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Lack of training is supressing the recruitment industry

How does a recruitment business stand out in 2016?

I’m always surprised when I’m reminded that 70% of UK recruitment businesses will never achieve over 10 heads or generate more than £500k of net fee income. In my view, this inability to scale is due to lack of training.

When I first started out in recruitment, 30 years ago, it was the quality of your database that set you apart. Today, the same information is available to every recruiter across the UK and internationally on LinkedIn or via job boards. Even our clients can recruit directly for themselves from the same pool of candidates through LinkedIn Recruiter.

How does a recruitment business stand out in 2016? What’s the differentiator of success for you and your business?

For me, as recruiters we have to offer our clients and our candidate’s great customer service, and that is achieved by investing in good quality training for our recruitment staff.

When my career began, £10k of net fee income represented an average month. This was achieved without a CRM system, without email, without access to job boards and most importantly, no access to LinkedIn!

When I ask recruiters across the sector what a good month looks like billings wise, I’m staggered that the answer is still an alarming £10K per month.

When you consider the fact salaries 30 years were considerably less than half of what they are today, it wouldn’t be nonsensical to assume this alone should’ve doubled our fees, coupled with the fact that the industry has dramatically transformed during this time. With all the various technological changes and the impact of social media you would’ve thought we’d see the productivity and efficiency of our sector increase substantially.

I used to spend hours finding candidates, hand delivering CVs and actually cold calling each candidate and client individually without any assistance from search engines. How is it possible that with today’s tech advances, and the increased number of tools available for modern day recruiters, average billings have not shifted upwards? Recruiters today can work smarter than I was technically able to in the 80s, so why hasn’t productivity increased in this time too?

To me, the answer is simple; Recruiters ARE NOT embracing innovation and tech effectively and training tools for the sector are not up to scratch for modern day recruiters.

Investing in training for your staff is a win-win. Training can improve business performance, increase billings and most importantly boost staff morale.  It leads to better customer service and demonstrates to your team that you value them, improving loyalty and staff retention too.

If we want to increase productivity in this growing market which is estimated to generate revenues in excess of £25 billion this year, we must embrace innovation and training by empowering recruiters with the latest training tools.  The sector has developed significantly over the years and the advent of social media has transformed how recruiters do their job day to day. However, training has not always kept up with the pace of these developments.

I’ve been looking into this for the past year and found that there is no gold standard for recruitment training in the UK. Some of the best training products on the market for recruiters are a little outdated and can be expensive for start ups and small businesses. Trainers typically charge anything from £800 per day to up to £2,000 a day and this not financially viable for smaller recruitment firms.

I believe it’s time that the industry addressed the huge void apparent within training and development. What we need is an up to date, modern product which incorporates social media and a training methodology that enables our recruiters to become knowledge workers with the ability to provide a first class service.

That’s why I have spent the last few years working on a new world class training product in the form of an App, bridging the gap between the old methods and the new tools available to recruitment consultants today.

‘The James Caan Recruitment Guide’ will drive standards and improve techniques across our vibrant and dynamic industry that is becoming more and more dependent on the use of social media.

Not only this, it will help you generate the right skills and techniques that you need to be a professional recruiter.

I’ve learnt a lot throughout my own recruitment journey and it’s time for me to give back to the industry I love and help recruiters to unleash their potential and professionalise their careers.

Be the best recruiter you can be. Source the best candidates in your market, and embrace innovation. Scale your recruitment business beyond imagination.

The James Caan Recruitment Guide will be available from early 2016…Click to register now to be one of the first to download.

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  1. Interesting article, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I too have been surprised by the state of the recruitment sector with the shocking lacking of knowledge of their specialist areas and on occasions an astonishing lack of understanding of candidates abilities. The recruitment field is now awash with automated matching engines which are removing the requirement for them to have an appreciation of the candidate’s potential.

    Recently I spoke to a recruiter who said that I was unsuitable for a role as I had not the necessary qualifications for a senior position. When I asked them if they had noticed my MBA from a prestigious British University they had to admit that had no idea what it was and they were comparing potential candidates to a strict list of requirements and MBA didn’t appear. Did the organisation see the best candidates, who knows?

  2. Quite frankly, you did not address the fact that because information is asymmetric, what you define as being a recruiter, someone who utilizes this asymmetric information, is disseminated to people who have the same tools as recruiters but are not professionals and beat most new recruiters to the punch. recruiters are now hiring managers, social networks, job boards. Your job is being outsourced by software. In addition, the barriers to entry to being a recruiter is ridiculously low, therefore recruiters fee is eroded because it is likely that competition for jobs is fierce among the available jobs for recruiters. Low barriers to entry puts downward pressure on job fees…and the meek shall inherent the earth. The churn within the recruiting industry is a reflection of these market forces. Not to say that training cannot mitigate your risk as a recruiter, but I believe that recruiting is a technology race first, and a skill set second.

  3. in my opinion most RECRUITERS think that they are GOD and treat most job seekers with contempt.

    have fun.

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