If you’ve ever outsourced your recruitment, you may have been surprised to find that there isn’t simply one way to do it.
I often find myself outlining the different ways for clients, so they can make an informed decision about what will best suit them.
Usually, it’s a tale of two options: contingent vs. retained recruitment. And having worked in both fields, I am well placed to comment.
What is contingent recruitment?
When I worked as a contingent recruiter, it constantly felt like a race. Or a battle. The flick and stick. The push and shove for fantastic candidates to fill speculative roles. You cross your fingers and toes, avoid ladders, broken mirrors and black cats, in the hope of getting paid for the work you’ve done.
This is the world of a contingent sales recruiter, and it is tough. The pressure to make something out of nothing is great, the activity levels are high, and the culture is cut throat.
“Contingency is sometimes described as No Win, No Fee (or even No Cure, No Pay). It is what it says on the tin, a service performed by a recruitment company for free until the day a candidate represented by them takes a position with their client.” The Undercover Recruiter
Working on a non-exclusive competitive contingent assignment, is often working for free!
“Working this way is how the recruitment industry got the reputation of “throwing CV’s against a wall”. That’s because this way of working means that the recruiter has to be quick – do a quick database search and get as many CV’s that look OK to the client.” Beaumont Wood
What is retained recruitment?
At Locum People, I’ve learned that retained recruitment involves selling from the beginning. You offer your professional service to a client and ask to be paid upfront for the hard work you are about to undertake.
The research, mapping, screening, interviewing, testing, references, and last but not least, the general management and constant sales within the process, ensures the client gets a candidate for the role that will deliver the right results.
This all takes a considerable amount of time and effort, for which, as a professional, you should be paid.
Coming from years of contingent recruitment, adapting to retained was a daunting task. The calls are cold, the conversations are at a much higher level, and the sales cycle is slow.
Where once the aim of a meeting was to walk away with the sniff of a job, it is now to develop a long term relationship with the client, to understand their business, people and culture. To have a good level of engagement with your client and understand its offering, so that when a vacancy arises, you’re ideally placed to fill it.
Contingent vs. retained recruitment: the difference between the two models is now clear to me.
With retained work you must sell yourself, the recruitment company and its process. The sale is up-front and it’s something you have control of and believe in.
With contingency, you sell candidates to clients and jobs to candidates. And everyone else is trying to sell the same candidate to your client and others! It’s survival of the fittest. Only the fleetest of foot will survive.
Give me a retainer every time! I get paid and clients get better candidates. Win-Win!
“The retained recruiter takes their time to get things right using processes and agreed methodology, knowing they will eventually fill the position thanks to their exclusivity terms. The contingency recruiter will be a lot quicker and most probably deliver more candidates to increase the odds of making a placement.
“Another difference is that the retained recruiter has signed up to a service level, sometimes a retained search can be challenging and these projects can be rather lengthy. The contingency recruiter will simply move on to another vacancy or client where they believe they can get a more straightforward win.” The Undercover Recruiter
For all the extra time and skill that retained assignments take, every second is worth it both for me as the recruiter and also for the client. Less anxiety for me. More time to do a great job. A better candidate for the client. Happier people all round.
Over the last couple of weeks, Locum People was approached to assist three different clients in three different industries. All were having problems with their Melbourne-based staff, and all had their head offices interstate (2 in Sydney and one in Brisbane). Staff were feeling stressed, harassed and in one case were clearly being bullied by their Sydney-based management.
At the heart of all three cases were interstate management not understanding what was really happening in locked-down Melbourne. Sales results were very poor as were sales activity levels. After all, it's hard to cold call when one is not allowed leave one's 5km radius and customers' workplaces are shut anyway.
In one case, the Sydney-based manager was refusing to believe that his reps could not visit customers. The company operates in the pharma space and as such is considered an essential service, so in his mind his reps should still be out seeing customers as they were in Sydney and Brisbane. The reality was that Melbourne GPs were largely doing telehealth calls and had banned all non-medical staff (reps) from their offices (to minimise cross contamination). Similarly hospitals have also banned all non-medical personnel.
This sales manager's approach was to start harassing his Melbourne staff, demanding they maintain their call rates. As sales started to fall off he refused to believe the reasons demand had dropped. He was calling them liars and accusing them of laziness. 2 of the 4 reps filed workcover claims for stress, and a third laid a formal bullying claim against the company, which having seen the evidence will stack up. It's a real mess, and one that was completely avoidable.
When Locum People questioned the manager as to why he did not believe his reps, he said he's been reading the news and thought Covid 19 was just a beat up and that his Victorian reps were just using it as an excuse. He of course had not been to Melbourne - the border is shut.
Locum People counseled the staff via Zoom, and the manager involved but the damage has been done. The company has a zero tolerance policy for bullying. His manager (the company's MD) gave the sales manager an official written warning, which in turn prompted his resignation. With that result the sales people are now back on deck as much as they can be.
The moral of the story here is that if you're an interstate-based manager and your people and results are down in Victoria, use common sense. Have some compassion... and most importantly, don't believe everything you read in tabloid newspapers. As shown in this case - it may not be their fault and it may not end up being them who leaves the company.
Melbourne is back in Covid-19 lockdown. Right now, if your business is not in hibernation, many if not all of your employees are working from home or remotely elsewhere. You’re relying on them to deliver what they can and be available. You can’t see what they are doing or how they are responding to customer needs, both internal and external.
Your teams are interacting via email, telephone and video conference – but it’s not the same, and it’s likely to be this way for many weeks yet.
These good people you hired all have individual personalities – many will need social interaction to remain motivated – social factors are a big reason many people get up in the morning and come into to the office where they interact with their colleagues and friends. They may struggle with remote work and telecommunications rather than face-to-face interaction.
Others may actually thrive without the constant interruption of their colleagues. This period of isolation may be a revelation to them. They might find that when our lockdown eases, they won’t want to return to business as usual, and if their productivity has improved, you may not want them too either!
But who is who within your team? Do you really know? What is the best way to motivate and communicate with each of your team in their new circumstances?
If you are unsure, have a chat to Locum People. We have the tools to assess your team-members to understand their motivators and communication styles and preferences. Clarifying these is good for both you and your teams. What is the best way to get the best out of your team in these trying and new circumstances? It will also allow you to start planning their eventual return to the normal workplace, whenever that will be.
All Locum People’s tools can be delivered remotely and contactless. We support social distancing and safe workplaces. Contact us now!.
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