Is the recruitment industry still relevant in the post-recession economy?
It is now commonplace to argue that recruitment as an industry is dying, or even that it kicked the bucket years ago. Many reasons are cited for this decline: problems with candidate experience; a lack of understanding of the needs of a client;a “quantity over quality” approach that leads to HR departments having to wade through reams of irrelevant CVs submitted by companies that were supposed to have vetted applicants.
Before the financial crisis, this form of recruiting was the norm, as business was booming and companies were able to commoditise their recruitment function. However, in the post-Recession world, this is no longer an acceptable state of affairs. There are still jobs out there; however, businesses want to fill them with the very best people, rather than simply any candidate that ticks enough boxes. There is little wonder that an ever-increasing number of posts are filled by direct resourcing: businesses are looking to ensure the quality of their recruits by re-exerting control over the recruitment process.
The shifts are not solely driven by the motives of employers, as traditional recruitment is no longer sufficient to satisfy the requirements of prospective employees. Never a particularly reliable or thorough method of representing a person’s experience or requirements from a role, a CV is even less representative of the complex nexus of an individual’s desires. With the rise of Generation Y, the workforce are more concerned with finding the right job, and financials are no longer the predominant factor- work life balance, social responsibility and workplace culture have become major factors in the search for employment.
It is no longer enough to match a CV to a job spec. Businesses are looking for so much more than a list of relevant skills, and for most job seekers, the idea of their complex blend of desires and needs being reduced to a sheet or two of A4 paper is not acceptable.
If the recruitment industry is to survive, there needs to be an understanding that knowledge is absolutely vital: deep knowledge of exactly what a business needs from a potential hire; a nuanced understanding of the motives behind those looking to move. Executive search firms must take the time to talk to both client and candidate, to learn exactly what it is that they need, and to act in an advisory capacity to find solutions that satisfy both parties.
Recruitment, in its pre-recession iteration, is indeed dead. The future of the industry lies in providing bespoke, independent and, above all, informed advice to both clients and candidates.