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Training in the dark arts

Recruitment, from one perspective, is an area that hasn't moved on in the past 20 years. Now, says Abi Fuller, is the time for change.

A client recently said to me (while I was explaining how we would go about recruiting a job) that the world of recruitment was a "dark and murky" place better left to me. By implication, not something he relished becoming immersed in.

Interesting, I thought: the foundation of an industry described as a "dark and murky place", one where dark arts are practiced — not a place for clients.

Clients do, however, need to engage with the word that should not be mentioned (recruitment), like it or not. And I do know that some of you do.

I won't bore readers by writing about repeat and/or fraudulent respondents, although I don't think the majority understand the depths of the dark arts practiced in this domain.

Neither will I bang on about how bad the level of recruitment is among certain parts of the industry. This is about a case for change. Some things to consider:

Pay

Now there are sectors who strike at the very mention of a cut to their biscuit allowance but recruiters have not seen a pay rise in 20 years. Why not? If your pay had stood still for 20 years, how would that impact on you? Why has there been no action taken by recruiters? How does this impact on the recruitment they do? On this basis, can they afford to adhere to the quality standards we all band around?

Training vs blacklisting

Would you take on a trainee and let them near your most precious account with no training? No? So why are recruiters allowed to underpin that account without real hands on training that you can verify? Shouldn't we be less bothered about avoiding certain recruiters and agencies while simultaneously eschewing a "blacklist" and more bothered with training and nurturing recruiters in the way we want it done?

Technology

We will always need recruiters, in house or external. It doesn't matter how technology evolves, even if respondents can hologram themselves into a client's living room, someone will need to find that respondent and tell them what time to hologram themselves. The world is smaller thanks to technology but how has this impacted recruitment methods?

Inclusion and engagement

Did you know that recruiters are not able to join any governing body? There is no industry standard for recruitment. Not including or engaging recruitment into the chain properly will always keep recruitment in a "cottage industry" form. By not including them, we are all complicit in the dark arts. Surely, by trying to ignore poor recruitment, and grumbling when recruiters do not act in a professional manner, engagement, training and membership would be better options?

What would we all do if recruiters did strike? Is anyone up for dabbling in the dark arts and recruiting themselves? No, didn't think so!

 

Abi Fuller
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2013