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Recruitment - Still a Minefield?

In the first of a series of articles, Tony Brookes, Sales Director, Vacancy Filler Recruitment Software looks at implementing an HR Strategy that Delivers Optimum Results

November 12 2014 - Recruitment is probably the most difficult part of running most businesses but also one of the most critical.

The UK recruitment market is set to surpass its pre-recession peak by the end of 2013-14 according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation's (REC's) latest annual Recruitment Industry Trends Survey. It claims that the total recruitment industry turnover reached £26.5 billion in 2012/13, a growth of 3.1% since 2011/12. Looking ahead, the report forecasts accelerating growth for the industry of 7.3% in 2013/14, 8.3% in 2014/15 and 9.6% in 2015/16. This would see the UK recruitment industry surpass its pre-recession peak of £27 billion and achieve a turnover of £28.5 billion by the end of March next year.

Yet there are still too few organisations that have really cracked the 'people' element and implemented an organisation-wide HR strategy that delivers.

Good recruitment involves a number of factors from defining the scope of the role or roles and developing the brief, together with strength and quality of the existing company reputation and branding - which can be reinforced - or not - during the recruitment process.

It includes having a strong and, more importantly, an engaging, communication policy, particularly when it comes to retaining the candidates so painstakingly recruited, and ensuring the candidate has a good 'candidate journey' during the recruitment process.

But how do you ensure that, when it comes to recruitment, you can clearly articulate what 'good' recruitment looks like and more importantly, how can you really ensure that hiring managers adhere to a consistent process aligned with your HR strategy?

First Steps in Recruiting - Which Option to Choose?

If a company decides it either needs to recruit a large number of people, or perhaps that it wants to change the way it recruits, it has a number of options open to it. Perhaps the current in-house processes are cumbersome, costly and inefficient and the organisation decides it needs outside help. But what type of supplier would you choose?

The recruitment industry has consolidated into four classifications of supplier with four different business models; the service-led recruiter; service first, technology second suppliers; Technology Only providers and Service Enhanced Technology providers.

The Service-led Recruiter

The service-led suppliers are the traditional recruitment agencies, specialist agencies and head hunters. In this model, companies are reliant upon the specialist knowledge and capabilities of agency individuals to assist an organisation. The agency gambles that it can supply the right candidate for a role - otherwise they will not get paid. As the agency is not getting its fee until the placement is made and unless they have been engaged exclusively, they will sell the best candidates they can find to the highest bidder using whatever leverage they can to get their candidate to accept the job. The last few years have been particularly difficult for recruitment agencies. This has led to many recruitment agencies focusing heavily on employing sales people as consultants.

Service First, Technology Second Suppliers

This category can be considered as the 'online' recruitment agency. Agencies have been one of the first sectors to be cut when budgets are tightened, and during a recession fewer organisations are recruiting anyway. Some agencies have responded with a cheaper cut-down service offering which usually consists of advertising a vacancy on Job Boards for a fixed price. The agency will use a basic third party applicant tracking system to present the candidates or simply email the responses directly to the client. While this has a number of benefits, there are also disadvantages. Organisations are not building their own talent pools and the candidates are still going into the agencies first. Whilst some agencies provide tools to find and qualify the candidates, there is limited support to identify the required quality of candidates and the agency will always be tempted to increase their margin by pushing the full recruitment agency service so they make a profit.

Technology Only providers

Most technology providers that include recruitment functionality fall in to three clear categories. The first is the extension of the existing HR Management System (HRMS). The second is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), developed specifically for recruitment. The category is Job Boards themselves, with varying degrees of functionality, who post job advertisements directly. All three have varying degrees of integration with social/business networking sites. Hundreds of companies have sprung up over recent years and have different commercial models from simple Pay-as-you-Go (PAYG), Software as a Service model or on a subscription basis.

Business software is increasingly hosted in the cloud and available on-demand rather than on-premise. This means that there is not the IT management overhead attributed to on-premise systems. Whether an organisation adopts a Pay-as-you-Go model or invests in a software Subscription - often as a term licence - largely depends on how often an organisation recruits.

The more advanced ATSs integrate mobile, candidate testing, video interviewing as well as posting to Job Boards and social media and tend to be purchased on a subscription basis as organisations recognise that these systems will largely form part of a bigger HR strategy.

Service Enhanced Technology Providers

This model is the most recent to appear in the recruitment market, where companies have invested heavily in technology and also offer recruitment support as part of the subscription. The aim is to provide the best recruitment tools and resources so organisations can recruit directly which can be cost-effective, provide control and oversight, and allow an organisation to build a Talent Pool going forward. These vendors will often have in-house recruiters themselves who can resource candidates on behalf of an organisation so that if a particular campaign is not doing so well, they can assist their clients by bringing in their expertise, including from optimising job advertisements, proactively searching for candidates or re-qualifying some of the early applicants who may not have fully included their experience or qualifications at the time of application. These services can often be negotiated separately as either a one-off or on an on-going basis, depending on the scope and volume on offer.

Whichever option is chosen - and sometimes it will be a combination of the above - it needs to fit with the company culture and be one that those recruiting will actually use to deliver optimum results.

In the next article we look at additional ways to ensure a recruitment strategy really delivers.

If you would like more information about selecting a new recruitment system please request Vacancy Filler's 'Guide to selecting a Recruitment System' - send an email to

About Vacancy Filler

Vacancy Filler is unique in that it provides a comprehensive, flexible, integrated, sophisticated and easy-to-use recruitment software solution which streamlines the recruitment process for both candidate and recruiter and helps quality of hire, while offering a low cost of ownership and measurable return on investment.

Quick to implement, it aims to provide 80% of the functionality of more established recruitment software platforms at 20% of the cost.

Vacancy Filler is one of the leading suppliers of comprehensive online recruitment software which enables HR teams, front-line managers and senior managers to:
* Automate and centralise the recruitment process to save time and money
*Recruit and retain top talent while reducing reliance on recruitment agencies
*Improve candidate experience and build employer brand
*Align recruitment activity with the organisation's top goals and priorities

Telephone: 0844 800 9376

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