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The future of recruitment – Roundtable Report

19 October 2010     London
Hosted by theHRDIRECTOR.
Chaired by Jason Spiller.

DELEGATES
Jackie Hallums, Head of Resourcing – Sainsbury’s
Sue Chatfield, Head of Resourcing – TUI Travel
Rachel Stock, Director of Resourcing and Talent – BBC
Vicky Brooklyn, Specialist Recruitment – Towry
Nick Hine, Partner, Davies Arnold Cooper
Steven McCool, Head of Service Deliver – Skanska
Evelyn Taylor, Talent Acquisition Manager – Cable & Wireless Worldwide
Sarah Hopkins, Director – Resourcebank Recruitment Limited
Richard Pearson, Managing Director – Resourcebank Recruitment Limited
Peter Banks, Managing Director – theHRDIRECTOR


What is the future for the recruitment, as a business service? What will the sector need to provide to attain relevance and usefulness to businesses today? How can HR deliver a cohesive and pertinent strategy, from the very top of an organisation and throughout the entire workforce, taking into consideration the relevant and necessary skills and experience required to deliver on this strategy? Optimising resources in business is critical to stay competitive, all organisations are faced with the reality that more has to be done with less. theHRDIRECTOR Recruitment roundtable debates and discusses the key challenges in resourcing.

How are businesses changing the way they recruit?

Nick Hine: There isn’t enough due diligence within the recruitment process so that we are often asked to advise about getting rid of people within a fairly short period of time because culturally they don’t fit. Past success is no guarantee of future success. I think there needs to be far more nurturing of the candidate perhaps in the first six months when they start in an organisation, not only for the organisation themselves but also for the candidate and trying to make sure you are maximising the value of that recruitment. Forty percent of senior executives fail in the first six to18 months. We should be be cleverer about contractual terms, realising that it can go wrong.

Nick, give us some sort of idea of how you do recruit.

Nick Hine: In my own firm, recruitment is dealt with basically by the HR Team. Obviously they work with head hunters and recruitment organisations. Certainly at partner level there is a lot of due diligence and they meet a lot of people within the organisations, so I think they are very clear really about getting the right candidate for the right position. In terms of success rate, my impression is that success rates are quite good but it does take time for someone to bed in and to bring their value and worth to the organisation.

Anybody else like to give us some sort of idea of what they are doing with their business. Sue?

Sue Chatfield: We are providing our managers with the tools to manage their own recruitment. We are holding further recruitment skills and systems training to continue the development in this area. This can provide a challenge due to logistics, as it is important to monitor and evaluate the way in which the whole process is being conducted. When Thomson Holidays and First Choice Holidays merged as TUI, we had to recruit nearly 300 people within a period of three months for our Luton Head Office and that’s where we did actually look at outsourcing some of our recruitment activity and we worked very closely with our supplier at the time. The majority of our high volume, customer facing recruitment can be seasonal, due to the nature of our business. We then look at how we can hold on to our key people during the winter season by transferring to other areas of the business, to one of our shops in the UK for example, or overseas on our ski programme, and then return for following summer seasons in order to retain key skills and knowledge.

Jackie Hallums: There are 147,000 people working for Sainsbury’s, so the recruitment, volumes are huge in terms of the stores’ network. High volume recruitment into stores is mainly online and we have a very streamlined process to candidates to come through. We use online screening and situational judgement to select candidates before they then come in for an assessment centre. For more senior roles in store, such as Store Managers in our larger stores, highly skilled roles, where we would be using a variety of marketing techniques to attract them, along with using suppliers to help us in those markets. For senior executive recruitment and specialist recruitment into the Head Office function there are a huge array of different types of approaches that we’re taking.

Stephen, how does Skanska handle its recruitment?

Stephen McCool: There was an independent review to measure how much we were spending on recruitment across the business during a period of growth. The majority of managers were speaking directly to recruitment agencies with the result being that 80 percent of our recruitment was being done via the recruitment agencies. We even had different agreements with the same agency across the business as we were not joined up. We considered outsourcing and RPO as well as looking at an internal model. We took the decision to do it internally, with great success to be honest. What helped us was that we have just been through a period of change with a HR transformation project and the company has moved to one way of working with joined up central support functions. We have provided the business with a clear recruitment process, it’s been a big task, but we’ve turned it completely around to the point that the majority of our recruitment is now through direct methods. A clear process, a good communication plan, the team engaging directly with line managers, Board support, then trust and actually delivering.

Richard Pearson: Can I throw a contentious grenade on the table? I think the vast majority of internal resourcing teams we come across, with all due respect to the ones we find in this room, who I am sure are very different, they may make claims like that but actually when you dig into it you find out they are spending huge amounts of money externally as well as the internal fixed costs of the resourcing team.

Stephen McCool: Having the control of managing recruitment internally it allows us to flex the team as and when we need to.

Richard, typically what are the challenges that businesses are facing?

Richard Pearson: Internal resourcing teams are undervalued by the line management team and there might be pockets of resistance, and there are inconsistencies, decentralisation and uncontrolled process. Often what we’re doing is going into organisations like that and working alongside internal resourcing teams to actually build up their confidence again and capability. It’s very much establishing ourselves as partners; saying we’re not here to work against you, we’re working with you and our view is that we want to be your partners, we know we’ve got to earn that right and we can only earn that right if we act as partners as well as building that trust.

Do businesses actually know what they need and want out of recruitment?

Richard Pearson: I think there’s a huge amount of waste within recruitment and quite often it’s about poor communication, it’s about multiple assignments being handed out to multiple companies, and huge duplication of effort going on around businesses. Trust and empathy is very important. Often the decision to outsource or create a centre of excellence is the start and you are then into probably an 18 month evaluation and, developing towards a functioning internal resourcing centre of value.

Rachel, what are the key challenges in recruitment at the BBC?

Rachel Stock: There’s different parts of our recruitment challenge; one is the huge volume of applications, achieving really good screening down to a manageable number and gearing ourselves up to be better at going out and finding those people for hard to fill roles.

Vicky give us some sort of idea of your views from Towry’s point of view.

Vicky Brooklyn: I completely agree with the comments made. For us it is about getting line manager and hiring manager buy in. It’s also about a strategic partnership, how recruitment/ HR can strategically partner with hiring managers and business areas to provide a quality service, provide quality candidates and do it in a way that demonstrates return on investment, not only to the business area, but to the business as a whole in terms of costs and quality. Towry has grown dramatically, we’re busier with increased recruitment needs, and they need the support. It is this that has helped us to get that buy in and introduced a wide range of tools for recruitment rather than the traditional recruitment agency route.

Sarah Hopkins: That resonates with us, people are busier, you can’t afford for people to be fully absorbed in recruitment. I think that trust and that kind of ability is something that is built over time.

Evelyn, you deal with a broad range of recruitment – engineers to call staff?

Evelyn Taylor: Cable & Wireless Worldwide has an onsite managed service with a recruitment business and the majority of the roles will go through to them, if they can’t be filled internally. We have process where we source internally first. At the moment, over 60 percent of all placements are filled internally. The target is to get to 80 percent of placements filled internally. People facing redundancy, people who are at risk with their role are put on an ‘at risk’ list and those people are given priority for any new positions coming forward. The majority of roles can be filled in these stages but you will always get anomalies for some roles; specific skill sets.

What impact has the recession had on how recruitment is perceived and carried out?

Jackie Hallums: We are creating 3,500 new roles just through our expansion plans and also have an upsurge for Christmas demand, which is over 14,000 recruits, some of whom we’ll keep on, permanently, so it’s a very different feel to it. It doesn’t feel very ‘recessionary’ at Sainsbury’s at the moment because the growth plans for the organisation are so aggressive, that it feels like we are really pushing out there in the market and attracting and taking on so many more candidates than we’ve ever done before.

Is there a case that recruitment has been past along to line managers who don’t necessarily want the extra burden?

Richard Pearson: If we talk outside of the HR function, some line managers just see it as something that happens, you know, I’ve got a vacancy, it needs to be filled, they don’t understand the strategic importance of having a proper process, quality control and consistency. I think there’s still a long way to go before businesses fully appreciate how important getting that right is.

Rachel Stock: Workforce planning, an understanding of strategic ambitions and keeping informed and up-to-date is crucial.

Jackie Hallums: As a resourcing team we can plug into the annual business planning cycle and have that more strategic conversation about their business plan, we get round the table during those discussions and really understand what that part of the business needs. It’s not just a number crunching exercise, looking at turnover, but is more about skills that we need to make us fit for the future, especially as a very highly customer focused industry.

Sarah Hopkins: It’s about being clear about aims and workforce planning and having that flexibility to manage the operation, as well as having the strategic plan, that is really critical to making the difference.

Sue Chatfield: We have a structured approach on succession planning and we call it OMR, Organisation Management Review, which helps manage our talent, and equally highlights where we have skills gaps, and how to plan for business critical roles as part of our future planning.

Nick Hine: I just wondered whether there were any people around the table who actually create talent pools? Identify various people in the marketplace who you think would be of value to your business?

Sarah Hopkins: We use the team talent puddles because talent pool can sometimes be too large, and we are trying to encourage our clients to be more flexible in their approach and the level of screening for different levels.

Evelyn Taylor: There’s a difference, obviously, between the internal and the external talent pools. The internal we do quite extensively because we will have what we call high potential lists throughout the company. On the recruitment level, coming into the company, there’s certainly a talent pool as far as graduates are concerned and we have a graduate programme in place.

Stephen McCool: We have a scheme called Skanska Unlimited where we offer overseas opportunities for our existing employees, it’s not actually a talent pool but is still about development.

Evelyn Taylor: I think that’s the difference. We have the in house team working very closely with the key stakeholders in the business and if you’ve got people in your internal pool that you have been managing, you will know who’s available, and what their situation is.

Rachel Stock: We certainly do work around mapping the external market for particular roles and might look at particular organisations and if you take the traditional broadcasting media industry, it’s very, very highly networked, so most people know each other. Where it gets more difficult is, if you might be thinking about your next finance manager.

So what’s the solution?

Rachel Stock: I think it’s understanding where you are going to have requirements, linking up with some of your succession planning, in terms of your particular gaps, where you think you’re going to need to go externally in the market in the future, factoring in risk, change, and being a bit more strategic about where you focus your efforts.

Richard Pearson: A lot of effort can lead to disappointment, whereas I think our approach is very much, ‘let’s try and make the vacancies and opportunities as transparent as possible to everybody in the business’ and that will tend to draw out the people. So quite often we’re at slightly arms length to an HR department, and actually that allows a candidate to think ‘well we will apply almost independently to this body and be considered’.

Rachel Stock: HR, being key to resourcing, actually knowing the aspirations of some of your key people is absolutely vital, even if it’s not from pure resourcing point of view.

Jackie Hallums: I’ve seen organisations getting into a search and then actually ending up resourcing the person internally, so it’s almost like testing the water to go external. Sainsburys do put focus however on developing internal talent who benchmark well against the external market. Some roles are justifiably filled externally, which brings new talent in.

Evelyn Taylor: When you say that employers go to the agency first and then go back to in-house, I would say that from my experience, when that does happen, it is purely because the external talents don’t have the whole package of skillssets that are needed. It’s not because they are testing the ground at all, it’s because they cannot find that person externally.

I would have thought that bringing in external expertise would be quite essential.

Sarah Hopkins: Well it’s also then the other side, that it actually threatens the internal managers to see this talent out there and sometimes, we find that the space between the manager and the potential employee is not that great, so sometimes you will see them then use different excuses not to appoint. Each case needs to be treated quite independently, but by focusing on retention it should encourage the talent agenda internally.

Richard have you got a concluding comment before we move onto our next topic with regards to that.

Richard Pearson: Well that’s a big responsibility isn’t it? When we get a brief to say please look for somebody from outside the sector, we present the shortlist, but they don’t really mean it. They actually recruit from within the sector so I think we still have the blinkers on in some respects, in terms of trying to bring talent in from outside. Has the last two years forced companies to think more carefully about the resourcing function? I think the answer to that is most definitely yes – the environment has changed. They will be saying ‘do we really need this fixed overhead within our organisation or can we look at the more flexible approach’?

Stephen McCool: I think it’s a good thing as businesses are looking to improve their methods when it comes to recruitment to ensure they engage and hire the right people whilst at the same time maintaining the ability to flex resources up or down as necessary.

Richard Pearson: Simon Wolfson, Chief Exec of Next, said there was something like half a million current vacancies at the moment in the UK.

Peter Banks: Negative stories make better headlines than positive ones… I think the press is partly to blame.

Do you think HR should use new media more effectively?

Evelyn Taylor: It’s a fine line, the difference between job boards and social networks. There are opportunities to utilise the social networks that could be used more than they are at the moment. We are very new to it. There are tools within the networking sites that can, if used properly and carefully, be very fruitful, and are very good for attracting people. We’re not talking about picking up names and inviting them as friends, we’re talking about proper management of the pages and to utilise those sites properly and correctly and I think the marketing tool within that has enormous potential.

Vicky Brooklyn: From a direct candidate attraction perspective, I think job boards have come a very long way in the last five years with huge advancements in the variety of tools and services that they can offer employers. They’re really at a place where you can put together a recruitment strategy based around job boards and there are different media offerings that is cost effective, no different to what many agencies do and give the ability, statistically, to measure your return. From an employer brand perspective, the evolving world of social networking and Web 2.0 is certainly something that organisations today, who want to build their brands and recruit cost effectively, should be using as part of their strategy.

Rachel Stock: We have to embrace social networking for the future of recruitment because it’s the reality. I think what’s interesting is understanding the different target audiences and how you use those and how you position that core part of your resourcing strategy. I think the ‘not managed’ bit is really key because you’ve got to invest in resourcing, and the management of those social networks because they’ve got to be live and relevant.

Jackie Hallums: We get over 200,000 hits on the Sainsbury’s jobs website a week, huge traffic. What we’ve decided to do is be really focused and we’ve done one campaign, Facebook ‘pay per click’ campaigns for a couple of new store openings which actually were really successful and we did get very good candidates. You’ve got to try things and just see what the response is, learn from that and then continue to push into these new media spaces.

Sarah Hopkins: As a recruitment company, we’re trying to encourage it, but recognise that it needs to be the right approach. It’s an evolving market isn’t it, you have to make sure that you are at the forefront and not forgetting that agencies are one part of that.

How can you screen 100,000 hits? What about privacy and discretion?

Sue Chatfield: We’ve just finished our graduate recruitment campaign and we set up a secure site within Facebook for the graduates to actually have dialogue amongst themselves and the recruitment team. Their induction only actually started last week and they’d already met up via the Facebook site, so they were looking at renting houses together and arranging to meet up socially from different parts of the country. They’ve really gelled as a team and they have all organised their house shares.

Peter Banks: We’ve had a few approaches for people wanting a flash banner to promote themselves to employers.

Stephen McCool: For us, we need to promote the fact that Skanska has opportunities in areas that people may not necessarily immediately associate with a construction company.

Nick Hine: It’s the way the world is going and you have to move with the times. It must be quite good from a recruiters perspective, you can actually see a bit more about the candidate, get more of an idea of their character, it’s another way of finding things out.

Rachel Stock: That’s controversial though isn’t it, there’s a lot of HR discussion and debate about the use of Facebook for screening potential candidates.

Is the traditional agency facing extinction and does the HR function, at its heart, dislike recruitment activity?

Jackie Hallums: I think agencies that are offering traditional headhunting types need to think about expanding their services. It should be a partnership – I will only work with agencies that take time to work closely with you and understand your business.

Vicky Brooklyn: Recruitment agencies need to demonstrate value. So I pose the questions ‘how can you strategically work with us, partner with us act as an advocate of the business and an extension of our brand? When they talk to candidates, they’re promoting our employer brand, so it’s a much higher level of service.. and also for a lower cost.

Stephen McCool: It is significantly important that if a recruitment company represents your business, they share the values of your business. Rachel Stock: If you have a really good partnerships with external agencies, they offer a great way of building those external networks without exposing your organisation too much.

Jackie Hallums: Research companies have one of the most interesting service offerings I’ve seen. You might not want to build that in-house capability fully and you might not want to do that for every market, and you are paying a daily rate for someone to do that research for you; these people will have worked with head hunters traditionally anyway and done the work behind the scenes.

Sue Chatfield: And you own the data, which is really useful to benchmark your organisation against other businesses in the sector. It’s very competitive now in recruitment, we can be more selective. However, there are some that are really pushy, so you get a call on your mobile on a Friday evening. I find it amazing that people have that approach.

Right the gloves are off.

Evelyn Taylor: That kind of approach has really tarnished the reputation of agencies who we work with, it’s a shame and people tend to think they’re all like that.

Jackie Hallums: When you’ve got an oversaturated market, they haven’t had to push too hard to get through the front door, and now some have not changed their methods even though the market has shifted. They need to diversify the service offering, because people don’t want one solution fits all, especially in big organisations.

And often candidate experience is very poor and these are consumers and customers.

Vicky Brooklyn: In some cases, agencies have been their own worst enemy. When the recruitment market was really busy it almost went to the extent where some agencies felt they became the client. It really hit some of them quite badly and, you know, now employers just won’t accept that as part of the relationship.

Richard Pearson: I think lots of good points made there, I think you get back to the basics of why are there so many recruitment companies? The barriers to entry are so low, anybody can set themselves up as a recruitment agency and then there’s a bit of desperation. Add that into the mix and you get strange behaviour, desperate people do desperate things. There’s more of those people coming into the industry at the lower level which is interesting. I’m not quite sure how that’s going to play out. It’s a very dangerous thing, you can learn a little about lots of things and it sounds terribly impressive at times, but actually if you scratch a bit deeper, there isn’t that depth of knowledge. Those sort of factors impact on how the industry is regarded generally in the HR fraternity and I think it’s probably looked down upon slightly. It is, as you say, and I think that some of the agencies have been their own worst enemy because of the way they have behaved.

Evelyn Taylor: This is one of the devils within recruitment industry. They have the low base salaries so they are hungry for their commission. This feeds a behaviour that they will do anything they can possibly do to get their commission. They often seem not to care about the company, the business, the effects that person would have on the business, or their reputation within that business.

Sarah Hopkins: I agree, and we manage a number of PSL’s for our clients and what we see is that we have to take responsibility to actually pay them a fair fee so we’re not hammering them. We do need to have a good service level and that’s really important to us so that we get the best selection of candidates.

Rachel Stock: Why do HR functions dislike recruitment activity, where does the HR professional play its role – versus the resourcing professional – versus an outside agency?

Richard Pearson: In the past, recruitment has been a subset of the HR department where it’s been managed by generalist HR departments. It’s a difficult one to manage because it’s not a predictable workload. You are dealing with people that are unpredictable to start with and the demand for service is lumpy throughout the year. So actually from an HR generalist point of view, it’s a very difficult thing to manage.

Rachel Stock: Well as an “HR generalist” I am bound to disagree, because I think we’re talking about the talent pipeline, we’re not talking about a transactional activity and I’m not sure that recruitment is any less predictable than many of the other things that you face in a generalist HR world?

Does it really make sense to outsource such a vital function as recruitment?

Rachel Stock: I think it depends, I oversee an outsourced recruitment function and I think there are benefits to that and there are also challenges and I think sometimes the challenges are making sure that your recruitment function is really close to your business and that the people who are recruiting for you really understand the business needs and challenges.

Stephen McCool: My view is that the relationship between the companies is key and the people doing the job need to be seen as having the best interest of the company that they are recruiting for and to be seen as colleagues and not as a supplier. If they are viewed as a supplier then it can be seen that it is down to cost, if you’re seen as a colleague and someone based on site with the best interests of the company, then you have got more chance of engaging with the managers and ultimately delivering.

Rachel Stock: Going back to why you want to outsource, It’s about cutting costs, about buying in expertise, and about being more flexible and agile to the changing environment that you’re working in. I think to be successful in an outsourcing arrangement you’ve got to be really clear about those questions first.

Stephen McCool: Also, to make sure it’s communicated to your line management. They need to know why the business is doing this, is it a cost saving exercise, has it come about as you are aiming to improve efficiencies, have they been involved? And you will require strong support at a senior level.

Richard Pearson: Does it make sense to have a specialist team focused on a job they enjoy and do well? The answer is probably yes. The market’s changed recently, many organisations don’t come to us saying they want to outsource to save money. The company is saying we want to outsource because we need the capability, we can’t find enough of these people or we can’t do it consistently enough; or we want to raise the quality of the internal recruitment process; we want to develop the employer brand in the marketplace and then usually third or fourth is, oh and we want to do all those things as cost effectively as possible.

Do businesses really know how much they spend on recruitment?

Richard Pearson: The answer to that is no, they don’t. It’s very difficult for them to come to us and say at the moment it costs us X. We have to usually do that exercise for them. If they don’t have a centralised budget, it’s decentralised to line management teams, they hide recruitment budgets, they have sums in advertising, sums disguised within temporary contract recruitment, there’s all sorts of areas. You talk to Finance Directors and they’ll tell you, ‘we think it’s this’. So one of the dangers of course is suddenly you create this big bill, because suddenly you’ve pulled all these costs in from around the business and it’s one invoice a month.

Peter Banks: If the actual costs are being hidden by employers and swept under the carpet, what is the true cost? And if this is the case, how can you possibly evaluate if it’s right to keep recruitment in-house? To me, it’s simple, what is the most effective and indeed, cost effective solution for the business? Surely when expenditure is heavily scrutinised, then it has to be a given that employers are truly honest here to enable them to make the best decisions for the business.

Also I would imagine there is a fear of loss of control.

Richard Pearson: This is a huge generalisation, the vast majority of businesses do not have the expert systems that a professional outsourced recruiter would have. So I would argue, by using a professional outsourced partner, you get more control, you get more information.

Stephen McCool: We report on source of hire, direct versus agency, which job boards work for us, diversity, time to hire, cost etc, it’s all there Richard Pearson: Ironically, we’re often providing ammunition for them to fire back at us to say well why are we recruiting so much in that area? Why is the turnover rate so high? But open communication is a good thing. It’s about service delivery and keeping the client happy with the service they are receiving and challenging how to improve the service. Those are the things that really drive good recruitment.

Should organisations be more concerned about the employer brand?

Sarah Hopkins: We always see the employee brand as core to the competitive advantage and so that would be one area that I would think everybody would want to invest in.

Richard Pearson: Employee branding is a huge area, and, it does impact directly on the candidate experience. I think that’s an area that is happening now isn’t it? Too many businesses have ignored the candidate experience for the vast majority of candidates.

It’s a token gesture, Rachel?

Rachel Stock: It is about the candidate experience, and actually good is about those people turning around and saying actually “I had a great experience, I still aspire to work at that organisation and that’s got to be really important in the kind of outsourced experience that people have because your outsource provider is the guardian of your brand.

Vicky Brooklyn: If you are rejecting candidates or declining a candidate and they’re not experiencing that well, are they going to promote you as a potential employer to people they know? The candidate experience really should be at the core of any recruitment strategy.

Evelyn Taylor: It is down to the hiring managers and the recruitment teams to make sure that the candidate experience once they come through the door until they leave, again is the best it can be. Ongoing training for managers to make sure they handle interviews correctly – there is an interview process to follow and the interviews are measurable.

Sue Chatfield: It is important to remember that whether candidates are successful or not, especially when we receive over 150,000 applications a year, is that every one is still a potential customer.

Richard Pearson: I find it amazing that candidates still say to me there are businesses out there that don’t even acknowledge an application for a job. I just find, in this day and age, that’s unbelievable. There is no excuse for that.

Sarah Hopkins: We have introduced KPI’s for the client in many instances e.g. candidate feedback. If we agree we want to get that speedy recruit at low cost, we recognise that we can’t do it independently, as performance is related to the response of that client’s business. So we report on how long it takes for us to get the feedback. Some line managers are great, but if they want us to reach those KPI’s we have to instill this discipline of reporting. It is very powerful at review meetings.

Peter Banks: Recruitment actually needs to go a lot further, in terms of candidate follow up.

Richard Pearson: Yes, I mean I’m not saying we do this for every client because they don’t all want it, but there is always a slight conflict between the service levels you’d like to deliver and the price the clients are prepared to pay – there’s a balance. We are always trying to push that service level further and explore it and it does seem to be working. Also they provide important feedback.

Nick Hine: I think it’s managing the expectation of the candidate when they arrive and actually managers being good managers, looking after them, supporting them and trying to communicate with them.

So the sector can win back credibility, but it takes two to tango?

Richard Pearson: There is an acceptance that we need to do things better and we don’t have all the answers. If we work together we can achieve that. If you are actually working against each other it takes a hell of a lot longer. So I think what we’re looking for is that understanding and acceptance that we can do things better. Do you outsource a mess or do you fix it first and then outsource? My view is actually, if you use some external expertise, it can help you solve the problem quicker than trying to do it internally.

Rachel Stock: The only thing I would add to that though is that you’ve got to know whether it’s in a mess when you outsource it.

Evelyn Taylor: Transforming the mentality of the hiring managers is something I’ve done in numerous companies in the past. From the stage where the hiring manager is picking up the phone and talking to an agency, to the stage where they wouldn’t even dream of doing it. It takes a while but it can be done.

Richard Pearson: Wise words. I think usually people are in tune or else they probably wouldn’t be talking to us. Burning platforms? I think our view is, does a client really want to work with us, do they have some issues they want solving? If it’s working smoothly, well probably it’s going to be an uphill battle to persuade them to do things differently. If it’s not working particularly well, if it’s not achieving what the business wants to achieve, we can then develop a dialogue and source solutions.

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