Insight from a Recruitment Consultant

Written by ALAN BAXTER of Grace Temporary & Permanent Staffing Services

I do understand the frustrations one goes through when seeking gainful employment because, believe it or not, recruitment consultants have also, at one time or another, had to go through exactly what you are going through as well.

Allow me to give you some idea of what we as consultants have to go through on a daily basis.

A recruitment consultant acquires a vacancy from a client and only places an advert if there are no suitably qualified candidates on our database system. The advert is drawn up from the client’s brief and instructions, and we supply the information that they have given us to work on.

When it comes to the inherent job requirements of the position, as stipulated by the client, we are careful to note that in the advert, so the persons responding – we hope – have taken the time to read the advert carefully and would (only) respond to said position if they believed that they indeed meet the criteria listed.

Unfortunately, in almost 97 + % of the cases, that does not happen.

Example: I am looking to fill a position in Atlantis and am careful to note in the advert that the applicant “must reside within a 35 kilometre radius of Atlantis, West Coast, Cape Town.” The reason being, he/she will also be on standby in case of an emergency call out, and as such would need to report to the factory as soon as possible. Reasonable request, don’t you think?

Now case in point;

I followed up on an advert I had placed on Friday and on checking my emails this morning, had 113 respondents.

This in turn means that I have to open each and every applicant’s CV in the hope that I have a few who have responded meeting the job requirements. Sadly, this is not the case. I have applicants applying who don’t have the required qualifications, work experience or meet the inherent job requirements and who live in Fishhoek, Strand, Somerset West, Mitchells Plain, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Gauteng, etc. – nowhere near Atlantis.  To sift through all the CV’s is very time consuming and were we to respond to every application received, we would have no time at all to do our work. However, it has to be done because there could be that “Golden Nugget” in the mix.

It is not in the recruiter’s interest to not reply to candidates who meet the inherent job requirements advertised, due to the fact that Recruitment Agencies / Consultants derive their income from placements made; meaning, we work on a contingency basis and are only paid by the client if a successful placement is made. If we do not make any placements, a) the company we work for does not make any money; b) the consultant does no earn an income; c) we bear all operational costs e.g. our back office administration staff, advertising, service providers, rent, staff salaries, stationary etc. and; d) we would also be without a job.

Furthermore, the clients do not only use one recruitment agency, sometimes there may be as many as 7 + agencies all trying to source candidates from a very small pool of qualified individuals, and for the very same position using the same advertising portals. This in turn means that the positions you are applying for could all be the same position, just being placed by different agencies.

Now, you complain that agencies never get back to you and on a whole, you are probably correct in saying so, but have you ever thought of contacting an agency and the recruitment consultant who is trying to find you a job, but unbeknown to them you have already secured a position through other means, to inform them of such? Perhaps, with no feedback from the agency you might want to relook at the advert carefully, as well as your CV, and then ask yourself the question, “Do I meet all the requirements listed in the advert”?

You see, for a recruiter to have to continuously call candidates only to inform them that there are no vacancies available meeting their requirements, is time consuming and very costly; however, once a position becomes available and the applicant does meet the required inherent job requirement, the consultant will call you. And I guarantee that quite a few of you reading this will have experienced that one time or another. Besides, were you to call the consultant you’ve been dealing with just to enquire if there were any available positions you might match with, I don’t think they’d mind. I don’t.

Bottom line is… What I need to do, is find and secure you a good job, paying as much money as possible. That way you get paid, I get paid and we’re both happy! Yes?

Money aside, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to phone an applicant to tell them that their interview was successful, are now gainfully employed and able to support themselves and their families. That’s why I do this job and have been doing it for 27 years.

I do hope this explains thing a little clearer to you.

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