It is a tenet of the industrial era that a focus on process and automation will improve output and maximise profits. The natural high cost of entry enabled the big to get bigger and dominate their markets as we have seen in mature sectors such as finance, retail and energy.
Recruitment is a little behind the curve as it is a very young industry. However the industry does have its giants and these are well represented on most high streets. What I find disturbing is their industrial approach to recruitment. Process seems to trump service.
The model may well work for McDonalds but not so for recruitment agencies. A transactional approach when dealing in a person’s career is insensitive at the very least.
My bigger concern is that these transaction-recruiters are seeping into the ‘less evolved’ agencies and thus blunting their service proposition.
Perhaps there is an element of natural selection taking place. Those recruitment companies that adopt transactional practices will gravitate to the high street where they will be eaten by the big boys. Those players that shun this approach and focus on a more personalised service will out manoeuvre the dinosaurs and thus enjoy higher margins.
So a low value approach will attract low grade candidates and low margins, which is okay if you can get the volume and stay in play despite the globalisation-induced margin tailspin. And similarly the personalised recruiters will attract the best candidates and the highest margins and will not be exposed
to commodity pressure.
Thus only one approach lends itself to the digital economy. For some its time to rethink recruitment.