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Recruitment Analysis: Search Consultants Grade Their Profession

by | Jul 31, 2019 | Top Echelon Blog

If you want to “take the pulse” of the recruiting profession and get an accurate analysis of it, then you should ask the opinion of search consultants and recruiters.

Once again, there are also corporate recruiters and internal recruiters. However, we’re going to focus on the opinions of third-party agency recruiters and owners. That’s because, as we’ve noted on previous occasions, these recruiters comprise the majority of our customer base. (And we thank you, dear customer base.)

With all of that in mind, we at Top Echelon recently conducted a survey of more than 20,000 recruitment professionals in the United States and Canada. We designed this survey to gauge the professionals’ opinions regarding a wide range of recruiting and hiring topics.

Recruitment analysis in a letter grade

We went “back to school” with one of the questions in our survey. That’s because we wanted recruiters to summarize their thoughts and submit a recruitment analysis of the profession and the state of the industry in one letter. Not just one word. One letter. The question that we posed to gather that insight was as follows:

Which letter grade would you give to the recruiting industry in terms of its overall health at the end of 2018?

The responses to this question were overwhelmingly positive. In fact, 17.4% of respondents chose “A” and 60% selected “B” as their answers. Put those together, and over 77% of recruiters believe that the overall health of the recruiting industry at the end of 2018 was above average.

But wait, there’s more good news, since 21% of recruiters chose “C” as their answer. And not one single recruiter selected “F.” That means over 98% of recruiters believe that the health of the industry is average or above.

However, what was interesting was the number of recruiters who had a “bone to pick” with some of their colleagues within the profession. Evidence of this is as follows:

“The biggest challenge always has and continues to be overcoming the business practices of sub-par recruiters/firms causing a negative outlook on the industry.”

“We’re overpopulated with poor recruiters that give the industry a bad reputation.”

“Too many ‘fly by night’ recruiters have entered the industry with little to no training. Too many don’t do search but market candidates and ‘throw paper against the wall.’ And too many recruiters are willing and agreeing to lower fees, as 20% used to be upsetting and now it seems to be the norm. Too many are transaction oriented and not relationship oriented.”

“We have put too much emphasis on relying on job postings and not enough on head hunting and cold calling.”

“Recruitment is only as good as the recruiter. Keep the process simple and stick to the basics.”

There are a lot of bones being picked, aren’t there? Here’s what’s really interesting: survey participants also gave their recruitment analysis of colleagues in response to other questions in our survey. This is obviously something that has been on the minds of recruiters as they work their desks on a daily basis.

Recruitment analysis: other recruiters are threats?

With one of the questions in our survey, we asked if there are any threats to the recruiting industry. In multiple choice answers, we did NOT include “Other recruiters.” However, participants supplied the following comments:

“Incompetence and laziness are always threats.”

“All of the above have affected our industry. However, I do not see them as a threat. Laziness and call reluctance on the part of recruiters is our biggest threat. Failure of our industry to adapt to technology is another threat . . .”

There’s not a whole lot of love lost between those who are toiling within the recruiting profession. In fact, there doesn’t appear to be any love at all. So what’s at the heart of this?

The economy has been good, more or less, for the past several years. In fact, we’re in the midst of the second-longest bull market in our nation’s history. It recently celebrated its 10th birthday.

Something interesting happens in the recruiting profession once a bull market reaches a certain point. That’s because when the market is good, more people enter the profession. More people think they can be a recruiter. Ergo, more people try to become a recruiter.

That becomes a problem for those people who were already recruiters, especially those who are veterans of the profession. That’s because as a general rule, they do not appreciate how these newbie recruiters conduct themselves in the marketplace.

Now, I’m not talking about recruiters who are seriously pursuing the occupation, who are putting in the hours of training necessary to be successful. No, I’m talking about those who “jump into the deep end of the pool.” They wake up one day and they say to themselves, “Hey . . . I think I’ll be a recruiter.”

Other recruiters, especially veteran ones, are not particularly fond of these newbie recruiters. And the comments listed above bear that out.

But forget about all of that for a minute. Back to our recruitment analysis. If there’s one word that almost universally describes recruiters during good times, it’s “cautiously optimistic.” (Wait, that’s two words, isn’t it? That would account for the fact that 60% of recruiters gave the profession a grade of “B,” even though job orders are flowing like honey (for the most part). What would conditions have to be for 60% of recruiters to give their profession an “A”?

We may never see such conditions in our lifetime, if ever.

Our State of the Recruiting Industry Report

As mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, we conduct a survey of more than 20,000 recruitment professionals in the United States and Canada. We turn the results of this survey into what we call The State of the Recruiting Industry Report. We’ve conducted this survey and published this report in each of the past four years.

A recruitment analysis of the recruiting profession (by recruiters and search consultants, no less) is just one part of Top Echelon’s 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Report. This special report contains much more, including the following:

  • Recruiters’ top priorities for 2019
  • Most popular recruitment marketing strategies for search consultants
  • Recruiters’ biggest problems with clients
  • The top complaints clients have about candidates
  • Recruiters’ biggest problems with candidates
  • Where to advertise your jobs to reach the most candidates
  • What recruiters think about the future of the profession

Download the 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Report!

And don’t forget, Top Echelon also offers one of the most affordable recruiting software packages on the market. The price is just $59.50 per user per month under the annual plan. Click here for a FREE 15-day trial of the software.

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