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Ask Lawrence: Why are recruiters needed now more than ever?

28 Aug 17:00 By Lawrence Akers

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I only started to notice this a few months ago but it seems to be something that is becoming more and more constant nowadays.  In the past, it existed as a simple rejection but now it seems to have a little more attitude and smugness attached to it.  What is it, I hear you ask?  Well, it’s the words “No Recruiters Please - we’ve got this” added to the end of the job ads.

And to be honest, my immediate response is, “Yes, but have you?”

Allow me to explain why.

In the past, when there were less qualified creatives than there were jobs, recruitment agencies were essential to help search and find those skilled creatives.  Right now, we are in a job short market.  It means that each job right now will be getting 5-10 times more applications than what it would’ve 12 months ago.

This is a good thing, right?

Well, yes and no.  When you look at it this way, it keeps coming back to my current metaphor of a job being the sole chip in the middle of a large field full of seagulls.  Ever walked into the middle of a colony of seagulls with a chip before?  It’s a flurry of full on activity because some of  those seagulls are desperate for that chip.

I understand that many businesses are thinking that we’re in a recession and there are lots of people around, it will save us money if we find our new recruits ourselves.  This is true to some extent however if we think about this logically, if you have a need to bring people onboard, this means that you’re busy.  And if you’re busy, is your time best spent working through 5-10 times more applications than what you would normally receive?  

In most cases, the immediate requirements of the business are going to be the most important because they generate invoices and keep the business open.  The impact of this is that the job requirement becomes secondary and so there is often a massive delay in the job being filled, prolonging the pain within the business as people try to cope with the deadlines using the resources they have currently available.   The longer that position stays unfilled, the more drain on your existing resource and the harder it becomes to get everything that is a priority done.

Yet, a good recruiter would currently be having conversations with people and would know, potentially off the top of their heads even, who is around that is going to perfectly fulfill that requirement.  Doesn’t really make sense to exclude them in the hiring process, does it? 

The ironic thing is that, to be honest, many of these job ads are an indication of a potential ‘revolving door’ within a business.  I’m not one to throw shade unnecessarily but I can tell you that some of the recent ads I’ve seen that have used the ‘we’ve got this’ line are companies that, to be frank, I probably would declined to work with anyway.  Our design industry is actually not that big and people talk; I’ve been asked to work on a job for a company in the past and within 24 hours, I’ve clearly established that I should let that client go because the feedback from everyone I have spoken to is that they wouldn’t want to work with them (again) in a million years.  The damage that those businesses have done to their own brand due to how badly they’ve treated people has, in many cases, cost them ever getting access to the top shelf creative talent out there that they desperately want to attract.  Ultimately, as recruiters, we wouldn’t dare tell a studio how they should be designing something because that is what they specialise in.  As recruiters, the years of collective experience working across a diverse range of personality types means that our understanding of what makes an exceptional placement is something of enormous value to any business, ultimately finding the right person faster and at less cost.  But that’s ok, I can trust you if you’ve got it, and I look forward to seeing the ad repeated in a month or two.  Cheeky?  Yeah it is, but we’ve got this.