While employment levels in Europe have largely returned to pre-pandemic levels, a return to status-quo still means significant challenges for companies looking to recruit top talent. In addition, there are huge pressures on the staffing industry. Faced with a shortage of both quality candidates, and recruiters to find them, do companies lower their standards? 

Record Recruiter Shortages

In recent years, companies have sought to improve their talent sourcing by hiring recruiters. Hiring a recruitment firm or staffing agency promises faster results than hiring, onboarding, and training in-house recruitment staff,  but as the labor market has tightened, recruiters themselves are becoming hard to find. A recent report shows that the staffing and recruiting sector has grown by 65%, and companies may find it just as hard to get the right recruitment company as it is to find the right talent. 

Why Some Recruitment Firms are Failing to Meet Client Expectations

Large recruitment & RPO firms often have outdated working methods and practices that show their failings under recent pressure. Some of the issues facing employers working with recruitment firms include:

  • Quota systems. Many recruitment contracts and internal employee metrics are quota-based. This means that a recruiter may send a large number of low quality candidates, or make a high volume of unnecessary phone calls. When compensation is based on volume, standards suffer.
  • Poor screening & briefing techniques. Many recruiters simply aren’t familiar with the client’s industry. Instead of reading and understanding the client brief and candidate’s CV and work history, they skim (or use software) to identify keywords. Understanding a candidate’s career progression, and how it fits into the client’s needs, takes time and experience that many staffing agencies simply don’t have.  
  • Low ethics. Some compensation schemes actually create a conflict of interest between the recruitment firm and the clients they work with. This can lead to a range of unethical practices, like making contract conditions better than they are, sending CVs without the candidates consent, bulk targeting candidates with a turkey shoot.
  • Lack of vision. Making a great match sometimes requires a little bit of inspiration. Sometimes the perfect candidate doesn’t seem that way at first glance, and it can require some vision and flexibility to understand how they fit. A great recruitment firm knows the industry and their clients well enough to solve staffing problems in creative ways, looking under the surface for a better solution.  

Many of these recruitment agency problems are integrated into their client contracts, internal compensation schemes, or are simply part of the company culture. During times of pressure and strain, these weaknesses become more apparent.  

Should Employers Lower their Standards? 

When faced with talent and recruiter shortages of talent, should employers lower their standards and settle for less than ideal solutions? The answer is yes and no. 

  1. Candidate standards: YES. The truth is, recent years of degree inflation and job title inflation have encouraged many employers to have unrealistic expectations about candidates. While employers should never hire someone who is unqualified for the job, it’s worth taking a close look at your job listings, and cultivating a more flexible approach. Are all those skills and years of experience truly essential? What tasks will the employee perform on a day-to-day basis, and what skills are nice-to-have? Being more open minded and flexible doesn’t just broaden your talent pool: it also allows your organization to grow and evolve. 
  2. Recruitment agency standards: NO. A recruitment firm or staffing agency represents your company to candidates. Choosing a low-quality and/or unethical firm creates a bad impression, and candidates actively network and share negative experiences. But the bottom line is that these companies often simply do not deliver a good return on your investment. Spending your recruitment budget responsibly means hiring a great firm that protects your reputation and delivers results. Accept no less.  

To over overcome your recruiter shortages and to speak with a recruitment partner that works to the highest standards, and gets you the talent you need, contact grapefrute today.