Tim Jubb |

The convoluted title of this blog points to just how complex this subject is. It is one of the paradoxes of the recruitment industry that, despite placing candidates on a daily basis for clients, sometimes the hardest roles to fill are internal. It is one of the reasons that typically recruitment businesses have a high turnover.

Often consultants that you expect to be a roaring success don’t last as long as a packet of biscuits, and those that you expect to be a bit wet around the ears can turn out to be excellent hires.

By why should that be the case? After all, as recruiters it should be relatively straight forward to fill internal roles. The truth is that it is far from simple. You’ve probably all seen recruiters that you expect to succeed quit after only a few days, and perhaps some that you weren’t sure about prosper. It’s extremely difficult to know which will apply.

We think we’ve pinned down three reasons why it is so difficult to hire a successful recruiter every time.

1. No one recruiter is the same

Often one of the most appealing things for recruiters is being able to run a desk like their own business. The ability to set their own KPI’s- so long as the bottom line figures work out, of course- is a constant draw. This approach has merit for experienced recruiters, but it does have its downsides. By hiring a recruiter that sets their own KPIs, or has a unique way of working, means that you cannot apply their example to future hires.

2. Putting too much stock in past performance

Like a disclaimer on a fund factsheet, past performance does not necessarily point to future success- a recruiter’s performance could drop off if the market conditions are not favourable. For example, a non-compete clause will restrict a recruiter’s contact with their oh-so-loyal client base, normally for 6 to 12 months, which could mean they have to revert to cooler sales leads to begin with. Recruitment is such a subjective job that it hard to know if a Consultant will be successful in a new environment.

3. Hard to quantify skills

Industry commentator Undercover Recruiter suggests that the six must have skills for a recruiter are a salesy nature; a match maker; good communication skills; positivity; IT literate; and a bit bonkers. Now, the IT literate test is relatively straight forward. You could maybe even quantify positivity, but testing for just the right level of bonkers might be a bit challenging. “Do you ever feel like you’re in an episode of The Chuckle Brothers?” is not an acceptable interview question

So what is the solution? Well there’s no magic wand. Recruiters are an eclectic bunch, and that is one of the main reasons that they are so difficult to recruit. While hiring in a systematic way has merit, when it comes to recruiters sometimes gut-feel is just as important.

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