How many times have I heard recruitment consultants ruminate that "all recruitment agencies are the same". "Better the Devil you know than the Devil you don't know". Fluidity of consultants moving between agencies is lower than people moving in different industries it would seem. The impetus is not there. Yet , we Recruitment professionals deal with candidates on a daily basis moving companies within different industries for a whole host of reasons. Think of candidates moving because of location, the way their business is being managed, the leadership there, the company vision (or lack of!), growth and profitability and other factors.
So what are the differences? and how does this translate to why people would think of moving between agencies?
Culture - all companies have a culture whether they have defined theirs or just let it occur by accident. Some agencies have a culture of materialism and money, others can be competitive, and others have a more team focus and hence are more supportive. All work on the basis of different values, subtle markers that have a big impact on how each agency does business and treat their staff. Some cultures will suit you better than others and hence, you will get the most of your career by working there.
Methodologies - Some agencies are more client focused and some more candidate focused and some agencies favour candidate ownership over client ownership. In a candidate ownership environment you join and work candidates maintaining ownership of these candidates as you try to place them across the business, because no one owns jobs. You forage for a split fee should another consultant place them. Many others work on a vacancy ownership basis where you work a set of vacancies and no one owns candidates. Others get you to specialise in a type of candidate or role i.e deep inch wide mile deep focusing on Network Engineers only or Technical Sales etc.
Metrics - Some agencies have elaborate metrics systems with impressive dashboards that spit out data on all activities sliced and diced by vertical, team and consultants. Send outs, phone time, new business calls, client visits, new jobs, win loss ratios the list can go on and on. Others operate to simpler more graceful metrics focusing on key desirable behaviors and allowing more flexibility in your focus. Different recruiters operate better in different environments – some respond better to tighter controls – other crave freedom.
Commission Structure - can vary significantly from agency to agency - not only the % rates - but the revenue bands that apply and the thresholds, if in operation. Are there good kickers in commission to promote winners? End of year bonuses to promote certain sought after behaviours? Some agencies have abandoned the commission model altogether citing it promotes bad behavior from consultants and offer pooled bonuses based on aggregate results.
Systems - has your agency invested in good systems? Do you have to post all your ads individually or is there software to do it? Do you manage candidates by excel or have a sophisticated applicant system to enable you to find candidates quickly?
Size - Size matters. So you work in a small team of 6. You work the IT desk let's say. You are the only one. It’s up to you to find the candidates and clients outside of the company PSL's. You are a lone wolf. You wish you had more people working in the area to ask questions and discuss clients and candidates; knowledge sharing. The more the merrier. OR you are part of a really big team and only get to work vacancies in a certain salary band in a certain geographic location i.e. 'Junior software engineers from 20-35K in Dublin north'. You are restricted and are frustrated in your candidates being placed by other consultants in their territory. More consultants means more competition, CV hiding, split fees and arguments / politics. Whose role is it when it comes in? Is it in your geography? It nearly is! There are pros and cons to working in small vs large. What suits you best?
Clients - some agencies have better clients than others. Good PSL's and clients that deal with the agency exclusively. This means a good variety of work. Some have burned a lot of bridges with clients resulting in some closed doors.
What are the differences you see in within Recruitment Agencies?
About the Author
Brian Mc Fadden is a Director with 20 years experience in recruitment. He recruits in IT and also for senior positions at CEO and Director level. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org