It's time my friends...

It's time my friends.

It's time we just got on with it.

It's time we picked up our industry and gave it a good hard shake.

It's time we took our collective selves round the back for a good kicking.

It's time we all put our collective money where our mouth is, stopped moaning and did something more constructive.

It's time because you, me and everyone else is tired of this.

Tired of the navel gazing, the analysis the fingers of blame pointing at each other.  I'm tired.  You are tired, I am tired; guess what we are all tired.

It's a physical, mental, emotional daily slog that we put ourselves through, continuing to make one of our most basic needs, the need to find rewarding interesting work so tough.   We make recruitment complicated, messy and fundamentally flawed from beginning to end.

That we as a collective support an industry full of inefficiency, bias, cowboys and primadonnas continues to amaze us all.  There can only be so many more blogs to write, opinions to share before we collectively shrug our shoulders and stop caring.

Some of that is my fault and I take that on the chin.  I know I haven't been round to your house lately to sit on your doorstep or invite myself in late at night to talk about it.  I have stopped sitting next to you on the train explaining why we are both part of the problem and for that I am sorry.

However you haven't exactly checked in with me to see how I'm doing so maybe you are to blame as well.  But you have got me in full 'saviour of the industry' mode, the full martyr routine so on behalf of all of us I am sorry.

(We can fix that though.  Come round, drink coffee, talk, I live just around the corner.)

Originally this post used an analogy about supermarkets along with a number of what if’s in recruitment. The what if’s list became very long and they all come back to recruitment being a little bit crap. They call came back to me questioning how much longer I can keep saying this stuff.

In analogy world and in the real life crap position our industry is in, it's our fault. You and me.

We are to blame.

The sad thing is that on a daily basis we have the ability to make it amazing, we have the power to change things, to make a difference, the absolute the power to actually do something about it.

But we don't.

Why not?

Well it suits us all.

Looking back at my last five years in the industry I have been a retained search consultant, contract recruiter, talent acquisition leader and project manager.  I have been in house, Agency and something in between, working with businesses as small as 3 and as large as 50000.

This broad view of the many parts of recruitment has given me some decent insights and whilst people think I make this stuff up it is based on real life experience.

Taking it from the top, Executive Search is flawed - talking about their network which whilst for some is real for a tiny minority is really just LinkedIn for others. In my experience the worst kind of executive search are a certain breed of in house recruiters promoted from their average recruiter job still applying the same old local jobs for local people approach, taking about confidentiality without actually grasping the concept, restriction long their shortlists to a bunch of average looking candidates that bring job consistency but little else.

They are nowhere near stepping up to take accountability for anything but full of suggestions about what other mere recruiters should be doing.

You know who you are. Stop it.

Get better at talking to candidates instead.  Challenge your organisation by bring them interesting candidates that will mess with the status quo rather than the same tired suits they continue to ask for because they don't know any different.  You above all have the power to do that and if you are as important as you say or think you are, have the ear of your exec team.  Use it for good my friend.

We endlessly talk about it but we know the agency model is broken.  Masses of 22 year old Steve's managed by 25 year old Jacks* with no life experience let alone recruitment savvy do not add value. They chase cash not candidate experience.  They put their own gain ahead of doing the right thing for their client or their candidate.

Sure, they whittle out they fittest candidates by a process of attrition and coercion not because they have a deep rooted skill in candidate assessment.  How many managers have I met just swamped by the sheer volume of candidates, swamped until they just give in and interview someone, anyone.  How many candidates finish up in an interview slightly out of their depth because they don't really know anything about the role but their recruiter said it would be good for them, when really it has only been good for the recruiter.

The agency world is tainted by a handful of rich almost oligarch mega rich. They were got into recruitment as they could see the huge volumes of cash to be made and those supporting the NHS continue to make huge volumes of cash, taken out of the pockets of you, me and every nurse that felt underpaid.

Worse still there is a rising breed of young pretenders who whilst not in the same league as their oligarch friends have already adopted similar behaviours, with their offshore trust funds multiple companies invoicing each other in the name of tax avoidance whilst talking about the value they add to their community, to charity or training the disadvantaged... all planned from their swiss ski lodges.

Maybe this is all jealousy or anger or both.

The In house model is flawed.

It is run by people called Stuart or Keith who's only interest is managing the flow of good news upwards, stifling real innovation or doing things better, stopping their teams from development and doing the right thing, hiding behind the glaring inadequacies of their ATS as if we somehow believe that stops them picking up the phone to talk to a candidate.

Is this anger that I didn't cash in earlier, that I chose a different path but then equally frustrated the Stuarts of this world get great opportunities and then squander them away by applying their petty outlook on life, creating and supporting the marzipan layer of knowledge control.  I will never forgot one Stuart telling me that "he just didn't see it" when looking at my CV and whether I could manage a recruitment team in a software business, right after I had got a role managing a recruitment team in a software business which I went on to do for 3.5 years.  He didn't like the competition.

Here's the rub.

I just don't see it.

I just don't see how we get out of this.

Some of us don't want to, why would we, teams of ever hungrier 22 year olds that become 25 year old Jacks, earning their owners hundreds of thousands every year, all of them disposable and replaceable by younger, cheaper and ideally offshore people.

I have put my money where my mouth is, I have put my neck above the parapet only to feel isolated and that a rebel without a cause is just a pain and needs to be silenced.

I was reminded this week by someone in the audience of this event that I had told everyone in the room their days as IT recruiters were numbered and they were a dying breed and I was right.  Only I don't think I will survive long enough to see it.

So my friend what do we actually do? And when I say we, I do mean we.

I have tried things before but I am a lone voice and it isn’t enough. But i’m not quite out yet. So… I tried before tog et REC, IOR, The Firm, APSCo and anyone else who wanted to play into a room together but I failed.

Should I have another go?

Maybe invite DeeDee from the recruiter over to ensure fair play or should I just hang up my recruiter gloves and find something better to talk about.

You decide... Vote here:-


*Other names apart from Jack are available including Jack, Jack, Jack or Jack.


Currently working across Europe with high growth, high tech organisations to develop effective blended onshore/offshore recruitment models, covering full commercial engagement, transition and ongoing delivery management.

I am an avid blogger, writer, public speaker and traveller of trains across the UK.

Follow me on twitter @MDangerfield or find me on Linkedin.