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What do recruiters do for their fee?

Often we will speak to a prospective or even current client (the later in jest – we hope), and there can be a commonly held (mis)conception that recruitment is “money for old rope”, a commodity and likened to professions with the worst connotations. Let’s be honest, in some cases this is correct. Sadly, there is no enforceable regulation in the sector, there are trade bodies who ask their members to maintain certain standards, but membership is not compulsory. This can lead to some people/agencies giving credence to the above statements. However, in many cases this is simply untrue, and a good recruitment consultant can and should absolutely be worth their fee. In this article, we will explore some of the things a recruitment consultant will/should be doing for you, and the benefit of using them.


Step 1 – Candidate Attraction: The value of a good candidate network

Again an observer who spends any time on Linked in could be fooled in to thinking that all a recruitment consultant does is put a post on Linked in and wait for candidates to come flocking in then forward their cv and collect the fee. And they would be right in some cases!

When looking to appoint a recruiter whether contingent or retained, ask them. What steps will you take to source for this role? Yes, Linked In will form part of a wider candidate attraction strategy, but hopefully for you (and the recruiter) it won’t be the sole method used.

A huge part of a recruiter’s job is to develop a network of people, companies and referrers in order that they can reach what we call passive candidates. These are the people who aren’t actively seeking work, maybe don’t engage with social media, or didn’t know they were looking, but wanted to hear about a perfect opportunity for their career goals. A good recruiter should know, the account handling candidate they met 7 years ago wanted to be a client director in the long-term, and should track their career progress so they are ready when the time is right with the perfect role.

If your recruiter is solely relying on advertising on Linked in and/or third party job sites, other than the fact they can probably offer the ad space cheaper than you can buy a single ad, you need to ask yourself what value they are adding, and any fee should be commensurate.

We shouldn’t take away from this form of recruitment and there is an intrinsic value to the time saved sifting through applications, and there are plenty of high quality active candidates, but the amount of the market you are restricting yourself from in not engaging passive candidates is huge and often high quality.


Step 2: Creation of a shortlist

If your recruiter is sending you more than 3-5 cv’s per role (unless you’ve requested it) you must ask, what time is being saved. Once a candidate is attracted, it’s the job of a good recruiter to interview and asses against the assigned job specification.

Remember, only 1 person can be offered this role (unless you are recruiting multiple people), so why on earth would you pay a fee to have to meet with more than 3 or at very most 5 people. Ask yourself how much your time is worth, if you speak to a good recruiter, who takes a detailed job brief, you should expect no more than 3 candidates and if they really understand your business, and you trust their judgement it may even be less.


Step 3: Offer Negotiation

So, you’ve met with 3, or potentially 33 candidates, depending on what candidate attraction method you are using, and/or what kind of recruiter you are working with. You’ve found the perfect candidate and you want to make an offer. When a recruiter is not involved, too many companies take for granted that the candidate is comfortable in negotiating their own financial package. This isn’t always the case, we examine a little closer below.

Don’t underestimate how hard it can be for someone to push back to an offer, you spend an interview process building a rapport, feelings are good, the candidate is engaged, then a sub- par or sub-expectation offer is made. The candidate wants to join your company but doesn’t want you to feel they are being ungrateful, they twist themselves in knots not knowing which way to go and end up burying their head in the sand, accepting begrudgingly or flat refusing the offer, all are poor outcomes which are easily avoidable with a mediator (recruitment consultant).

And this isn’t us “over egging the pudding”, the above example is based on plenty of real- life examples. Remember the would- be account director we met 7 years ago!? The reason we are still in touch with them now is that, even if we don’t secure them a role during that 7 year period, we are here at the end of the phone throughout their career to act as a sounding board, offer advice and just have a catch up. They told us what happened when they were offered directly and didn’t know how to react, we helped them through it and that’s why when you needed to source an account director for your current role, they were ONLY working with us.


Step 4: Ongoing support

Common myth number 4 (assuming working with a reputable recruiter). “Once the candidate is placed and they have their fee, they are nowhere to be seen” – False!

In an industry where there is no such thing as recurring revenue (i.e. permanent recruitment), the biggest commodity any recruitment consultant has is their reputation, in a market like the insurance sector which we all know is very close knit, any recruiter who acted in this way would soon be found out.

The service shouldn’t and won’t stop at placement. Often we have been there as a sounding board for both client and candidate, in some cases the first few months weren’t going as well as expected, but after an hour over coffee with the independent mediator (recruitment consultant), that initial reaction that it wasn’t going to work out is reversed. And often in these cases once the initial teething issues are overcome, the client/candidate’s relationship goes on to be a long term and fruitful one. You cannot assign value to the ability to be able to talk through your situation with an independent party in total confidence, this is something you will not receive without a recruiter involved.


In summary

Absolutely, you can recruit using an advert or a transactional recruiter, and for some assignments and maybe even your business model this is the right way to go. But if you feel that you need some more depth of service and a consultative, relationship led approach, then why not engage a professional consultancy

Writen by: Richard Townsend on 2020-03-16

Tagged under: Independent Appointments, Legal, Adjusting Appointments.

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