What is the biggest threat to effective recruitment?

Sep 1, 2020

There is an old adage that says that most projects tend to come in over budget and usually late! This can be due to unforeseen circumstances but in most cases, just poor planning. Recruitment, whether it is for one person or fifty is effectively a project and thus needs to be planned. I would also suggest that because of its nature, recruitment projects are exceptionally intricate because they are dealing with the most complex component of all… people.

So the biggest threat to effective recruitment is time. If you are planning on doing the recruitment yourself, many companies underestimate how many steps are involved and the domino effect if a decision maker is slow or unavailable. If you hire a High Street recruiter and there is no retained fee, they are in a race against time to supply you with as many CVs as possible before quickly moving on to the next assignment. This often leads to ‘spray and pray’ syndrome. If you hire a search recruitment firm on an exclusive and retained basis, they will produce a project plan which affectively controls the timelines. Because we are dealing with people nothing is guaranteed but with this project plan the delivery date can in most cases, be fairly accurately predicted.

In Ireland, it is not just the children who go back to school in September. Also psychologically Irish adults tend to put away the ‘bucket and spade’ on the 1st of September and get back into work mode in their minds. They sit at their desk and look at the calendar and suddenly realise ‘Oh my God, we promised the CEO a new operations manager by year-end!’ and they realise there is only really 13 weeks to the Christmas party. The phones in recruitment land lights up like the cockpit of a Boeing 747 in September with companies asking recruitment firms to come in to meet them to talk about their talent requirements to the end of the year. By the time contracts are signed and job descriptions are agreed and published, it is invariably early October. October and November tend to be the interview season and the process moves to the Letter of Offer stage and employment contracts, reference checks and psychometric reports in the first couple of weeks of December and it is a race to get it completed by the Christmas party. I can just see two managers propping up the bar and one turns to the other and says ‘Wow, we cut it fine on that one, remind me next year to not leave it so late!’ And of course the following year the whole merry dance starts again.

Oh, and still talking about time the difference between recruiting yourself is you will have to devote a lot of time (more than you think) to the project. Giving the role to a High Street recruiter with no retained free means they will do half the project for you. Or the best use of your time is to hire a search recruitment firm on a retained basis and they will do everything except the actual interviewing and thus the least drain on your time. By the way, they will also produce the best fitting candidates for the role.

Financially, if you are recruiting yourself, calculate how many hours you think it will take and then double the figure and multiple that by your hourly cost to your company. If you give the role/s to a few ‘no foal, no fee’ recruitment agencies, factor in about 50% of the hours will end up on your plate. They will charge about 12-15% of the first years salary. Search recruitment companies charge a little bit more but produce a project plan and largely free you up to doing your job.

In summary, time is the biggest threat to effective recruitment and especially in 2020 with the complications and distractions of Covid 19. There are more people on the job market in certain sectors and in others there aren’t enough good quality candidates as people are nervous about leaving their current employer with uncertain times ahead. Whatever approach you take, set aside anywhere from 3-5 months to have someone new walk in your front door. Tick! Tock!

Stay safe,
Bob Hoffman

Executive Search

‘The only way to do great work is to love what you do’ – Steve Jobs

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