Recruitment consultants may have a stereotypical reputation for being pushy types focused on earning commissions rather than on finding the best candidate for their client, but one agency is focusing on a different approach, using a collaborative approach that focuses on ‘employing human beings’.
In a interview with the Telegraph, the founders of Recruitment firm Futureheads claim to be a different type of agency, as well as being one of the few technology firms in the UK that have three female directors at the helm.
Managing director and co-founder Gill Arnold runs the business alongside Be Kaler and Rachel Murray, with co-founder Kaler suggesting the industry is changing.
“It’s a male-dominated industry but things are changing,” said Kaler “For years I would be the female, Indian person on ‘male and pale’ technology panels at events.”
Only 13.6 per cent of this year’s Britain’s Most Inspiring Businesses employ women at board level.
The founders of the recruitment firm believe they have developed a unique business model in the recruitment industry, which turns the “aggressive” agency concept on its head, they added in the interview.
“We run a collaborative commission scheme, so that everyone in the business is rewarded each month when the business performs well,” explained Murray.
“We pay individual commission as well, but it is important to include people in finance, support and admin, without whom the business could not function.”
Part of the business model is to pool candidates and resources by having recruiters work together to ensure the right person goes to the right company. The firm suggest that these means that the company attracts a certain type of recruiter that doesn’t “tend to be the alpha type.” The company’s motto is: “Work hard and be nice.”
Other parts of the business model includes a personal development day given to staff to work on personal projects or volunteer for charity, with some of their sessions including helping homeless people by teaching basic CV writing, interview technique and digital skills, have successfully helped people find jobs.
The culture built by Futurehead means that they have high staff retention rates in the industry, and in a survey last year 100 per cent of the staff said it was a great place to work.
“The three of us have worked through three recessions, if you include the dotcom bust,” said Arnold. “We have learnt that treating people well protects you during tough times.”
Over 750,000 skilled digital workers will be needed in Britain by 2017, according to recent estimates, and is already experiencing a shortfall in tech-focused talent.
Kalen suggests that more technology workers are leaving full time work to become contract workers as it ”is higher margin, keeps you out of work politics and offers greater work diversity.”
Start-ups, where digital workers are often offered share options, and charities, where they are happy to work for lower pay but greater job satisfaction are some of the exceptions.
Nearly 60 per cent of revenues from the firm come from contractors. Large businesses are increasingly implementing massive digital makeovers, which can require up to 100 digital contractors at once.
The chairman of Futureheads and the only male on the management team, Charlie Hoult, says there has never been a better time to be in this recruitment niche. “Our world prospers in markets where there are talent challenges,” he explained. “If there were loads of people with the right skills around, you wouldn’t need recruiters.”