Establishing a balance
An all-inclusive approach is still needed in some areas of recruitment
In the past decade, recruitment has moved away from the domination of the generalist and now favours the specialist agency. Indeed, the consistent increase of start-up businesses launching over the past few years – with 9,001 new companies set up in 2017 alone – indicates a sharp rise in niche firms operating in the UK. But while niche ‘inch-wide, mile-deep’ recruitment is, arguably, the best way to futureproof your firm, you do need to find the right balance.
For both generalist and specialist firms, there’s still a need for an all-inclusive approach across some elements of the hiring process. Recruiters have long discussed the idea that the candidate experience has taken on a consumer-like style. However, I’d argue it’s not just applicants who expect this. We all demand it in everything we do. We want our suppliers to provide us with top-notch, streamlined services similar to the experience we’ve come to expect from Amazon, for example, where you can purchase virtually anything you need in one place. And your clients want this approach as well.
The driver of this change – as with most of today’s evolution – is technology. We all want an instant solution, which offers the most seamless option possible – without juggling multiple processes and relationships.
Employers, for example, don’t want to be managing several firms that specialise in one particular field through separate emails, meetings and calls to source the talent they need across their entire business. Managing multiple agency relationships through siloed channels, while also ensuring each of these really ‘gets’ the employer brand and represents the company well in candidate communications, is an unnecessary and hugely time-consuming headache for internal hiring managers – hence the strong growth in the managed services/RPO model.
We can’t ignore what everyone is crying out for: a one-stop-shop solution
For recruiters themselves, jumping across CRM/ATS systems and compliance platforms can be a logistical nightmare. If hiring managers are making use of the managed service RPO model, why aren’t there more examples of inclusive offerings for the recruitment sector itself?
If we take technology as an example, there have long been calls to be a specialist in a certain niche rather than look at an all-encompassing solution. Even with social media, we’re told to pick one platform and channel our efforts into this. But is that really the best solution?
It’s undeniably difficult in this recruitment realm to buck the trend and go against the advice of our peers. In fact, whenever I’ve discussed the idea of a streamlined and inclusive offering with my network, the advice has always been to stop trying to deliver an all-encompassing solution and pick one area to invest in. But how else is the industry going to evolve alongside the sectors it services.
Everyone in recruitment needs to be bold and believe in the power of an inclusive approach. Yes, there will be a need for niche offerings as skills shortages drive this demand. However to survive, recruitment firms of all types have to evolve and look at other service models that complement the specialist niche in which they operate.
We can’t ignore what everyone is crying out for: a one-stop-shop solution, whether that be an all-encompassing recruitment partner that delivers specialist talent while managing other generalist suppliers, or a single platform that pulls all your administrative and back-office systems together.