career move?
Searching for market leading talent?