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Why we love recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies are going nowhere, tech won’t make them redundant but, admittedly, they – and the sector – has to change

I get fed up being told that recruitment agencies are going to die. That the technology revolution will render them obsolete. Recruitment agencies are as relevant now as they have ever been – perhaps even more so – and no new-fangled piece of tech or machine learning algorithm is going to kill them.

The opposite is true: recruitment agencies are thriving. The sector is bullish. Technology, I believe, presents a huge opportunity.

I recently wrote a blog for Hiring Hub about how the recruitment agency market is changing; fragmenting at an unprecedented pace (you can read it here). Right now, if you’re a specialist micro, small, or mid-size recruitment agency in Europe the future is exciting. Really f****** exciting.

How can I be sure? Well, I’ve been a student of the market for a good while, both on domestic soil and further afield. Quietly watching its reaction to technology and an ever-evolving employment landscape.

And, sure, recruiters are having to be agile, and adapt, but they’re not being killed off. Despite rhetoric to the contrary, no AI-wizardry is going to replace the most low-tech of things: a human, in the form of a recruiter. Here’s why…

1. Recruitment is time consuming and hard. It requires focus and persistence. Two things that, if you’re a hiring manager, you could be channelling somewhere else (your day job perhaps?), so outsourcing it to a dedicated, third-party specialist makes sense
2. Changing jobs is a big decision, up there with buying a house or choosing a life partner – most of us like to talk it through with someone neutral that isn’t friend or family, and someone that knows their market
3. We are humans and we like interacting with other humans (see above). Particularly when we need advice, convincing, and/or reassurance. An AI-bot just won’t cut it
4. Algorithms can identify active or passive talent, sure, but it’s the softer skills and salesmanship of a recruiter that brings open-minded talent willingly to the hiring table
5. The recruitment agency service is more than just finding talent, they partner with companies to share industry knowledge, intelligence and data (but employers don’t seem to acknowledge or value this element)
6. Increasingly, a new breed of well-networked, independent, micro recruiters are going super-niche, and focusing deeper within sector/market verticals; it’s useful to be able to tap into that expertise and black book
7. Agencies are often viewed as a “necessary evil” and yet we still use them (thus proving the “necessary” point); the UK industry is worth >£32 billion a year and it’s growing, consistently, year-on-year

So recruitment agencies are going nowhere. Tech won’t make them redundant. But, admittedly, they – and the sector – has to change. There’s accepted truth in that last point: “agencies are viewed as a necessary evil.” Some recruiters like to fight me on it, but write “recruitment agencies are…” into Google and its predictive search tool does the rest (see results below). Rubbish. Useless. Scum. Parasites. It’s hardly a glowing testimonial.

And that’s really what we’re trying to address at Hiring Hub. Unite employers and recruiters on a transparent, meritocratic marketplace platform where all is equal. Hopefully to engender trust and facilitate long-term relationships.

Granted, we have some way to go to achieve our mission of making people feel good about recruitment agencies, but the ambition and intent is clear.

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10 comments

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