Last week, my co-founder, Carl, gave a great presentation on what lies ahead for recruitment at The Future Workplace Summit. Like me, his view of the sector is that it’s pretty tired and ineffective, and needs to be shaken up and disrupted. Carl took what some people might view as a bit of a risk and said exactly what he thinks is wrong with the industry, and the response was brilliant. He was called ‘spot on’ and ‘refreshing’ by delegates and was also mentioned in a tweet which – like Carl – tells it like it is.
An outdated approach
A core part of this presentation was one of his main frustrations with the recruitment industry: the fact that it just isn’t keeping pace with change. He mentioned how only thirty years ago we had no internet at all. Social media wasn’t a thing until ten years ago. Aside from making us all feel old, it also shows the truly phenomenal pace of technological development. But has recruitment kept pace? Given that over a span of decades, most recruiters and jobseekers have really only evolved from using a typewriter to write a CV, to attaching it to an email – I’d say no. Admittedly, some firms use technology such as Skype or video interviews as part of their recruitment process, but is this really cutting edge and innovative? It’s genuinely disappointing that so many individuals are using outdated, ineffective methods, given how high the stakes are for businesses who make the wrong hire or for candidates who start a new job only to regret it.
It’s hard to understand why the recruitment industry is so behind the times. If we look at the size of the sector in the UK, stats show that it’s worth £32.2 bn and that over 35,000 competing businesses are operating in that space. And it’s still growing, with an average of over 480 new entrants each month. Bafflingly, they are all in a crowded market doing more of the same. There’s no clear direction of travel for the industry, just a sense of stagnation.
It’s also really no surprise that the sector is viewed poorly when all of that revenue is being generated, yet candidates and clients are rarely getting real value. Having used recruiters to search for talent and as a candidate myself – as well as from discussions with my own professional network – I know that many people feel the same about the commerciality of agencies, with fees being the most common bugbear. Too few are using this revenue to re-invest in innovative ways to make the whole process more effective for the benefit of clients and candidates.
Challenging the norm
This frustration with the lack of innovation was a key factor which led Carl and I to set up AnyGood?, a platform where professionals recommend professionals for roles. It harnesses the power of online networking and the speed with which we can all communicate through social media.
It’s definitely time to say goodbye to the traditional agency model and take a fresh, dynamic approach to recruitment. In our modern, well-connected world, we don’t need recruiters to put us in touch with the right people: we can do that ourselves if we tap into the power of our networks and recommend others for jobs that we know they’d be perfect for.
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