Does the recruitment industry get a bad rap from HR?

by John Maguire09 Jun 2016
The Roy Morgan Images of Profession Survey 2016, somewhat unsurprisingly, saw Australians rate nursing as the most ethical and honest profession, for the 22nd year in a row.

Recruiters were nowhere to be seen in the top 30, suggesting they ranked below even real estate agents and those in car sales, reflecting what Sue Parker of DARE Group believes is a widespread lack of confidence and trust in the recruitment industry. The biggest reason for this is, she says, the underpinning belief that “recruitment is first and foremost a sales business.”

Of course, HR and recruitment have long been rather uneasy bedfellows, with Parker believing that stereotypes of recruiters from HR professionals are sometimes unfair. She adds that the same lack of confidence in recruiters is consistent across all industries and professions.

“It is illogical to lump all recruiters in the same boat,” says Parker, whose DARE Group provides consultancy and training informed by the notion of ‘humanised hiring’. “There are some fabulous ones. But even when HR and hiring managers engage recruiters they often treat them very poorly, don’t supply enough information and do not give them a chance to do a great recruitment job.

“Because there is a ‘no fee unless placement’ rule, far too many companies just treat their engaged recruiters and candidates without respect and put communication with them at the bottom of their priority lists. 

“But recruiters allow that to happen by not walking away. Recruiters want the dollars at any cost and will rarely stand up to HR or hiring companies on behalf of their candidates and company.”

For Parker, this restrictive fee model is one thing that needs to change in order for perceptions of the recruitment industry to improve. She believes there is ‘nobility’ in recruitment, yet certain aspects of the industry’s culture and practices prevent the profession from reaching its potential, and enjoying a better reputation in the eyes of HR and indeed Australian society.

Companies see the necessity of using recruiters as an “evil must-do”, says Parker, yet this is something that can be less fraught for all concerned if the fee model was altered.

“Recruiters must offer a different fee model to clients,” she says. “The contingency model just sets up a ferocious ‘first-in, best-dressed’ cycle. If the fee model was re-structured as a result of considering the profession ‘valuable’ rather than ‘commission driven’, it would start to change the way recruiters are hired, as well as how they treat candidates.”

Parker adds that HR professionals should treat “ethical and professional” recruiters as business partners rather than an external agency purely driven by ‘sales’.

She adds that with the right changes to its culture and fee models, the recruitment industry could find itself in the Roy Morgan Images of Profession Survey top 10 by 2020.


  • by Mick 9/06/2016 11:56:04 AM

    With rare exceptions they are unprofessional, discourteous, discriminatory and a waste of time. Good luck trying to change the greed commission culture. Eradication of commissions once embedded takes decades not years to remedy. Hopefully algorithmic models will disrupt their model to allow better feedback for applicants.

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