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Volume is cheap: How to judge a recruitment partner's performance in the current market

Posted on 18/03/2021
by Nick Boulton

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Apply or not to apply, that is the question? A common conundrum for many technologists thinking about popping their heads above the parapet and beginning their job hunt.

It seems the whirlwind start to the year shows no sign of letting up. In fact, the growing squall now looks like it’s building towards a hurricane-size hiring frenzy heading into Q2.

So with the abundance of opportunity and the draw of some exceptional jobs, why is it proving so hard to find the best talent out there and why does there seem to be a shortage of more senior technologists on the market?

It’s an interesting question, one I have been asked on several occasions recently, by frustrated clients desperate to hire yet struggling to find the right person.

There are a couple of reasons for the shortage of candidates on the market and a lot has to do with the misconception of many hiring managers.

Fueled by internal teams and RPOs waxing lyrical about the volume of applicants they receive with every job posting, and the assumption that using external recruiters is expensive and time-consuming, everyone actually believes there is an abundance of talent waiting to be hired…

Perhaps the better question is:

How expensive would it be if you hired the wrong person or didn’t hire them at all?

It’s a problem for a lot of businesses already and one that will only get worse as the year goes on. (Contrary to popular belief, there is not an abundance of top talent waiting to be hired.)

Despite the positive vibes of recovery and the government’s road map to get the country back up and running, there is still a lot of uncertainty out there. Changing jobs is a massive decision, one that a lot of people don’t feel comfortable making at the moment.

The more senior you are, the more you stand to lose, right? Quite logical thinking, really.

Despite the huge volume of vacancies we are seeing come to market, they far outweigh the number of candidates looking for a new opportunity. This means working with the best recruiters is imperative.

I probably need to clarify something at this point:

There are a ton of people looking for jobs at the moment and this is only going up – but trying to winkle out the top 1% of applicants, as this is the pool we fish in in tech, is incredibly difficult and is fraught with danger. Consider the threats of:

  • Counteroffers
  • Bidding wars
  • Withdrawals

Candidates realise they are in high demand and this problem is going nowhere, the demand for hiring is only increasing and the battle for the best talent is intensifying.

How do you solve this?

Firstly, it’s vital you have the right recruitment partner, one you trust and can help you navigate these turbulent waters. The alternative might look cheaper on paper but will be a lot more costly in the long run.

Can internal recruitment teams work with an external recruitment partner?

Absolutely. In fact, some of our best working relationships are with the internal team that we work extremely closely with. That to me is the beauty of having a quality recruitment consultancy at your beck and call – turn the taps on when you need them and off when you don’t. What’s not to like?

A hire doesn’t = success!

Human beings naturally take the path of least resistance and never is this truer when trying to fill hard, complex roles. The tendency is to focus on the ‘low-hanging fruit’, great for immediate gratification and giving the impression you’re making headway with your hiring for the year but will inevitably lead to the hardest and generally most important roles not being filled. Net result = project deadlines missed, hiring headcount lost, spiralling costs and ultimately a very unhappy client.

Don’t be hoodwinked by your recruitment partner, RPO or internal team(s) when they have made a few ‘easy’ hires (the low-hanging fruit) and try to justify their failure to fill the tougher roles by baffling you with data.

  • InMails
  • OutMails
  • Response rates
  • Engagement ratios
  • Candidates screened
  • Candidates rejected etc.

It’s all smoke and mirrors. We are in the service and delivery industry, not data collation. Recruiting the best people is really hard, despite what you may have been led to believe. People, emotions, technology, expectations and money - put these all together and try and solve them on a daily basis, it’s harder than deciphering the Fibonacci Code!

We all know the recruitment market is changing, adapting, shifting, there is more emphasis on hiring strategy, on-boarding, training, and staff retentions. All vitally important things to get right for your business to succeed today – But all completely irrelevant unless you have the right quality, volume and experience of the candidate to interview in the first place!


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