The world and beyond – Surviving in the economic jungle

Advice, tips and tricks on how to engage with the UK jobs market and commercial environment, from a female executive's perspective

My view as a job seeker

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Last year, the bottom fell out of the Automotive market and I was made redundant. After 23 years of working in recruitment, at senior level and with an excellent network of contacts, I was without a job.

I decided to set out on my own and had some really good early wins but, early this year, decided to give the job market another whirl. Not only to see if it has improved at all, but also to see “what was out there”. And I was curious.

What I found, ranging from Rec to Recs who really don’t have a clue, through to recruitment business owners that I certainly wouldn’t hire into recruitment myself, made me realise that I was best set on doing my own thing.

It is horrifying how little recruitment consultants, in general, know about their clients, the markets in which they operate and conversely, what candidates require. I spent quite a bit of time doing interviews with these consultants, and it was a bit sad that so few of them actually understood what I was about.

I am very honest with my candidates. Because I work on my own, it is impossible for me to help everyone and I have no intentions of building a massive database as I truly feel I have moved beyond the “spray and pray” style of recruitment. I don’t make promises I can’t keep. I tell them not to expect a call from me every day because I don’t have the capacity, but when I do call them they will know it is with a real and applicable opportunity.

It’s just simply plain good manners isn’t it? Admittedly, sometimes someone falls through the cracks (I am only human, and I don’t have any admin support) but I always to recover by apologising.

So why raise unrealistic expectations if you know full well that you can’t deliver? If this is how my competition operates, then my honesty and integrity is one of the largest USP’s I can possibly offer my clients and candidates.

After the very tough year of 2009, I have been amazed that recruitment companies don’t understand that they have to change if they want to survive. It’s not about bums on seats, recruitment is about providing a solution that creats a tripartheid win: For the client, the candidate and the consultant. 

I firmly believe that the “agency” bubble will be bursting very soon if this isn’t recognised. For me, this can’t happen quick enough. It’s time we forgot about making money and start delivering ROI on our client’s investments. The money will come naturally then, but the industry’s image will be much improved.

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