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If you’ve worked in the recruitment industry for any length of the time, you would have been a player in the following scene: A recruiter or recruitment manager contacts a client to say that they or a staff member are “moving on“. The recruiter or recruitment manager requests a meeting to introduce themselves, introduce the new recruiter who will be “looking after you“, or handover to their successor. The meeting is about 45 minutes of a nervous recruiter trying to build rapport, and a client glancing at their watch. The last time one of these meetings was regarded as interesting or useful, Tupac hadn’t even been smoked by Biggie. Yet the “handover” is so ingrained in the exit and onboarding strategy of recruitment firms that these meetings will be happening right now across New Zealand.

I blog about this today as we find ourselves in a similar position here at Rice & Co. Monday saw a new addition to the team in the wonderful Claudia Dawson-Jenner. Claudia came to me by way of a referral from a placed candidate, and from our first, brief, telephone chat, I knew she’d be a great fit for us. Claudia will be spearheading our agency rec-to-rec endeavours, however, sadly for some, that doesn’t mean you’ll be getting rid of me. We’ve learnt a few things over the years, and it’s got me to thinking that the traditional “hand over and run” philosophy we’ve all laboured under previously might not be the best way to do things.

Over the past 24 month we have invoiced 25 different recruitment agencies. Technically, you’re only a client of ours if we’ve invoiced you in the last 12 months, but that’s a bit cut throat. Add to that a few new clients, and some that we haven’t worked with recently but would like to, and there’s probably about 30 clients that Claudia needs to meet. Factor in the time it takes to pin someone down, send a request, have that cancelled, rebook, get through the traffic, and spend 45 minutes talking about Rangitoto College, and each meeting is sucking up at least an hour and a half. So there’s a least 45 hours eaten up of a new starter’s time. Of course, this could be done in a week, but with systems training, meeting the internal team, and actually talking to candidates for the role you’ve been spoon-fed, this takes weeks to get through it.

Is it actually worth it?

The big problem for me is that when NZME, SEEK, TradeMe, or any supplier that we use has a change of account manager, we have the same pointless meeting. And it’s pointless because the new account manager hasn’t been there long enough to know anything. I know more about their job than they do. Yes, it’s about “getting to know each other“, but contrary to what the bar tab at Vultures’ may indicate, I’m a busy man. I’m not going to change suppliers because we haven’t spoken about kids gymnastics in a f*cking miserable client visit.

So instead, we’re taking a slightly different approach. Not much, but slightly. Firstly, we’re going to have less client visits in the first few weeks. And we’re only visiting clients who we have something to talk to about with – be it a live role, or an interesting candidate. By the time Claudia meets people, she’ll actually have something worthwhile to say that isn’t about what level your kids perform water polo at. We’re also not “handing over” in the traditional sense. Claudia will lead most activity, and I’m convinced she’ll do it better than me. However, I’ll still be there, sourcing candidates, filling the odd role, and dealing with some female clients who clearly fancy me and won’t work with anyone else. Claudia is the Rice to my Co.

Anyway, we’ll see how it goes, but if you do want to spend 45 minutes talking about Rippa Rugby and not about recruitment, best book a meeting with Claudia soon. She’s a fast learner.