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Want to save money on recruitment?

Recruitment can be a bit of a vicious circle for SME organisations. In order to grow and become more successful they need talented people. But to recruit these people takes time and recruitment expertise. Something that is often lacking within smaller companies.

There is of course a plethora of recruitment agencies ready and willing to help them with recruiting their key players. But this comes with, at times, a rather hefty price tag. Smaller organisations have less bargaining power and tend to be charged higher rates by recruiters. They can pay up to 25% of the annual salary to recruit a role. A few vacancies a year and this quickly adds up to a substantial amount. Something that smaller organisations could do without spending.

What can be done to save money on recruitment?

There is the simple option of doing it yourself. While it will no doubt save you money on recruitment, it will take up an inordinate amount of time. From reading and assessing the potential 100 CVs per vacancy, to speaking to and interviewing possible candidates and searching for those hidden gems on LinkedIn. Whoever is given the responsibility of hiring, will soon find that it can take over from their day-to-day tasks.

This is where we come in. We like to do things a little differently and have changed the way recruitment works. We’ve split the traditional recruitment process into three easy to understand modules. They give you the chance to only pay for the elements you need, whether that’s simply creating a pipeline of CVs for you to manage yourself to a full consultancy service that includes pro-active headhunting.

Our fees are payable upfront and range from £850 to £2,899. This represents a substantial saving compared to traditional agencies. Check out our savings calculator and you can see for yourself how you can save money on recruitment.

Don’t worry though, we’ve got over 20 years’ recruiting experience behind us, so you’ll still get an expert recruitment service, just at a new fairer price.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in then please get in touch and we can show you how we can help you find talented individuals and save money on recruitment at the same time.

What to put in your cover letter

Cover letters may not play the same role in recruitment as they have in the past, in fact your cover letter might not be a letter at all. More of a supporting statement added to an email or a job board application. Whatever form it take there is still a need for additional information to support your application.

CVs by definition, are a short summary of your academic and working life. While you can convey a certain amount of information in them, they don’t allow for much of a chance to ‘sell yourself’. This is where the supporting statement comes into force, it allows you space to highlight why you want and are right for the job.

With there often being a limited space to create your masterpiece, what do you need to include to ensure it supports rather than detracts from your application…

Don’t just regurgitate your CV – try not to fall into the trap of simply repeating chunks of your CV, listing roles you’ve had and for how long. Those hiring can read all that on your CV, take the opportunity to expand and add detail. Pick one or two aspects of your CV that highlight why you’re suited to the role.

Tailor it to each and every role – just like your CV, any supporting document should be tailored to the role you’re applying for. Read through the job advert and try to pick out phrases and terms they use. If the job advert ask specifically for someone with Sector X experience and an understanding of Y. Then mirror those phrases in your letter… ‘My 5 years working within Sector X has given me lots of exposure to Y…’
Highlight achievements – as you would do in your CV quantify your statements with proof. Don’t just say you’re a brilliant sales person, tell them how much you increased sales by or how you’ve exceeded your target for the past 2 years etc…

Don’t be too keen – while it does give you the opportunity to say how much you want the role and how perfect you think you are for it. Try not to come across too desperate or go to over the top as it may just sound fake.

Remember the basics – it is highly unlikely that you will be sending your application in the post, however it is still important to include basic information. If you’re sending via email make it clear what position you’re applying for, make sure your name and contact details are easy to find. You don’t necessarily have to structure it like a formal letter with the date and postal addresses but do start and end it properly. Dear XX or To whom it may concern, rather than a simple, hi…

Do a proper proof read – don’t just rely on spell checker as this won’t always pick up grammatical errors such as the wrong use of there, they’re or their.

Contingency recruitment: the real ‘mad men’?

I’ve recently been following a thread on LinkedIn. It questions whether it is fair for recruitment agencies to be asked to give 100% rebates when candidates don’t work out. The argument broadly being that the client has had a big part in selection, so why should the agency take the full hit when it doesn’t work out?

Its been a fascinating debate to follow. However, I think it misses the target. The real elephant in the room is ‘why on earth would anyone do a pile of work without the promise of being paid for it?’ I am, of course, referring to contingency recruitment.

I am struggling to think of any other industry that says: ‘only pay us if you like the result’. For example, I’ve never been in a restaurant where the waiter arrives at the end of the meal and says; ‘if you didn’t enjoy it, I’ll tear up the bill’. In the same way my accountant doesn’t waive his fees if I don’t like the amount of tax I have to pay after he’s done my annual return.

Ah but, I hear you say, some lawyers take on ‘no win, no fee’ cases. That’s true. But I bet many only take on ‘dead cert’ wins. And if they win they are now allowed to charge higher than normal ‘success fees’. To balance out the cases they lose. If the same were applied to recruitment, contingency fees would be the highest in the industry. More than retained search fees. The size of the fee reflecting the risk of getting nothing. Instead contingency fees are often the lowest in the market…

So let’s be really honest. If a new professional services industry started out today would it adopt the no win, no fee model? I seriously doubt it.

The fact the recruitment industry does use it is, in my view, part of the reason it gets so much bad press. For starters, do people really value things they get for free? If your time has no value it is, by definition, worthless. Giving loads of it away doesn’t enhance your reputation in the long term. Probably a key ingredient in why so many HR people talk negatively about the agency world. And wouldn’t want to work in it.

In nearly forty years in the HR world I’ve met perhaps a handful of perhaps two dozen people who want to move from in-house HR to a recruitment agency. I’ve met hundreds, if not thousands, who want to go the other way.

Secondly it makes over-trading endemic. Most agencies work on the assumption they’ll convert perhaps one in three, four or five of the contingency roles they work on. That means anything between 66 and 80% of all the work they do goes unrewarded. So, all the focus goes on having lots of jobs on (ie sales) and that detracts significantly from delivering a brilliant service to clients and candidates (ie quality).

Just imagine how the candidate experience would change if recruiters were spending all the time wasted on jobs they will never fill on delivering a quality service on the ones they will. It’s the classic Bilbo Baggins ‘too little butter spread over too much bread’ scenario.

So why does the industry persist with the contingency model? The answer is simple. All the time there are people mad enough to offer work for free it inhibits other people’s chance of charging for the same activities. Get enough ‘mad people’ giving expertise away for free and you create a critical mass where it becomes almost impossible to charge anything.

And once you drag things down to that lowest level it becomes almost impossible to climb back out of the hole.

Here’s another way of thinking about it. Estimates vary but the general conclusion is that the UK recruitment industry employs around 100,000 people. If those people are wasting 66 to 80% of their time on jobs they never fill it means the industry is employing 66-80,000 people more than it actually needs to fill the volume of vacancies being recruited. Over-simplistic I know (not least because not all will be doing contingency work) but bear with me.

Estimates of average recruiter salaries (excluding commission) also vary dramatically. Let’s just work on a nice round number – £30K. If there are 66-88,000 more people in recruitment agencies than there need to be that’s an ‘excess’ pay bill of £1.98 billion pounds of salaries. And who foots that bill? Ultimately employers via fees that are far higher than they need to be because you are subsidising the huge inefficiency that is multi-agency, contingency only recruitment.

Now I may be a heretic (I can hear some agency owners baying for my blood), but all this madness could be stopped if we moved to a different model. One where:-

• Employers are only allowed to brief a single agency on any job
• Employers have to pay the agency to work on that job – ie retain them
• Only perhaps a third of the total fee is success based – which also protects agencies briefed to go on a “unicorn hunt”.

Ah, I hear the ‘mad men’ shouting, so agencies get away with being rubbish and still get paid. Well, of course not. Any agency that isn’t consistently good wouldn’t attract work and would lose clients fast. And that’s the key: consistent. My model would force agencies to hire people who are great at delivery. Not sales people who stack the jobs high and play the percentage game. You’d only last by being outstandingly good.

My challenge to the likes of CIPD, REC and APSCO: it is time for a genuine debate about the future of the industry. Assuming of course we want recruiters to stop being the butt of so many jokes about quality.

‘Contingency recruitment: the real ‘mad men’?…’ was written by Ian Gooden, CEO Chiumento Ltd. If you like what you’ve read why not follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter and read all our future careers advice and musings on the world of work.

Top tips for a successful job search…

Over the past year we’ve published many a piece of help and advice on how to successfully look for a new role.  We’ve covered the full job seeking process from updating your CV, presenting at interview and negotiating your starting salary to how to impress on your first day.

What with post-Christmas blues and New Year’s resolutions January tends to be a popular time to start thinking about moving jobs.  So to help any of you prospective job seekers out there we’ve pulled together our top tips, help and advice to get your job search off to a flying start.

General job seeking advice

Writing your CV


Resigning and beyond

HR Recruitment – No underhand tactics…just great HR jobs

With a major car manufacturer and some of the key charities coming under the spotlight, due to suspect practices, we are pleased to confirm that we paint a true picture and take an ethical approach to what we do.  Check out these genuine HR jobs, apply with an accurate CV and we will present a strong case to our clients without fabrication of the facts. Chiumento candidates will never be applying to a job that does not exist!

All applicants will get 6 months access to CareerGift which is our online career transition toolkit that we offer to all candidates. It is our way of saying thank you for applying and we think it is rather handy when you are looking for your next role!

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For more information on this weeks HR jobs click the links below and you will see in full just what skills and experience are currently in demand. Applying is quick and easy, your data is protected and your enquiry confidential.

If you are a client looking for a HR Professional take a look at our current vacancies to get an idea of the broad spectrum of roles that we handle. If you have a role to fill a little more out of the ordinary just pick up the phone, our previous experience may just surprise you.  What’s more our commercial terms are incredibly competitive and we think that we take a refreshingly different approach to HR recruitment. Our clients are always surprised at our low rates but fantastic service. You can check out our commercial proposition here – this will be 30 seconds very well spent!

Senior HR Business Partner – Retail, Hertfordshire – Permanent
Our client wants to continually improve on the talent that they are attracting into the business whilst also giving these individuals very good reasons to stay. They have exciting growth plans and need the best people to help them achieve these plans. It is genuinely a great time to be joining this fascinating business.

Employee Relations Team Manager – Commercial multi-site – Permanent
This business is fast paced and you would never be bored.  You will manage a team of 6 to 7 employee relations advisors who handle much of the casework generated within this multi-site organisation.

HR Business Partner – Dual location, Herts and Northants – Permanent
If you know you can add value to your client groups and you see yourself perhaps regional rather than dual site in the future then this could be the perfect next role.

HR Generalist – B2B commercial business, Bedfordshire – Permanent
This is a great opportunity to continue your development as a fully-fledged business partner to the commercial teams within this growing company.  Experience in a B2B setting essential.

HR & Development Officer, East Hertfordshire – Permanent
A great hybrid HR & Training role, supporting the Management teams with people issues  but mostly with the growth and development of employees, teams and the business, through induction, learning and talent based initiatives’.  You will do this whilst growing into the role yourself, finding and implementing new initiatives in order to get return on investment