It never fails to amaze me how long some recruitment processes can take. Having been in the recruitment industry all my working life and from running my own recruitment business for the last 16 years, I have experienced roles that have been filled in four hours, but also worked with businesses who have had roles live for 12 months. How can this be??
1 – Lack of detailed information
It never fails to amaze me how some businesses expect a role to be filled when either they have not got a complete job specification or a person specification. Roles and cultures change and evolve in a business. Even though a company has set values and a mission statement, specific skills needed and the right personality will always change and be different. Businesses often still pull out an old job description from years ago, then send it to an agent and expect an accurate short list and for the role to be filled. A brief meeting or a conversation with both HR and the relevant line manager is surely imperative to understand the intricacies of every role and to understand specific skills needed within the team.
2 – Working with a number of agencies
People often have a mind-set that they need to “cast the net wide” to get the right candidate. Not true if you engage with the right recruitment business. Yes you cannot rely on a 9 to 5 agency who puts an advert out and does a keyword search on their database. You need to have a detailed understanding on how an agency generates candidates. The good ones will work a small number of jobs with a small number of businesses they know very well and will employ a wide variety of ways of generating candidates. You are not buying a candidate, you are buying a service to generate the right candidate. You are buying into a good consultant’s network of specialist candidates often built up over long period of time. A consultant is in a results based business. They must be motivated to fill the role. This is a candidate driven market. If you are a consultant and working a number of live roles, where would you prioritise your time and best candidates? With a business who is also engaging with four other agents or with a business who has offered a period of time (no longer than four weeks) to a consultant so they can spend the time searching, interviewing and referencing the best local talent?
3 – Working with the wrong recruitment business
It’s safe to say, like any industry there are lots of recruitment businesses – each with a different vision, ethics, working practices. I would encourage you to understand what the objective or target is for each business and consultant. Some businesses target consultants on CVs sent and interviews arranged. How can this be conducive for outstanding service and only short listing the very best relevant candidates? I understand why businesses would target this but it definitely encourages the wrong type of consultant to send out volume CVs to you, the client, just to hit KPIs. For me, if a consultant fully understands the business, culture, role and person specification there is no chance there will be a high volume of suitable local available candidates. Volume CVs (inevitably irrelevant CVs) should ring alarm bells and will result in you and your team wasting time and money!
4 – Unrealistic Job spec / no local knowledge
I will never forget a client asking me for a production manager who is currently working as a production manager with ready meals. Also they must live within 20 miles of the factory and they do not want anyone to relocate for the role. The role had been live for five months. A challenge for anyone! It was only when I was planning the candidate generation process I realised the small issue that there was no ready meal factory within 40 miles of the factory. No wonder they had not filled the role! Needless to say we amended the spec – broadened the desired experience and executed the role with a somewhat more open minded approach!! It is also imperative to have a realistic salary and package and really think why someone would want to leave their current business and join your business. Money is not everything but of course it does play a part. Whilst of course there will be a budget, when setting pay rates and terms, understand what employees want and what other local businesses are paying to attract and retain the best talent.
5 – Poor recruitment process
It is imperative to remember you must sell the opportunity too. Do not have the arrogance to think everyone wants to come and work for you and your business. As we have discussed, great talent is in short supply. Any decent candidates are in demand and will be visiting more than one business and comparing! Interviewers must be trained in effective interviewing, not reading from a script. Whilst a candidate must obviously impress, so must you as the interviewer. Having a positive recruitment process is imperative right from the outset. Starting with a great job and person specification. In the same way you form an opinion of a potential recruit very quickly, so does an applicant, from the moment they walk through the door. Who they meet, whether the interview was on time, was the interviewer prepared?
6 – Too busy to meet
We are all busy people – particularly in the food industry! However in order to fuel any businesses future, talent is at the forefront. Whilst speed of process can mean this is not always possible you have to invest time with any recruitment business and give them the necessary exposure and information to understand the culture and people. This means they can develop a proactive pool of potential candidates over a period of time – rather than one off placements.
7 – Looking for the cheapest rate
I’m going to say it as it is….you get what you pay for. Working with the wrong recruitment business can be an absolute pain, very expensive and getting the wrong hire can be a very negative disruptive experience for all parties. Whilst a fee has to be competitive, whenever I recruit externally and a recruitment business drop their rate by 50% this rings alarm bells. It screams desperation and a total lack of belief that consultant has in their service. Alternatively if a business insists on a specific rate, seek to understand why. Sometimes an extra few % on the rate can be worth its weight in gold if you are working with a business who prioritises your role, takes time to understand you and your business and invests a lot of time to get the very best talent. For me though the clincher is if a recruitment business offers a free replacement of a money back guarantee. All of these reassure me that we will share the risk of recruitment. If things do not go right and the new recruit ends up leaving over the early weeks or months then it is imperative the situation is resolved for all parties. I encourage you to also understand what investment a business puts into consultant training, candidate generation and technology. None of this can happen without a recruitment business being profitable. Of course you can get cheap rates but do you really think these businesses are there for the long term and are re-investing profit into ensuring you get the very best service and a consistent delivery of suitable candidates?
I would also ask you to think – if you were working with two businesses, both with similar live roles and one business is paying 12% whilst the other is paying 20%, regardless of what anyone says where do you honestly think the consultant will send the best candidates first??
8 – Inexperienced / recruitment consultant
Believe it or not as recruiters we are not “all the same”! Every consultant has a different approach, work ethic, ambition and goals. The amount of times I hear of recruiters joining a business only to be told ‘There’s your phone and a database now go for it!’ Please understand what training the consultant has been given, how they work, how many placements have they made and what is their job to placement ratio. To give a job to the wrong consultant can be an absolute waste of time and at worst can cost a lot of money. Ask for client testimonials for them specifically, not the business, if they cannot send you them then you are wasting your time!
9 – Lack of industry specialism
Jack of all trades master of none! Don’t get me wrong generalist agencies can have luck in sourcing the odd candidate. But, it is quite simply impossible for them to have a regular supply of candidates, a positive relevant network and industry knowledge to offer you the very best in local relevant talent. Look for a consultant who specialises in a specific market within food, i.e. NPD, over a small geographical area. At the end of the day that’s all they do, all day, every day is build knowledge and add to their network.
10 – Slow recruitment processes
Everyone wants the very best talent. In most industries, if not all, great people are in short supply. Often the skills or experience is available but the very best people in terms of experience, skills AND attitude, approach, ethics and values is hard to find. Some businesses have such rigid processes they miss out. Whilst consistency of process is important in any business, flexibility is also important to understand and accommodate individual candidate circumstances.
Let’s face it recruitment can be a pain. You can find yourself faced with arrogant, money motivated salesy recruiters, with a lack of knowledge, resource, understanding and motivation to fill roles and only in it for themselves and a quick fix. Candidates not being 100% honest through the process be it on their CV or in the interview….this can happen to anyone. However given the right investment in the process and by working with the right recruitment business AND consultant AND with the right terms of businesses agreed, believe me it can be a pleasurable experience which is win, win, win! A win which will result in you recruiting someone who is going to add significant value to your business over the long term, a win for the new employee joining a business where they can utilise their current skills set and develop further and a win for the consultant who benefits from a long term business relationship!
Zest is not the right recruitment business for everyone – however if you are a forward thinking business with people at the forefront – looking to attract and retain the best food industry talent then please give Scarlett a call to discuss how we can potentially help on 01780 483 999.