Ever since the Internet came along, people have been questioning if, or how, recruitment agencies would cope with the new democratisation of candidate data the Internet ushered in.
The recruitment agency market has coped. They’ve coped largely through:
Becoming more niche
Companies still remaining relatively ignorant about how to hire staff
Highly competitive prices in a congested vertical
The job boards loading their pricing in the agencies favour also helped. So recruitment agencies have survived, mostly without having to change how they do business.
Ever since that argument was put to bed, people now speculate whether agencies can continue to survive given their collective poor reputation.
Back in November 2019 I wrote a blog in the future of sourcing talent specifically focussing on AI, but lets look at the day to day breakdown of how recruitment is perceived today.
The reality is that the immediate future for recruitment agencies looks fairly bright, if only because we’re out of recession and many companies are still obsessed with hiring candidates with same sector/job title experience – an attitude that’s been cultivated by the aforementioned niche recruiters.
Neither of those two states are ever going to encourage agencies to change their business model.
So what will?
For me, that will only start happening when the numbers of inhouse recruiters moving back into the agency world escalates beyond the trickle it currently is. And even then the change will be slow and gradual.
And I mean genuinely skilful, intelligent inhouse recruiters rather than the glorified administrators some companies seem to think pass as recruiters.
When more of these types of inhouse recruiters start working agency side, they’ll start to educate the agency how recruitment works on the other side of the fence. They’ll be able to offer insight into how those companies think, what they need and what their perception of recruitment agencies really is.
Then these recruitment agencies will be better informed as to what to sell to these companies – and how to sell it.
This ultimately should lead onto a new model for agencies in the future. Time and time again we have seen agency after agency promote the same service but with different packaging. This doesn't help agencies, however the core values and services provided by an agency are invaluable to in-house recruiters, HR and operation departments.
What's needed is a different model in delivering recruitment and resourcing solutions! Contingency based recruitment has been around since roman times (and is classed alone of the oldest industries) but what if this changed?! What if the perception of hiring a professional to your team was different in terms of cost, deliverables, expectations?
When you decide to pick up the phone to a solicitor (As I have recently with my divorce) you expect your 30 minutes intro then they make a proposal and discuss angling fees, usually charges by the hour or product/service. This made me think, why should this be any different in the resourcing industry?
Recruiters generally are specialists in their field and GOOD recruiters tend to be contacted by the client, now if the 360 resourcing ruction was broken down and charged per service, or by project breakdown this not only provides clarity from the start but gives the client/recruiter a more professional partner relationship. Opposed to I'll pay you when the works done!
Clients can then enter into a project knowing the cost before they even pick up the phone and select which service they desire based on the complexity of the project/hire.
Thrive's Talent division do just this! We provide a free consultancy on introduction to a project followed by a proposal based on your requirement, only highlighting whats actually needed to complete a hire. Whether it's job board advertising, CV searching or a more extensive headhunt, interview consultancy or induction open day.
That will, I think, be the next evolutionary stage of the recruitment agency sector’s journey towards greater professionalism and stability of revenue.
It ain’t happening tomorrow though.