Dating Recruitment Agencies

Friday, July 24th, 2009 - Employment, Job Application, job hunting, job search, professionalism, recruitment, tutorial

Dating Recruitment Agencies

Why recruitment is just like dating


Recruitment, I have to say, is an odd world in which to choose to work. Firstly, and thankfully, its about people – mostly. Secondly, its about huge lumps of legislation, affecting how, who and in which way you can recruit and then employ people: much of it makes sense, some of it is just politically correct paper pushing. Thirdly, it is a market which is going to go through one of the biggest and fastest technology shocks ever seen – in part because its adoption of technology so far far has been minimal.

But finally, and mostly, employment and hence recruitment is about chemistry – emitting from the candidate, and between candidate and employer. In that way, it is much like at times like running a dating agency.

Employment or dating agency?

One of the first things that amused me about the employment and recruiting business, was how quality and diligence of the agency could easily be measured and hence defined by how many candidates they sent in to a particular client for a specific job brief. The best executive recruiters were never likely to send in less than two candidates. The experience with the High Street agencies is akin to a mini-fashion show, so vast was the pile of CV’s sent to them: also like slinging mud at a wall, and hoping something will stick?

From the employment agencies side, the reason for this more than one candidate approach was simple: “we know the candidates have the skills to do the job, and we think candidate A is probably the right person, but you know what: I want to make sure.” The variance is in the chemistry between candidate and employer, because experienced recruiters know that chemistry is not a defined science. Commercially, close in recruitment means no fee payment, so better to hedge your bets. Yes, psych tools and techniques can improve this match ratio, but their biggest gain is in reducing the number of candidates down to a core quicker, as opposed to picking the one. All these systems were devised by human beings, so they also have their chemistry issues.

As recruiter I now know that often, with a good candidate the job they are actually employed for is not the job I was briefed to fulfil. I have seen variance of up to one third, if not immediately then very often just after start date. Simply, good candidates negotiate their own final job briefs, and that says there has been an accommodation on both sides that they want to work together. Hence, it is much like any relationship between two or more people: the combination of both in a successful match leads to a greater and changed result

Candidate employment

One things you quickly learn in recruitment, is to avoid the candidates who are termed in the recruitment industry as jobs board wh*res. These are candidates who are so desperate for a job, they register on every job board they can find. You quickly learn as a recruiter to avoid them, as any job you offer them is always ideal – where as, you know it is not.

If I get asked “which job board should I register on” by a candidate, then I say that firstly, find the jobs you want first before registering. Yes, there are many good specialist jobs boards out there, but the big job boards regularly offer recruiters and employers special deals in order to win business either in a geography or a specialist employment area. Hence, much as though one may have been great for a particular area 3months ago, now due to the others special offer, the jobs and candidates have moved elsewhere.

Once you have found jobs that interest you, before you register on the jobs board, take one more thing into account.

The best piece of advice I can give any candidate, is to act much like the classiest lady in town. Let people know you are looking for a new position – up date your personal network, update your social media profiles such as that at LinkedIn. But, be very cautious what you apply for and who you give your details to. Recruiters and employers like rare skills and driven candidates, with clear targets of the type of job they want. Hence, the less you look like a classy lady, and the more you look like a job board wh*re, the less likely you are to be engaged with and found a job. The more executive your aspirations are, the truer this advice gets.

So there you go: recruit and dating – its all about the chemistry.

Good Luck!


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