informed recruitment for people in product

can an old agency change its spots?

7 April 2016

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Ok, so less of the old!....there comes a time though when every established business needs to take a long, hard look at itself, and it may not be a quick or easy process.

Newton Blue was a relatively small but successful recruitment company with repeat business, loyal long-term relationships and genuine values. There were some great things already in place and we were all over the new technology on the resourcing side. However, the time had come for the company to be re-positioned, re-branded and made better. This was long overdue, with a website from prehistoric times, a database that was creaking under the weight of its own irrelevance and very little in the way of social media interaction.

dinosaur alert!

It’s good to admit your faults right? To go right along with the website, in terms of some processes, the company was a bit of a dinosaur. We were giving a great service, but some things were still being done the way they had been since the recruitment dark ages and we weren't shouting enough about the good stuff. We knew we had to do our research, break some old habits and create a leaner and more efficient business model, whilst retaining our clients – candidates and employers – as our main focus.

stuck in the out-house                  

We wondered why so often ‘recruiter’ is still such a dirty word amongst candidates, especially on the agency side. We spent a long time looking looking into this! Candidates need an agency recruiter don’t they? promote them and sing their praises? negotiate the best deal? get them in the door with a great employer who knows and trusts the consultant, when their CV would otherwise sink to the bottom of an internet sea of CVs? Well so we always thought. What became apparent was that out in the big bad recruitment world so many of the basics are still just being ignored – application acknowledgement, returning calls, taking time to give proper feedback and advice, non-bombardment of spam, knowledge of candidate skills, respecting how and when they want to be contacted. From the employer point of view what came up the most was also lack of reliability, communication and information. We know so many agency recruiters that have never visited an employer client, been on-site or met up with a candidate. A lot of our friends are hiring managers in the private and public sector and the stories are pretty painful to hear - a litany of unanswered calls, rudeness, incompetence and lack of attention. In the interest of balance, we heard bad things about in-house recruiters too, but found that in addition to filling roles the good ones care about the things all agency recruiters should be caring about. These are great candidate experience, having good relationships with hiring managers and keeping them well informed, researching company culture, predicting recruitment needs whilst protecting and promoting the company brand.

When we had the freedom to adopt new strategies, we concentrated on the areas we had always felt were really important, along with some new ones based on our research. Primarily of course these were improving candidate and employer experience, but also supplying relevant information and knowledge and making the whole process quicker and more efficient – we have talent shortages in our sector after all and need to get results for everyone concerned.

How often these days are we told about the changing recruitment market? There is so much noise out there - disruptive technologies and social recruiting, quick fixes and #hacks that just get the 'job done'. Despite the noise we are very fortunate to be in a time when there is so much innovative technology available, especially within talent acquisition, with advances in resourcing tech, A.I., data collation and predictive analytics. Even as more of these are being employed in-house and by agencies, we don’t believe there are any shortcuts in the human interactive part of the recruitment process. We carefully assessed our processes and worked out what we can deliver that really benefits our clients (employers and candidates alike), but also what would make us work better. One of the best solutions for the latter was teaming up with our lovely friends at Firefish software. They understand how recruitment works inside out, and have helped us to improve our workflow, give an active and engaged platform to our clients and have more free time to keep an eye on those basic standards.

We’ve built in some cool new stuff to our processes and have some brilliant people on the team which is working really well so far. We’re getting some great results and it's really satisfying when clients tell us they’re happy and we’ve hit the nail on the head. We're listening and learning, and some areas are still a work in progress!

So Newton Blue was re-born, it was painful at times, with plenty of gas and (hot) air, whiteboards, backs of envelopes and more than a few cups of coffee. Since then our client feedback has been really positive but we always need more. We’re committed to giving out as much information as we can which will start to appear on the new website over the next few weeks. It would be great to hear what you think. If there is something you would like to see, or any info that you need for your job search or your recruitment requirement, leave a comment here or contact us.


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