Recruitment consultants - value for money?

Recruitment consultants - value for money?

Picture the following scenario:

You walk into the car showroom to buy your new company car. You don't have much time, and you really need some expert advice.

You: "Hi, I need a car for business, and I don't have much time."

Salesperson: "Not a problem, we have heaps of cars here, in fact we have one of the best databases of cars in the business, and I'm sure one will suit you. What are you looking for?"

You: "Well, I'm on the road a lot, so I'd like something relatively easy to drive, with power steering because I'll often be parallel parking etc, plus it must be comfortable to sit in, and with a bit of oomph!"

Salesperson: "What do you mean by 'parallel parking'?"

You: "You know, when you park on the side of the road!"

Salesperson: "Sorry, I don't own a car, in fact I've never driven one."

You: "How can you help me buy a car if you've never driven one?"

Salesperson: "Not a problem - you detail what you want, then I'll check our files of brochures for one where the keywords are the same, then you can test drive the shortlist, and if none of them is the car you want, we'll start again. We'll continue this process until you find what you're looking for, or something pretty close anyway."

You: (Actually you're speechless, so you don't say anything)Fortunately the chances of this happening today are fairly remote. Car salespeople, particularly those selling new models, are professional, courteous and understand their product. Sadly, however, some recruitment consultants today don't measure too well against these criteria.

What typically happens is that many people perceive being an IT recruitment consultant as an easy way to make good money. They enter the job having no professional sales skills and/or training. Sometimes they know nothing about IT!

How can someone offer to find you good staff when they have no idea what it is that you do, or what it is that you want the new-hire to do?

Over the years I have been the victim of many such people - and even worse is when they don't even bother to read up on your company before coming to (waste) your valuable time.

Let me hasten to say that there are also many highly professional, ethical and knowledgeable companies in the market offering competent recruitment services.

What, then, should you be able to expect for your money?

A reputable company should be able to provide consultants who:

- Understand what your company does, and where it fits into the general industry, so you don't have to spend time describing your product or detailing your competitors- Understand the nature of the role you are describing, so you don't have to waste time explaining why you need the job done- Are courteous, professional and ethical in their dealings with you- Return your calls promptly, and keep you regularly updated with their progress- Provide you value for money, and don't take a fat fee for merely delivering you rŽsumŽs that they themselves received- Don't waste your money advertising when the job doesn't warrant it (some do, but some don't)Specifically, their tasks should include the following:

- Competently review your requirements

- Compile and place any necessary advertisements- Review submitted resumes- Interview all relevant candidates- Shortlist those suitable to you- Set up interviews- Provide feedback to all parties- Perform all required reference checks- Assist with final negotiations if required- Provide a decent guarantee- Follow up regularly to check how the candidate is progressingSo, they should understand you, deliver value for money service, and above all, save your time. After all, if you had time to spare, you wouldn't need to hire someone else to do the job for you in the first place!

Incidentally, candidates also deserve courteous and professional behaviour. It amazes me how often I hear tales of people being treated in an offhand, or even rude, fashion. Even worse is when confidentiality is breached.

So, yes you have a right to expect value for your recruitment dollar, and yes there are many professional recruitment companies around that offer just this.

The bottom line is, if you're not happy, then look around - it's your money and your time being wasted.

Graham Young is the managing director and co-owner of recruitment agency Anagram International, which special-ises in the IT industry. He has 20 years of experience in various sales and management roles in the IT industry.

Anagram International

Tel (02) 9144 3499 Fax (02) 9449 5884

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