The title of this blog refers to a blog I wrote 3 weeks ago which can be read here. If you can’t be bothered to read it or fear that the hyperlink will direct you to that picture of the black fella with the large penis or Rick Astley singing, then I’ll summarise: I, in my infinite wisdom, mused that internal recruiters did less actual “consulting” than their agency counterparts. This was designed to be a standalone blog. Events of the last couple of weeks have turned it into a two-parter. Shall we begin?
Agency Recruitment Consultants are also rarely “consultants”. And it’s not primarily for the obvious reasons. No we don’t listen, and yes we chase money, however the number one reason Agency recruiters aren’t true consultants is that their clients either don’t allow or don’t want them to be. Ah! That feels good to get that off my chest. Let me me give you some examples of what I mean. Got a client who wants to “meet” on Teams versus visiting the office? They don’t want a consultant. Got a client who wants all correspondence to go via the internal recruiter and not the hiring manager? They don’t want a consultant. Got a client who responds to your voicemail with an email? They do not want a fucking consultant. This was highlighted to me a couple of weeks ago. I placed a senior candidate and only on conclusion of the deal did I realise that I’d never spoken to the client about the candidate. No pitch. No feedback. No contract negotiation. No verbal communication apart from taking the intial brief. Over the phone. In less than 10 minutes.
And this brings me on to point number 2. I actually don’t need to be a “consultant” to feel that I’ve done a good job. Every industry, hobby, and subculture has a unique set of derogatory terms for its dodgy, weird, or incompetent practitioners and participants. Newbs, weeabos, bodgers, quacks, palookas. In the recruitment game, there’s nothing worse than being called a “transactional” recruiter. If you asked a round table of internal recruiters about what agencies are really like, the term would crop up more than most and it would be heavily loaded. Well, after over 15 years doing this, I’d challenge this notion. These days, I’m more like a K-Road hooker. Your grotesque sweaty body can bear down on me as I spit in your mouth, or you can comb my hair for an hour as you complain about your wife. An hour is an hour, and my cost is the same. You want “transactional”? Coming right up! If we look at my example above, a client wanted access to my network. They didn’t want to talk about their “culture” or receive a full page of interview notes. It was a case of “who’dya know and can you bring them to the table?”. It was a transactional as it comes, and that’s just fine. Agency recruiters who try and consult to firms who only want transactional recruitment services are wasting everyone’s time. And that brings me on to my third and final point…
Like any relationship, it doesn’t work if we want different things. It is well recognised that offering transactional recruitment services to clients who need consultation is bad juju. We also need to understand that offering the full service to those who want a quick rub’n’tug is equally pointless. And if we’re all honest with each other from the start, then both teams are going to play better with each other. As I write this, I do realise that I am being an idealist, and there’s a big, shit-eating fly in the ointment. Even though most of my clients now actually prefer a more transactional interaction, just watch what happens when the candidate leaves or gets the boot within the first 3 months. It’s of course my fault for not taking a proper brief. Perhaps that’s a blog for another day.