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    • Astar1809
    • By Astar1809 4th Oct 19, 1:31 PM
    • 86Posts
    • 54Thanks
    Ask the Recruitment Consultant Anything
    • #1
    • 4th Oct 19, 1:31 PM
    Ask the Recruitment Consultant Anything 4th Oct 19 at 1:31 PM
    Hello All,

    I have been a recruitment consultant for nearly 10 years now and would like to offer an open Q&A about anything you may want to know. I do know a lot of recruiters operate in what seems a cloak and dagger way at times and are usually not the most forthcoming with information and as a whole the role I have does not come with the best reputation either.

    I am not here to tap people up as I work in a very specialised sector these days but have worked high street recruitment, technical recruitment and more recently "head hunting"

    This might go nowhere or it may help some people who knows, but ask anything you may want to know.
    Last edited by Astar1809; 04-10-2019 at 1:32 PM. Reason: Spelling Error
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    • Jarviscocker
    • By Jarviscocker 7th Oct 19, 11:49 AM
    • 106 Posts
    • 71 Thanks
    What do you think of the consultants fresh out of uni?
    • Astar1809
    • By Astar1809 7th Oct 19, 12:27 PM
    • 86 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    They are Humans like the rest of us, some really good some not so in this particular field.

    Is there a particular aspect to graduates you wanted to ask about, or a bit more depth to the question. I am happy to answer but not sure what I am answering here.
    • Exodi
    • By Exodi 7th Oct 19, 1:23 PM
    • 869 Posts
    • 1,090 Thanks
    Finally the day is upon me! I've been wanting to ask these for the longest time;

    You obviously get a large whack of commission if a candidate goes on to be permanently employed by one of your clients. Except for common decency; how do you deal with clients ending a position with you, then subsequently permanently recruiting that candidate? Presumably you spend a portion of your day with your detective hats on? Any stories about this?

    I guess similar to the above, how do you avoid clients and candidates having a secret conversation at interview to not involve the recruitment agency? Surely you find a lot of posts magically filled by other candidates?

    One of my colleagues sons works in recruitment; one of the clients offered him a brown envelope to allow him to recruit the candidates off the books (unfortunately he did, think he got around 2,000 for it). What are your thoughts on this?

    As you said in your first post, it seems a very cloak and dagger industry.
    Know what you don't
    • Elliott.T123
    • By Elliott.T123 7th Oct 19, 1:47 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 21 Thanks
    I have a very similar background to Astar, similar length of time in the industry and seemingly covering similar sectors.
    Thought I would throw out a second opinion although so far it is all pretty much "what he said".
    Astar, sorry for jumping in on the thread, hope you don't mind!

    Exodi to answer your questions, which I am sure Astar will also give his option on.

    I have never spent time doing the "detective work" unless there is something that has really flagged my suspicions first. You do tend to develop a bit of a sixth sense for when something like that is going to happen. In my experience how you react depends on exactly what has happened, how good relationships are and if the fee is worth chasing etc. There have been some situations where we have just turned a blind eye, for example when the client involved was our biggest client spending over half a million a year with us and the fee involved was a few thousand. There are other situations where we have sent out letters threatening legal action if we don't receive the fee (we have never had to escalate beyond this) obviously you have to decided if this is worth it though as very few companies will work with you again if you send them a letter like that.

    The best story would be the client who were hiring guys to do gas/electric work, they needed to hire about 2-4 a week as they had won a huge contract. They would usually hire 1 a week via us and claim 75% who they interviewed didn't have the right certificates etc. About 2 months later we get a call from one of their engineers who had just been fired telling us that during the interview they were saying to the guys if they cut us out they would get paid and extra 2k a year and that he had a list of every engineer they had hired over the last 6 months. Turned out there were about 20 guys they had interviewed via us that they had hired directly and told us were wrong. Legal letter went out, we got the payment and never worked with them again. I believe 6 months later they lost the contract as their staff turn over was so poor... we had great pleasure in helping their engineers move to competitors for higher pay and a far better working environment.

    The main way to avoid that is building strong relationships with your clients. If you are delivering a good service and genuinely helping a client find the best staff they will (usually) treat you as a partner and will value your service.

    I think that is very short sighted by your colleagues son. Recruitment is actually quite a small world and there is a lot of cross over between companies, I would be surprised if that didn't eventually get back to his current company and I can bet they will make all the other local agencies aware of what happened.
    Last edited by Elliott.T123; 07-10-2019 at 1:52 PM.
    • Astar1809
    • By Astar1809 7th Oct 19, 2:17 PM
    • 86 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    Some great Questions lets get stuck in.

    Backdooring, is the industry term used for taking a candidate and cutting the recruiter. It happens and I am currently about a week away from going legal with a nationally known (a multi billion pound company) who made contact with me to provide a solution for a position their PSL (preferred supplier list) had struggled to fill, They do not regularly use me as they deem my services too expensive compared to the other agencies they work with but as this was a special hire they agreed it was worth it. I attracted a candidate to the role from a rival whom was ideal for the role, sent in the CV and arranged an interview, it was after the interview was arranged (at this point they have no contact details for the person only name and background) the company realised they had a few people whom knew this person and the candidate let me know he had been contacted directly by directors/manager he had worked with before telling him how great it was there and how welcome he would be.

    two days later the interview is cancelled and I was told they had a re-jig in the office and the position was no longer needed. It happens and at this point I felt like I wasted my time chalked it up to experience. Fast forward a month and the company he was working for put up an advert themselves seeking the same job title as this person I was trying to poach, I then do my research and figure out the person I attracted to the role was now working for them. At this point I send in my bill at the 25% (the fee we agreed for a specialist head hunt) and wait, once I have been ignored a week I send a pre-legal letter detailing all the the recorded correspondence detailing my work and the way they had broken terms.

    They argued that as they had people who knew the person they did not feel like paying the full fee and offered me initially a token gesture of 5% of annual salary, then after that was rejected they offered me the fee they pay the people on the PSL (15%) again rejected as I have done my job as asked and to a great standard. I have everything I need to go legal and win, just currently doing the dance where they try and undercut me. It does not happen often but when it does it does become difficult not being taken advantage of and still trying to maintain a relationship with the client.

    In terms of secret meetings and what not, I tend to trust people (Its so hard to build relationships with people without trust) but make sure I have all my paperwork in order so I can pursue if needed, if we are suspicious we have a number of ways of checking if they are employed we do often use the candidates name in the email format the company used to send an email, hoping for a bounce-back but ready to act if we don't.

    In terms of the brown envelope job I view it like so, yes it could be a quick way to make a few bob but not only is it illegal (not declaring and stealing from your employer) it also makes future business with that client very difficult, they know you have taken a dodgy payment and have you over a barrel, it will mean that relationship will likely never progress past a shady one and more than likely the client will look to take advantage of this and offer far less next time knowing the recruiter cannot kick up too much of a stink as they risk revealing they did the dirty. Not for me at all but I can see why some would if they were thinking short term.

    Great Questions by the way, sorry for the essay on them.
    • Astar1809
    • By Astar1809 7th Oct 19, 2:25 PM
    • 86 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    Frighteningly similar response to be fair, I agree with all your points and we both lean toward bad short term thinking by the recruiter.

    Also welcome aboard the convo, I tend to find the people who stick it out this long tend to be the more conscientious ones so happy for the help in proving there are some good ones out there.
    • amazonian17
    • By amazonian17 7th Oct 19, 6:52 PM
    • 140 Posts
    • 94 Thanks
    Thanks for answering mine and all other questions Astar, and Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.
    • sazaccount
    • By sazaccount 8th Oct 19, 5:23 PM
    • 447 Posts
    • 409 Thanks
    Thank you Astar,

    I'm in the situation at the moment where I'm though an agency doing a "body in a seat" role where they need someone to be at the door and answer the phones, kind of mind numbing but I can be on any website as long as I don't put a virus on the computer

    But my boss has suggested moving me to a permanent operations position but wage negotiations and benefits (I'm in Canada so healthcare, dental etc) all kind of swing on what the agency will charge for their "fee" I know I'm not meant to worry too much about this, but the business has one pot of money and the more the agency asked the less initial salary I maybe offered to kind of offset that.

    Not sure I like being a grown up with a proper office job!
    Thanks to money saving tips and debt repayments/becoming debt free I have been able to work and travel for the last 4 years visiting 12 countries and working within 3 of them. Currently living and working in Canada
    • Time to Change
    • By Time to Change 11th Oct 19, 11:10 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 60 Thanks
    Time to Change
    How did you get into recruiting and would you recommend it as a career? Im looking at a career change and always liked the idea of recruitment but not sure if its a young persons game?
    • Ja7188
    • By Ja7188 12th Oct 19, 11:56 AM
    • 324 Posts
    • 273 Thanks
    With the increasing use of ATS systems, increasing use of LinkedIn allowing companies to contact candidates easily and tough economic conditions ahead, do you think there's a long-term future in recruitment consultancy and how do you think the profession needs to adapt to this changing landscape?
    • Astar1809
    • By Astar1809 14th Oct 19, 8:29 AM
    • 86 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    Time to change
    For me, the world of recruitment is the only career that allows me the life style me and my family have become accustomed to. The harder I work the more I earn and I personally cannot command a fixed salary that would come close to the salary + Comms I currently take home. So in this sense I would recommend it, but it is not "easy" and the industry is fairly saturated so bare that in mind.

    How I got into recruitment.... I was working in a tele sales role when I was 23 and while I was doing well I was surprised when I compared commission with an old school friend who was in recruitment, so I made the switch and never looked back.

    From what I have seen there is no correlation to age and success in the recruitment industry, it does take tenacity, long periods of focus and not being afraid to get on the phone and talk to people, in older people joining the industry life experience can be a massive help and also some clients do prefer to deal with a (what they perceive to be) more mature person.
    • Astar1809
    • By Astar1809 14th Oct 19, 8:38 AM
    • 86 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    ATS systems will to a degree limit the impact on volume recruitment but as it stands I cannot see it having an impact on what I do or the technical recruitment side. In both of these markets there is not a large number of suitable people who could do the job and even less applying for roles or with contact details readily available.

    At the more volume end of the market it will have a major impact on the permanent side of recruitment but in truth this is already a sector on its knees. The temporary side will continue to thrive as although these systems could find the candidates most companies do not want to be directly involved in the hire and having an agency helps separate them from being the employers (meaning they pay less net for them). IR35 will have a bigger impact than ATS systems in my opinion but lets see in April
    • Katapolt
    • By Katapolt 16th Oct 19, 2:23 PM
    • 266 Posts
    • 304 Thanks
    Why do some agents feel like such hard work to deal with? It may be down to my area, but people across 3 agencies have done the below:

    - Call me about a position i applied for, then advised me they'll put me forward but only if i explicitly take a pay cut (even though the advert was in my range)
    - Been called up by an agent who has found a job they want to discuss with me, only to then be impossible to contact again! I call back and they're never available and they have replied to one email in 6 months! Why call me if they're then going off the grid? Is that normal? It feels like dangling a carrot and then snatching it away.
    - And another one told me i should leave my secure full time of 2+yrs job to go into temp work while they try and find me something else permanent, and didn't want to work with me when i said id rather hold out for the right role.

    Are these things normal? As a (desperate) job hunter its feeling demoralising constantly finding agents as a barrier not a support.
    • Gavin83
    • By Gavin83 16th Oct 19, 3:02 PM
    • 6,345 Posts
    • 11,031 Thanks
    I think it's important to remember that recruitment consultants aren't there to find you a job, they're there to make themselves and their company money. If you're too difficult to place they won't wish to work with you.

    It's also worth noting that a number of the above suggestions are great for the recruitment consultant (for example double fee for temp then perm placement) but not necessarily great for the job seeker.
    • Katapolt
    • By Katapolt 16th Oct 19, 3:17 PM
    • 266 Posts
    • 304 Thanks
    Valid - Althoughi still cant understand why a consultant would contact me with a job, and then not reply to any calls or emails, or call back when i have left a message. Why call me and leave a message to talk with them, only to then never be available over MONTHS. Seems very strange.
    • an9i77
    • By an9i77 16th Oct 19, 8:21 PM
    • 1,433 Posts
    • 3,486 Thanks
    What do you actually do all day.. what does a typical day look like for you, what time do you start/finish, what activities are you doing...
    • Astar1809
    • By Astar1809 17th Oct 19, 9:00 AM
    • 86 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    Ghosting is the term you are looking for here, where someone initially shows interest but then goes missing for prolonged periods of time.

    If you cannot get hold of a recruiter in a 48 hour period it usually (there are very rare exceptions) means one of three things, 1) They are no longer interested in you for some reason and as they are in a high pressure environment to make money, explaining to someone why they are not right does not seem a positive use of their time as no possible money will come from engaging with you again. 2) They have lost the role they were recruiting for so have nothing to speak to you about, again preferring to use the time they have on things that could yield money as in this industry if you are not billing enough your job is in jeopardy. or 3) There was no interest in you and they did not have a role and they were just looking to see if they could extract information form you about your current or previous employers.

    I know this sounds cold and its really not my style but its just the reality of working in a high pressure environment where you need to earn the company money to justify your existence.

    To address the other points it does sound like a bad or series of bad recruiters from the info provided, but remember these people do nothing you cannot do yourself, you can make direct contact with companies like they do and sell yourself, if they are bad eliminate them. A good recruiter should add value to the process not make it harder.
    • Astar1809
    • By Astar1809 17th Oct 19, 9:29 AM
    • 86 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    My day.....good question.

    So I start "work" about 6am, about half hour after I wake up and check my emails, the truth is I cant really do anything about anything about them yet but it help me plan my day. This takes me about 15-20 mins then I move on to getting the kids up and ready for school.

    Fast forward to 7.45am when I arrive at work, coffee 1st, I am useless without it. and I organise a loose plan consisting of who I need to call and roughly when, take a closer look at any applications I have had over night (rare now in the type of work I do) and then do a priority list of vacancies I need to work on based on urgency, relationship with the client and factoring in risk/reward thought process, I am going to sooner work on roles I am better equipped to fill and have a higher fee for me that one where the candidate pool is smaller and the fee smaller too.

    I work just outside of London so although I spend a lot of my time calling and emailing prospective candidates my aim is to invite them out to lunch, or coffee to meet with them, to do this I need to make sure the role I have is relevant and has some tangible benefits for the candidate so its not a waste of both our time. these benefits can be working closer to home (a big one) flexible working hours, more money (my least favourite driver as it means they can be counter offered and all my work was for nothing) and many more.

    I will find reasons to speak to my existing client base, be it a general catch up, congratulate them on a recent industry award, or even to directly speak to them about a candidate I have recently engaged with to "sell them in" explaining why I think they coul be a valuable asset for the business.

    I oversee a small team so I spend time working with them, coaching and motivating when needed,but I have a good team I trust and they, in the main have the right balance of being short term money hungry and understanding the longer term plan of building relationships with clients.

    From this activity I am often out of the office and as often the best people are currently working I need to make myself available to meet with them after work hours and close to their home (to make it least disruptive for them) . I am often asked to join meeting with prospective clients with member of my team too in and out of standard work hours.

    I get home on a good day at 6pm, busier day closer to 8pm, this is one of the main reasons I have an agreement with my wife that I do no work on the weekends and spend time with her and the kids, it helps keep the balance right as otherwise I would get sucked into things.

    Among all this I deal with any disputes that come into the business as my background before recruitment was a complaints manager so I am tasked with handling those queries for the business, I am a bit slack on making coffees for the team I need to get better at that and of course when you spend 10+ hours a day with the same people there is a few snippets of fun, joking about general gossip as you would soon go mad without some small breaks from having your nose on the grindstone.
    • an9i77
    • By an9i77 19th Oct 19, 3:18 PM
    • 1,433 Posts
    • 3,486 Thanks
    How often do you find someone takes the wrong job, or it doesn't work out from the client's side either? I had the horrible experience last year of being mis-sold a job and I put my trust in the recruiter but felt afterwards that they had distorted the truth about the role to get the appointment and all that lovely commission. I do take responsibility for not finding out more about the job myself but when I raised concerns during the recruitment process about whether it was right for me I felt I was pressured to go through with it. I ended up leaving after 3 months and being unemployed until I found another role.

    I'm just wondering how common it is for either client or candidate to say the role is not working out a short time after starting, and how this makes you feel and how much responsibility you take for it. And whether you lose all your commission/ have to replace for free.
    • fewgroats
    • By fewgroats 19th Oct 19, 3:36 PM
    • 665 Posts
    • 416 Thanks
    Freelance writer here. What's the best way of getting into journalism? Wary of "dodgy" courses.
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