Demand a little more from recruiters, and yourselves.

I should know by now that attending anything vaguely resembling an “HR roundtable” is only likely to result in my blood pressure going in one direction. The coming together of HR professionals can result in one of two things,

1) Creative thinking, challenging conversations, original solutions.

2) Dumbing down, group think, collective moaning.

You know which one is the predominant outcome, because you’ve been at these sessions too. But that’s not my point. This particular session was discussing recruitment, recruitment providers and the future recruitment market.

As I ate, what was an undeniably good meal, and listened I heard suppliers complain about procurers and procurers complain about suppliers. I heard,

“We want”, “We need”, “We don’t get”, “We expect”.

From both sides.

What I was hearing was the inability of the demand side (HRDs) and supply side (recruiters) to express the value that they wanted and provided. HR generalists are notoriously feckless and lazy when it comes to recruitment. They place vacancies with recruiters (at all levels) because they can’t be bothered to work out what they want, why they want it, or how they might achieve it.

Third party recruiters have, over time, been happy to accept this, make money from it and exploit the relatively soft market. Providing diminishing returns for increasingly unrealistic fees. They accept vacancies without question, see it as income generation and are target orientated.

Where is the definition of value? Can recruiters really define the value add? And do HRDs know the value they want the supplier to provide and demand it from them?

I can’t help thinking that so many of our issues with suppliers are down to our own poor management and laziness. Our inability to reflect, define and demand. Our tendency to act, react and take the path of least resistance.

Successful markets require good supply and demand. We can’t control the supply, but we sure as hell can be more in charge of our demand.