How To Be Attractive (to an employer)

A friend of mine runs a design business with 50 odd staff (well, I’m sure they’re not all odd…). A lot of them are young, by which I mean sub 35 and pre kids.  We were talking about staff loyalty, and how hard it can be to come by.

When we discussed the reasons for this, he put the main cause as being recruitment consultants. The young staff (he says) seem to think that changing jobs every couple of years is normal. They are targeted by recruiters who tell them how much more they are worth and the interesting projects they should be working on, if not in charge of.

And how do these recruiters access his staff? No longer the call on the mobile and the whispered “Can you talk freely?” No more walking outside to take the call with an air of forced nonchalance. No, these days it is much easier. For the recruiters have taken over LinkedIn.

They looked at the web site traffic on the company servers and were shocked to see how much time staff were spending on LinkedIn. It became so bad that the company eventually banned the use of LinkedIn on work computers.

Of course, employers and recruiters dangling opportunities and riches in front of potential candidates is nothing new, especially not in financial services. I’ve lost count of the number of candidates who have a 6 month job on their CV. “Why did you leave?” I ask. “Because the job didn’t turn out to be what they had promised” comes the inevitable answer.

And when two or three such jobs appear, I’m afraid this tells a great deal about the candidate.

So let’s establish a few basic home truths about recruiters:

  • A typical recruitment fee (according to their TOB) for a candidate on a salary of £40,000 would be… (drum roll please)… £10,000. Plus VAT
  • The fee is a percentage. So, the higher the salary, the bigger their fee
  • The fee is usually negotiable. Which says a great deal about the nature of the business (“I’m not asking £10k, I’m not even asking £9k. For you, madam…”)
  • A lot of recruitment activity is speculative (in my experience). I get sent a lot of CV’s even though we are not actively recruiting
  • And to make things absolutely clear – many recruiters are nice people! So nice, in fact, that I wish they weren’t recruiters

Look at it this way. Let us suppose that a job, such as for an adviser, requires a skill set involving initiative, self motivation, and drive. Two candidates’ CV’s appear on my desk. Candidate A arrives in my ‘[email protected]’ email address out of the blue from a recruiter.

Candidate B has done some research as to the sort of company they want to work for, written a polite letter explaining why their skills are especially suited to working for my company, followed it up with a telephone call, after which they have sent me their CV.

Which one is an employer likely to respond to? Which one demonstrates the very abilities required by the role? And when answering that question, don’t forget to factor in the £10,000 fee that the employer may have to pay to the recruiter if they hire candidate A…

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2 thoughts on “How To Be Attractive (to an employer)

  • I hear where you’re coming from Chris. I think the issue is that many recruiters are interested in transactions as this is what drives revenue.

    Interestingly I think there’s a new breed of recruitment consultant out there who are working for the firm, not candidate. This is often done on a retained fee basis where the agency really understand the culture, values and direction of the business and so only seek those (from the whole market, not just those ‘on the market’) who are a sound fit for the Company. The problem is it can be expensive if the right candidates aren’t found.

    This approach also ensures recruiting people who are likely to stay for a longer period.

    Transaction based versus being aligned to the client’s goals… sound familiar?

    Reply
  • I hear where you’re coming from Chris. I think the issue is that many recruiters are interested in transactions as this is what drives revenue.

    Interestingly I think there’s a new breed of recruitment consultant out there who are working for the firm, not candidate. This is often done on a retained fee basis where the agency really understand the culture, values and direction of the business and so only seek those (from the whole market, not just those ‘on the market’) who are a sound fit for the Company. The problem is it can be expensive if the right candidates aren’t found.

    This approach also ensures recruiting people who are likely to stay for a longer period.

    Transaction based versus being aligned to the client’s goals… sound familiar?

    Reply

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