Often during my time hiring people for my teams, I found myself ring fencing a considerable amount of time to review CVs supplied by so called expert consultants. In such instances, I would expect a rejection rate of no more than 25% of CVs, surely at this point they had already been filtered by someone who knew what they were looking at?
Time is precious or in business language, time is money. Lost time is wasted time or wasted money. How you manage your own time is your own choice, the pace you work at is often dictated by personal working style or priorities dictated by your business. One of my largest frustrations with the Recruitment world whilst working in IT was the quality of CVs and applicants for my roles. I know that sometimes you will see a leftfield candidate and that is not what I m talking about here. It is not even necessarily with poorly edited CVs, although there are some lines that should not be crossed there. My big frustration was with agents not recognising clear un-truths in CVs. We’ve all seen it, we’ve all wasted our own time reviewing and identifying it, it does take some knowledge of IT realities to spot it, however is that not what you will eventually pay your expert recruitment consultants for? Is the service being provided not about finding the right, plausible and skilled talent that your time will be well spent interviewing?
Like all great supplier relationships, we tend to stick with the ones that can be trusted and deliver results in an efficient and accurate manner. The challenge with the recruitment sector is that in a purely competitive environment, there is a high risk of there being nothing in it for anyone except the successful agent, that for me is where it all goes wrong. Yes, I hear you say, that’s the risk, you pays your money you takes your choice. Sorry, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Recruitment is a Service, it should supply something that you value. To supply something of value the agent must believe that they will be paid for that service, otherwise the quality drops away as it is highly likely that there is nothing in it for them.
So, what is the solution? The problem sounds a bit chicken and egg, or if you like, poor CVs and no commission, which came first? So, taking the supply of the service first, the agent really does need to understand in depth what is required in each IT discipline. How many times have you been presented with a questionable Infrastructure Engineer applying for a Service job? Yes, they may have good technical skills but both you and I know Service is a both a culture and a discipline, not somewhere I’d put a heavy-weight techie, it will not end well. Secondly, the agent must be able to distinguish reality from the aspirational. I’m referring here to the “I’ve implemented an ERP Platform on my own in two weeks” CV, unfortunately we’ve all wasted our time reading them. Thirdly, the agent must understand the dynamics of team, or the personal characteristics required for that role in a specific department or company. I used to coach youth rugby, it is not dissimilar to building great IT teams, skills can be taught, but coachability and teamwork is a personal choice, however without the last two characteristics you’re going to end up with a group and not a team.
What needs to change at the Customer end? Well avoiding the obvious around the right package getting the right candidate, which incidentally is not always the case, it is about avoiding spreading the role across multiple, low quality agents. Doing that you will get lots of poor CVs where agents are hoping to get lucky. In my previous IT life, I often let the good agents have Exclusivity for a period of time, that way I knew they would invest their time in it and the results were higher quality CVs. I never really found an agent who ticked all of the three boxes identified in the previous paragraph, otherwise I would not be here now doing what I do.
In short, your time is valuable, apply it to adding value in your role. Rejecting multiple CVs that were blatantly not fit for the role is not adding value, it is doing someone else’s job. Choose your recruitment agent carefully. They must be knowledgeable enough to provide you with a valued service.