It was the best of times...

It was the worst of times,
It was the age of wisdom,
It was the age of foolishness,
It was the epoch of belief,
It was the epoch of incredulity,
It was the season of light,
It was the season of darkness,
It was the spring of hope,
It was the winter of despair,
We had everything before us,
We had nothing before us,
We were all going direct to Heaven,
We were all going direct the other way…
(Charles Dickens)

Looking back at what has gone before is often how we move forward into what we don’t yet know.  Luckily I’m not remotely trained to comment on the psychology of our decisions but I have been around the block enough to realise that this is a tough year and just maybe is going to get worse.  The recruitment industry is certainly experiencing that right now, looking back it has been ‘good times’ looking forward is a bit more difficult to tell.  The unknown is actually more a problem for us than you would imagine (or possibly care – I have yet to hear anyone sympathetic about the plight of the £24Bn per annum recruitment industry).

Professional recruiters, like me, who take their business seriously like to work with a pool of talent, often over an extended period of time.  It means that when a client asks us for something we can react more quickly and in some cases get candidate and client talking before there is a legitimate business need.  Right now though that just isn’t happening.

So what’s the answer?

Well I’m going to keep doing what I have always done, keep talking to candidates, keep talking to clients and get them talking to each other because this ‘recession thing’ won’t be here for ever, but to do this I need everyone’s help!  However the recession does continue (quite likely) or bites even deeper then my clients are going to need people to cull their workforce and re-engineer how they operate.  This for me is opportunity, opportunity for all of us if we keep doing the right thing.

Some of my competitors have started to focus on what I think are the wrong things (haven't they always?), slashing their fees, doing buy one get one free deals, anything to keep the wheel turning.  This is not good business and never will be in this industry. It is tarnished enough by the cowboys and this approach to ‘pile them high, sell them cheap’ recruitment adds little or no value to the businesses they are supplying.  As candidates you should question this approach, do you want to be one of twenty CV’s thrown at a client or one of two presented to a client because you are a really good fit? As a client you should challenge the real cost of recruitment, not measure fees paid, they really aren't the same thing.

As ever I will be the saviour of the UK recruitment industry, just maybe not today.  Call me +44161.408.4005 email me if you want to talk about how I can help you find a job or you are a client that values quality and value and would like to have a real commercial conversation about the real cost of recruitment.