I have been working in the Tech recruitment space myself for over 10 years now and have seen many changes within the industry. One thing that has not changed unfortunately, is the (negative) way recruitment is perceived by many.
Where does the frustration come from?
First of all, I do understand why candidates and clients get frustrated at times and yes improvement on this front is needed. However it would also be good to have a look at it from the other side and think about why the quality of service in the recruitment industry seems to be very low according to many people.
When I started in recruitment myself I had no idea what recruitment was, nor did I have any idea about technology. So why on earth did my first recruitment employer hire me? Most likely because I spoke English in combination with Dutch and had a tiny bid of sales experience. Now this example makes part of the problem very clear straight away. After 1 morning of training and a checklist of interview questions in front of me, I was sat behind a telephone. Objective: Call 40 people from a list and try to get them interested in a position at a company I had no idea about.
Who is to blame?
A first logic reaction would be that my first employer was to blame for getting someone with absolutely zero experience (me) to talk to these “poor” candidates who were clearly getting frustrated with my lack of knowledge. However thinking about this in more detail I realised later that, in order to get more experience, you need to start from scratch like with any other job. The big difference with other professions is though that there is no “Tech Recruitment School” or “Degree in Tech Recruitment”. Of course one can obtain a Degree in HR, but most recruiters out there will agree with me when I say “HR is not Recruitment”. Eg: Software Developers who start in their first job will have some coding experience already, obtained in their studies. All recruiters (I know at least) have rolled into the job and started with little to none experience.
Can recruitment companies offer more training to their staff? Of course they can and they should, but the question is how much training is needed to be able to do a proper qualification of a candidate and run a complex recruitment process from A to Z? Recruitment is a very difficult and hugely underestimated job. It took me a looooong time and many mistakes before I was comfortable with what I was doing. Also the best (or maybe only) way of learning is on the job.
My main point here is, I can´t really blame my old employer for not having invested 6 months of full time training in me before putting me in front these candidates who expect a high level of knowledge of recruitment and technology at the same time. The turnover in recruitment is very high and many quit within their first 3 months on the job…also for obvious reasons I suppose.
So what can we do about it?
Luckily these days there are more and more opportunities available to skill recruiters up faster, the question remains though: how much is a company willing to invest in their personnel rather than only focusing on quick ROI? I also think that learning on the job is always going to be the best way to skill someone up in this industry. Within recruitment we deal with people, not with products, so the “one size fits all approach” does not work.
My personal opinion is that the difference will be made by companies who have a coaching structure in place, so that new recruiters can learn quicker from mistakes and real life situations. Quick feedback loops and a focus on learning specific key skills first, rather than expecting them to learn the full scope of recruitment in one go should be the way to start.
Recruitment is becoming the key factor for growth for many companies in the startup- and technology field. So it makes me wonder, why is there no “Recruitment University” just yet? Any thoughts on this anyone?