I have seen numerous conversations on linked in and other social media where people have been discussing the recruitment to recruitment market. The most recent was entitled “Does Recruitment to Recruitment work?” The majority that were commenting had bad experiences as a candidate (not many comments from a client perspective) and as such had been put off from ever using one again. Recruitment to recruitment is a fast growing sector with few, if any barriers to entry and as a result there is a huge disparity in how much value a company will add. A good recruitment to recruitment company will be invaluable; conversely a bad one is likely to add nothing and could even end up harming your career. Which one you get could be viewed as luck, but there are some things that you can do to mitigate this risk.
One of my friends has been a fund manager for the past 10 years, has been happily employed in the same business for the past 6 years but has still made a point of meeting his preferred recruiter every 6 months for lunch or a coffee. This means that they have built up a strong relationship; he can gain market intelligence, be kept up to date with any interesting opportunities and if he does become proactive in the market then he can go straight to someone that he knows/trust and will represent him effectively. My father in law works in a senior role within Facilities Management and does exactly the same. Why don’t recruiters do this with a recruitment to recruitment company? Surely, as a recruiter they can see the value of having a strong relationship with an expert that is entrenched in the market.
My advice would be to build a relationship with a recruitment to recruitment company, even if you are perfectly happy in your current role. If you wait until you are looking, and then put your CV on a website, or apply to an advert then it really is a lottery on who you will be working with and your career is far too important to take this gamble on. Ask your friends who they rate. Do you know if anyone supplied in to your own business – how have they done? Have you been particularly impressed by the way that someone has approached you in the past? Are they still keeping in touch with you? Can you get a reference on the r2r? Who has recommended them on Linked in – could you get in contact with them and ask for an honest opinion? Do you have any connections in common that you could trust – what are their thoughts, how often have they kept in contact with them? Is it just when they want something, or are they cultivating a lasting relationship?
There are a lot of bad recruiters out there, but they won’t last long in the r2r market, and so I agree that anyone who has been in the market for a decent amount of time would be worth getting in contact with. They will be the ones with strong relationships, are well networked and have a good name in the market. If an r2r isn’t happy to meet you for a coffee on the understanding that it is purely to start a relationship (and that they won’t get an immediate return on the time invested), then I would suggest that they are more interested in ‘quick wins’ rather than relationships and would quickly end the conversation and move on to the next one.
Michael Bowden is Partner at Bowden Mayes – a specialist recruitment company focussed on helping recruitment businesses attract senior management and next generation talent.