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Recruitment Black Holes and Revelations

By November 22, 20122 Comments

If you’ve been in recruitment long enough you will no doubt be tired by now of hearing about our “terrible reputation” for feedback, follow up, returning calls…for adequately communicating.  Surprising accusation of an industry that really exists to network, build relationships and make matches through various communication channels.

Witness the hysterical comments section of any recruitment-related article that manages to hit the mainstream media networks.  I’ve seen articles in the NBR pertaining to recruitment agencies where it becomes a notice board for the angst ridden jobless to blame it all on the fact that recruiters never responded to their applications.  I’ve seen similar columns written in the Herald that provoke a tirade of sanctimonious attacks on the recruitment industry for failing to return calls or provide adequate feedback.

It annoys me that this happens.  We in recruitment know we have a bad reputation for these things, so it annoys me when recruiters do insist on fueling this sentiment by continually sticking their heads in the sand and not making the hard calls.

But what really annoys the hell out of me is the fact that we aren’t actually different to any other industry in this regard.  This week I have been trying to cancel one of my company car parking spaces at the Britomart Car Park.  This is a place so successful in their product that most reserved spaces are taken and if you miss early bird you’ve got no chance.  Having asked in person how to cancel a space and return the swipe card, I was given a business card and told to contact that person.  So, following a phone call where I left a message, I sent an e-mail making my request.  Two more visits in person to the car park office and another e-mail yesterday have still elicited absolutely no response.

This then put me in mind of other occasions throughout this year in a similar vein.  The estate agent who didn’t listen to a word we said and launched the wrong marketing campaign.  The builder needing repeatedly chasing up for quotes, whilst complaining that things were a bit quiet out there.  The car dealership who failed to respond to a request for a test drive.

So whilst we in recruitment seem to have to bear the burden of attracting the most vociferous criticism about  poor communication, we are by no means alone in this regard.  But what we must also realise is that we are not dealing with products like car parking spaces or vehicles.  We are dealing with people.  More than that, we are dealing with people in a fragile state of mind, in job seeking mode, in a society where your job is so intrinsically tied into status, lifestyle and security that it makes recruitment the most emotionally charged transaction possible.

What all of this comes down to is care.  Recruiters who genuinely care about what they do, who believe that they can make positive differences to some people’s lives, and can fuel the growth of businesses through access to talent, will always communicate openly, honestly and to the best of their ability.  Those that don’t really care, won’t.

Exactly the same applies to management of Britomart Car Park.  But it’s just a car park space, so they sure won’t be held to account the same way we in recruitment are.  But that’s ok.  Once you’re aware of that as a recruiter, it is much easier to hold your head high when the predictable accusations start to fly.


On a separate note, thanks to SEEK for their hospitality at the New Zealand SEEK Annual Recruitment Awards last night.  According to the selection criteria used and voted upon by jobseekers of New Zealand, the country’s best recruitment firms in their categories are:

  • Synergy Consulting
  • Alpha Recruitment
  • Adecco
  • Buzz Recruitment
  • Ultimate Recruitment
  • Retailworld
  • Rann IT
  • Talent International
  • RecruitIT

Well done all, and no doubt see some of you around again soon.


Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • I am looking into higher level functioning of MS Outlook – the using of rules and scripts to auto-respond by searching for email addresses within email bodies (saving on clicking, copying or retyping); auto-populating of Subject lines etc and  Auto signatures to pre-populate emails with standard responses. What I come across more than anything is that people don’t know how to use outlook, and do everything the hard way, so when workloads are high or deadlines are tight, they procrastinate or simply dump it. Finding the easy way to do these things using rules and scripts makes life incredibly easy, and the organisation looks professional. (I can typically send about 50 emails a minute WITHOUT scripts at the moment)

  • Jessica says:

    Interesting comparison John!  Perhaps the car dealership and builder could learn a thing or two from a recruiter; we will always return a call for a new job listing!  Or perhaps they are too busy fighting their own issues with the carpark company or real estate agent behind the scenes!