Let me take you back to 2011. Recruitment was fast paced, businesses were growing, and the contingency recruitment model was going strong. Contingency recruitment (in case you aren’t familiar) is the traditional recruitment agency model we all know of. You call a recruitment agency, they send you candidates, if you hire one of their candidates you pay them a percentage of the candidates’ salary. No limit to the number of agencies you engage with, no fee unless you hire.
We were starting to lift ourselves from the 2008 recession – businesses were rising like phoenixes from the ashes and the SME’s borne out of the brains of the prior redundant population were growing. It was a good time to hire. There was still a lot of great talent on the market, candidates who hadn’t quite found their feet again since the recession, and the competition for the best jobs was tight. You could phone a recruitment agency and have 5 good candidates in your inbox the same day.
But businesses were starting to cotton onto the cost that recruitment agencies were adding to their bottom line. Internal recruitment teams had started to crop up in the dust covered corners of the HR Departments of the bigger businesses, called upon to ‘put a vacancy on the system’ when the need arose, or manage the recruitment agencies engaged to fill the vacancies.
But perhaps the internal recruiters could do more? The rise of LinkedIn had put paid to the ‘Yellow Pages’ days of head hunting, revealing a realm of candidates to anyone who knew their way around a basic Boolean search. Agency recruiters were burning out and looking for a way to move ‘in-house’ without doing a glorified admin job, and several ‘early adopters’ to the in-house recruitment model were able to take advantage of an agency style approach to in-house recruitment.
With my first foray into internal recruitment, the brief was simple. Treat the hiring managers like our internal customers. An agency mindset, with the service and relationships of an ‘in- house’ function. This was the way recruitment was moving. Internal recruitment teams started to realise that they too could engage with candidates on LinkedIn, post adverts on job boards and build talent pools using intuitive recruitment software.
Which brings us to 2019. The candidate landscape has changed drastically since 2011, even since 2015. Roles that three years ago, we would have had at least five great candidates for are challenging, and candidates (overall) are less loyal and more focused on ‘what’s in it for me’. Because they can be. Because we are in a very heavily candidate driven market. Candidate is King.
And some of that links back to the aforementioned 2008 recession. Companies weren't hiring graduates or trainees. As an example, in professions such as law and accounting just over ten years ago - no-one was hiring, and training contracts were gold dust. So if you're looking for a specialist candidate within the seven - ten year experience bracket - be prepared to battle your competitors for the top candidates.
Recruitment in 2019 is about treating your hiring function more like your marketing
function. It’s about telling candidates why you are better to work for than your
competitors. It’s about sticking your head above the parapet to become an ‘employer of choice’. It’s about creating an environment where people come to you out of choice – not out of necessity – because those are the candidates you want.
To achieve that, you need to be crystal clear on who you are trying to target. You need to develop a different mindset and approach to recruiting. And most of all you need to have the head space to think ahead and plan for the growth of your business.