Dirty Laundry – Turns off Clients & Job Seekers

Finding good employees or finding a new job is expensive, time consuming and, for most seekers, also stressful. The constant exposure to ‘dirty laundry’ in forums , social media and news articles turns clients and Job Seekers off and ultimately turns them away from using recruiters to assist them with the search. I have 3 solutions to help recruiters to improve their reputation so clients and job seekers embrace them as much as they should.


A former recruitment agent created a lot of negative vibes and hype when he spilled the details on what really goes on in the industry. His interview is currently circulating through social media and the clients and job seekers are alarmed and being turned off in big numbers. The fallout from articles of this nature is potentially big and the worst part is the fact that the real losers are once again the job seekers and the clients.  This really needs to change.


Fiona Smith from BRW recently wrote that every industry has its deadbeats – but some manage to do an excellent job in giving everyone else a bad name. The recruitment industry is particularly prone to ‘bad apples’ because of the fly-by-night nature of so many of the people who work there and the short-term focus of monthly targets. My personal view on the Rookies in the industry is to simply ignore them or to manage them appropriately when you are contacted as a job seeker. Clued in clients and job seekers have worked out what goes on with the ‘bad apples’ and there is no need to add to that reputation by hanging out the dirty laundry all the time.


From Wall Street to Martin Place, recruiter turnover has become pervasive and job seekers in particular are weary of the industry. Recruiting companies that were once unshakeable are seeking new solutions, innovative and resourceful leadership and dedicated stakeholders to guide them through a business climate that is almost unrecognisable from just a few years ago.

Around the world, companies and job seekers alike are experiencing the dawn of a new era. Traditional job portals and the recruiting industry no longer have the monopoly on job seeking and candidate searching. The smart hiring professionals have adapted and changed their business model. Mobile, social, and cloud computing have transformed client and job seeker expectations, and the time is now to lead the recruiting and job seeker service industry into this new era, which is all about the customer.


Clients and Job Seekers are fed up with the stigma of ‘commoditisation’.  What they demand is experience, real service and obviously value. Here are my top three strategic recommendations or solutions for hiring professionals to execute today in order to stay relevant and competitive in the recruiting and hiring services era:


Solution No. 1 – Get Social


The world has truly become social and mobile. Don’t just talk about social – do social! It’s called social media for a reason. Use it to deliver real value and real service – don’t just use it to sell and conduct marketing. If you need to understand how social media has transformed nearly every aspect of business, from customer service to marketing to sales, simply book yourself and your team for one or two online webinars or invest in a social media workshop.


The users of social media are predominately your clients and the jobseekers. They are increasingly informed and tech savvy and they will tune out if your social media interaction offers no service, no solution and most importantly no opportunity to interact. So check your sites and apps and test your buttons, your blogs and feature rich portals and if they don’t add tangible client or candidate related value, remove them, and if they don’t work, fix them. Because, if you don’t then you will just add to the increasingly negative perception of the industry.


Clara Shih , CEO of Hearsay Social writes in her recent post that customer service is the first area to be most affected by the power of social media because companies quickly realised they couldn’t just ignore customer complaints (and praise) published on social networks. The clued in Hiring and Recruiting Service Professionals have always understood the power of person-to-person referrals and they embraced social technologies early to find the right fit for their clients.


If you truly deliver more than just sales and if you know what your customers and fans are most passionate about, then you can sell them the products and more importantly the services they actually want and give them the support they need when they need it. A decade ago, that would have sounded like an expensive and involved fantasy, but today it’s easier to set up and it is the true power of social media.


Solution No 2. Move ON


You can add another ten forum posts in LinkedIn or other sites and lament the demise of the industry or you can do something to deliver real change.


I call it moving your business practises from the Being to the Doing. Don’t just talk about all the reasons why you believe you are different and why your service is definitely better.


Do It – Prove It – Deliver It and then share your insight and your tips and provide value to those who ensure your daily bread and butter! I am talking about the Job Seekers and the clients. LinkedIn and other social media sites are great tools for that, but don’t confuse forum posts with self marketing and don’t write about subjects anyone can just source for free from Dr. Google. Candidates don’t like to be treated like a Commodity – HR is your business – Can you humanise your interaction? The client and the Job Seeker don’t expect you to disrupt your business. They just want you to act on your promise.


I believe that dirty laundry is published because of people who want to hang dirty laundry out.


Most recruiting providers out there have great teams, but the occasional check up does not hurt. First, hire smart, creative people who are more than just ‘sales guns’ and incentivise innovation and human interaction. The interaction part will cost you your most valuable good – your time, but the reward will be 10 fold. If you can’t afford people because of your segment or business model – check if you can humanise some of your features and services with some innovative solutions. Dr. Google can help you with that.


Technology and social media continue to transform how clients and candidates seek and find and it’s rapidly changing how recruiting will work now and in the future. There’s also an increasing pace and breadth of disruption from new recruiting solutions taking place even in high end recruiting segments, which were traditionally less affected by technological changes. Tapping into the new collaboration solutions such as social media and LinkedIn has certainly turned the interaction upside down but don’t be fooled to believe that there is not someone out there creating a new era in recruiting. Recruitloop and JobandTalent.com are great examples of that trend.


3. Bring Back Ethos and Adapt


The internet and media is full of advice to clients and job seekers how to improve their chances of seeking and finding by adopting better practises to recruiting technology and process.


The reality in execution, however, is worlds apart from all the tutoring content. Job Seekers spend hundreds of hours re-tailoring their professional identity to electronic processes which only cater to the margin gain of the recruiting firm and that is wrong. Gen Y and Mature Age Job Seekers suffer the most from these processes and the result is Job Seekers who simply abandon the job search or leave the country to try their luck somewhere else.  …all of it because so many firms heavily rely on ATS systems at the front of the process.


Don’t get me wrong – ATS is one of the best Inventions of the Recruiting and HR Industry. It has revolutionised and improved many aspects of recruiting and enabled businesses to improve their HR services but over reliance on ATS coupled with a greedy sales mentality should not be part of any recruiter’s business model.


Bring back some ethics and optimise human interaction somewhere at the front of the process or you will continue to speed up your own demise, because it just does not work any longer. You don’t need a person to achieve that (see point 2).  A great example of a recruiter who combines technology handling with qualified and responsive recruiting is Ethos Recruiting in Sydney.  I regularly receive great feedback from my resume clients raving about the Ethos Recruiters and the way they handle candidate interaction from start to finish.


Hundreds of recruiting firms work with outdated technology and processes and too many recruiting solutions fail to educate candidates about how it all works. If you do something different, let the candidates know. It only takes a small budget to explain something, so get cracking. You can’t just constantly ask your clients and candidates to deal with change. They know it! They feel it and breathe it every day. You have to adapt yourself with your brand, your service, your team and your communication because going forward, constant and unrelenting change is the ‘new normal.’


It’s a hard gig for everyone and I believe clients and particularly Job Seekers know this. The future will be an ever increasing fast paced and challenging environment for everyone but today’s mobile and online world presents an incredible opportunity for any business to take the reins and steer ahead of the competition.

It’s not the big one who swallows the small one – it’s the faster one. So if you agree, get cracking and maybe even share some of your own tips here in my blog or somewhere out there and whatever you do –

remember to hunt wisely!