In our last review of the HR recruitment market we asked the question ‘where have all the HR jobs gone?’ What became evident is that there has been a real polarisation in the HR recruitment market. Recruitment agencies continue to find candidates through job boards, while direct sourcing in-house recruiters are using LinkedIn. The implications for candidates mean they need to give serious thought to casting their net wider.
Beneath the surface what I suspect is happening is that some in-house recruiters are hedging their bets. They know that recruitment agencies will happily post jobs on the job boards on their behalf on a “no win, no fee basis” and so why pay for them? Instead they will invest the same money they used to spend with the likes of Changeboard or Personnel Today on postings on LinkedIn. They hope the latter will work as it saves them an agency fee but their back is covered in the event it doesn’t.
Of course this recruiter trend creates a problem for contingency agencies. I suspect that they are paying for an ever increasing number of job board postings where they are the “backstop” – whether they consciously know that or not. An agency isn’t any longer competing with its peers – it is competing with LinkedIn.
This change of advertising tactics also makes it harder for candidates. The job boards are now full of ads where you don’t know who the employer is. You also might suspect (I often do) that the same job is being advertised by multiple agencies on multiple job boards. So you could find yourself submitting multiple applications for one job while missing out on others. Plus of course you may be applying for the same job again, this time direct to the employer on LinkedIn. I doubt all this confusion and duplication of effort wins many recruiters (agency or in-house) any favours.
I also think it explains why so many CVs submitted via job boards disappear down black holes. Agencies are advertising jobs they think (or know) they are unlikely to fill so they put in minimal effort until their client rings and says “OK, the direct ad has failed, who have you got for me?” Or the alternative is that the agency is submitting CVs and the employer does nothing with them until they are forced to use Plan B when LinkedIn doesn’t deliver.
I regularly take calls from candidates that are seeking a new role within HR and they ask me for advice on where they should be looking for jobs. While we can’t place every candidate that approaches us we will always try and give people sound advice.
There are a huge number of agencies that work on HR recruitment. A quick search of the REC database comes up with 726 pages of agencies (15 to a page) who claim to specialise in HR. That’s something like 11,000 places to begin a job search. And that’s just REC members… You can’t possibly talk to all of them. Our advice is to network with a select few. Find two or three consultants you trust and work on building a relationship.
The range of job boards carrying HR jobs is huge too. Everything from regional sites to specialist niche ones. Job aggregators like Indeed can help with the leg work but you need to be constantly keeping an eye open for the right opportunity.
These days the recruitment market is often as much about people chasing people as it is about people chasing jobs. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimised and you can be easily contacted. At the same time watch your other social media profiles – employers and recruiters do look at them. Whether you agree with that or not, your on-line reputation has to be managed holistically if you are a professional.
Our website contains lots of information on how to be more effective in job hunting. Plus we run regular “phone ins” where you can ask for advice from one of the team.
Happy job hunting!
Head of HR Solutions