Time to rip up the recruitment rulebook?

ImageI have an exciting day ahead. One of my star candidates has decided that he wants to move.  He has been with his employer for 3 years, joining them as a relative rookie and has now progressed to being a very good biller. As such, he has come onto the radar of a number of better companies and he wants to take advantage of that.  He has one year left on his current contract so it makes sense.

As Wayne’s dedicated recruitment agent I obviously know him very well. Having plucked him out of obscurity 3 years ago and placing him in a company that was able to give him his big break, he trusts me. I know what he is looking for, we have discussed money, and we have a rough idea of which companies are going to be of interest to him and vice-versa.

My next step is to put it out into the recruitment world that Wayne is on the market. We will then sit back and entertain conversations with interested parties.  There is no need to be secretive. His bosses know that he wants to leave. I told them a few weeks ago.  They would prefer him not to leave, but accept they are going to lose him  – as long as they can get a decent fee for him then they are happy enough. And there is no way that Wayne will speak to companies directly or other recruitment agents for that matter. We have a contract in place that basically says if you want to speak to Wayne you need to come through me. It suits Wayne to do it that way.

In a few weeks, after I have had meetings with companies interested in Wayne, we will sit down together and decide the best option for him. Then one lucky company will get their man, I will take my cut off the deal, his current employer will get their compensation…and Wayne will chuck me a bottle of Scotch for helping him advance his career. Everyone is happy.

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? I doubt it.

Things don’t work like that in recruitment. We all follow the standard model to some degree or other. Agents, contracts, and compensation – it sounds a bit more like the world of football than recruitment.  It would be stupid to think that the rules that apply to the crazy, extremely cash rich world of football could work in our industry. Or is it?

Is it too crazy to think that individuals have a dedicated recruiter agent who they work exclusively with to manage their career? And if that happened, is it incomprehensible that companies interested in employing that person would have to come through that agent? In any industry where there is massive competition for talent, is it out of the realms of possibility to think that an employer would offer an employee a fixed term contract, allowing them to at least get something back if their star leaves? Or that another company would pay compensation to buy that player out of their contract?

Too crazy? Probably. At the moment definitely. But maybe there will be a time when these things are not so ‘out there’.  I am not suggesting that we rip up the recruitment rulebook, but it’s an interesting exercise to come at things with a different set of eyes. There was probably a time when it would have seems crazy to pay a third party money to find them someone.

I am still exited about today though. I will still be working with my star candidate  and putting a strategy in place to get him his next career move. And this afternoon I am off to the recruitment rookie draft to check out young graduates put through their paces making mock sales calls – hopefully I might uncover the next Wayne.

Luke Collard

4 thoughts on “Time to rip up the recruitment rulebook?”

  1. I don’t see any reason why this can’t be a reality, although I’m sure you’ll find plenty of people to disagree – Dare to be different!

  2. I don’t really believe in the concept of the “star candidate”.

    I think every recruiter that’s on the market for a change of employer, regardless of experience, is essentially a risk. That’s especially true if they’re looking to move into a different sector.

    The sector where a recruiter has achieved their impressive billings is a significant part of that success – and often they are sectors that are enjoying growth or at the very least, not experiencing a downturn as much as other sectors in a recession.

    Then you have to factor-in the change of culture and management style of the new agency along with the vagaries of their sector, if different from the one the recruiter has worked previously. Then there’s the possibility that the recruiter has reached a different stage of their life and may well have evolved into being a slightly different person with a changed value system to the one that entered the recruitment industry 3, 5 or 7 years ago. Marriage, mortgage and impending parenthood can often change a person.

    I still think that when a recruiter changes jobs, regardless of what success they’ve previously had or what their work ethic is like, there is still too much that could go wrong.

    1. Interesting take out from the blog Mitch…..although I couldn’t agree more. Which is why when “Wayne” goes to his new job, requiring a change from beautiful Manchester to the grubby life of London, isn’t surrounded by colleagues that made him look better than he is, and has to work with a different manager every 6 months, all on the back of a divorce (apparently) he will ultimately fail.

  3. So interesting that… I had the same idea a few weeks ago!
    Still did not take the time to post the idea on my own blog. Good shot, Luke.
    It works exactly like that in football or like having your stable of racing horses.
    But I am regularly disgusted by the nasty role the players agents play. Loyalty, sticking to one’s word… no longer matter.
    And it also means that small companies will never be able to recruit a “star” (also agree with Mitch that “star” is a relative term, because everyone is good at somewhat somewhere…). Sad, no ?

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