Recruitment industry needs service benchmarks: Trainer
25 May 2011 6:31am
Recruiters always have plenty to say about what should not
be done, but would they agree on a best-practice model for the industry?
Sophie Robertson, the director of YouNique Coaching
, says benchmarks would help the recruitment industry be taken more seriously by the business world.
"We need to take what we do seriously and set some benchmarks for service excellence," she says. "Anyone can see what's not
working for clients and candidates but what do we need to do and who needs to set these best practice benchmarks?
"In an ideal world, you would gather industry leaders who would all share their best practices and then agree on a minimum standard of service to be enforced. In an ideal world our industry would be regulated with a higher entry bar than the current non-existent bar."
Applicants and candidates
Robertson suggests that under a 'best practice' framework:
- All applications would be responded to within 24 hours of submission, ideally by a phone call, where the applicant can be phone screened there and then by the recruiter. The applicant would be invited in for an interview or told "no, thank you", with reasons for this outcome.
- Interviews with applicants would occur within 24-48 hours after the initial phone screening. Applicants would be told whether they are a potential candidate. If not, the recruiter would provide reasons for this outcome and some guidance as to how they can add to their skill set to secure candidacy for a similar vacancy in future.
- Candidates would be told whether they are being put forward to a client company and their permission sought from the agency to represent them at that company to avoid candidates being put forward twice. This would increase clients' perception of the industry's professionalism.
- Candidates would be fully briefed on all aspects of the job and company prior to the client interview to give them the best opportunity to present themselves in a positive light.
- The recruiter would speak to the candidate immediately following the interview to debrief the pros and cons of the job, so the recruiter can give some meaningful feedback to the client.
- The recruiter would provide the candidate with a full debrief and client feedback.
- The recruiter would manage every step of the recruitment process up to job offer and employment contract stage.
- If the candidate is unsuccessful, the recruiter would debrief the candidate fully, preferably in person. Once done, the ongoing search strategy for that candidate would be discussed and agreed with the recruiter.
With respect to clients:
- All job orders would be taken in person where feasible (i.e. in close geographical proximity).
- A full job description and person specification would be agreed upon between client and recruiter. If the client doesn't have these, then the recruiter would write them and gain agreement from the client prior to commencing the search.
- Agency terms of business would be fully explained to the client, and their acceptance of these confirmed, prior to commencing search.
- Clients would be told at the outset when they might hear back on search results (perhaps within 2-4 hours for a database search).
- After the database search, clients would be told what's next: that ads are to be placed with online job boards, for example and the recruiter will call at the end of the next business day to give a status report on how the ad response is.
- The recruiter would provide a daily status report via phone to inform the client of progress (how many applications, how many interviewed and how many shortlisted).
- A shortlist would be presented in person where each candidate's three main hiring points are discussed so the client feels they know who and why they are interviewing.
- A resume on each candidate with a short paragraph on their salary and career expectations would be supplied to the client prior to the interview.
- A job offer would be negotiated with the client.
Under the best practice framework, Robertson says, recruiters themselves would be required to:
- undergo a required level of study to achieve a recruitment qualification (e.g. a one-year course that can be undertaken while working in the industry). Existing recruiters could take a one-off test to ensure they know the best practice model;
- undertake professional and personal development on an annual basis to maintain their qualification. Different levels of development would be required dependent on the individual years of experience; and
- be accountable for their conduct so that clients can take complaints to the RCSA or similar body to have their conduct examined.
Recruitment companies would be required to:
- interview every candidate face-to-face, whether in person or over Skype, where possible. If that is not possible (e.g. if the applicant is based remotely) then an extensive phone interview would take place prior to the candidate being presented to a client;
- undertake reference checks of the candidate's last five-year period where relevant;
- conduct skills testing of candidates;
- remunerate recruiters and pay their commisssions/bonuses in a timely manner;
- develop their recruiters on a personal and professional level every year; and
- have honest ethical dealings with clients and candidates alike.
"To some people the above points may seem like common sense, but if you've ever heard of a candidate being put forward to a client without first being interviewed by a recruiter, or being put forward to a job without their knowledge, then you know we must remain vigilant in our industry to maintain high service and ethical standards to ensure we move away from being perceived as 'cowboy' operators," Robertson says.
Source: Recruiter Daily 31st May 2011