Recruitment had it's best ever year for global revenues in 2015. Between the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom, recruitment & talent management generated far over $200Billion in revenues.
The Recruitment Times will be highlighting the founder stories of global recruitment businesses and entrepreneurs, seeking insight to inspire and guide as well as to monitor industry health and trends.
We start with the UK, and Alison Barbour, founder and managing director of New Page Recruitment agency.
Why did you start your own recruitment agency?
After fourteen years of recruiting for other people I struck out on my own really with the desire to offer a much more customer focussed way of working. Running my own agency means enjoying the flexibility to recruit in a more meaningful way for clients and candidates - make it less about the numbers and more about the right fit, which is just the way Ive always preferred to work. Its easy to get disillusioned with the recruitment process even as a recruiter, and like any professional who takes pride in their work I wanted to ensure I was judged on my own merits and not just be part of a bigger (and not always better) picture that I hadnt any control over.
What are the biggest challenges?
I think the challenge with any service is to demonstrate the value you can add to another business/ your clients, and lets face it if youre not going to add value you have no business claiming to do so anyway! If clients and candidates open up and tell us honestly what they really want and expect from the recruitment process then well do our level best to exceed those expectations.
This is something we at New Page Recruitment really enjoy, so in actual fact its not so much a challenge at all! Wed be expected to say the ever growing self-service sites and job boards are taking away our business, but in reality most recruitment resources seem to be a two way street and to be honest its just incredible we have so much knowledge and technology at our fingertips to use to everyones advantage.
What is your mission with New Page?
To deliver a really first class service to both clients and candidates - Im not expecting to change the face of recruitment, but theres a definite place for the work we do and the standard we aim to deliver at. By using our services clients and candidates can enjoy a very hands on and collaborative experience from our consultants. Were about so much more than just sending CVs to clients, we want to bring candidates to life and this only comes from taking the time and trouble to get to know the candidates in the first place.
The same is true from the other perspective, we appreciate that candidates have so many choices of where to invest their energy, so we try to make the experience as special and tailored to them as possible. Personally I was once criticised by an ex-boss for becoming too conversational and chatty with candidates, being told theyre not your friends its just business.
I for one wholeheartedly disagree with that sentiment, if theres to be a relationship of trust and honesty you need to engage with and care about the other persons dreams and aspirations, not just see them as a list of jobs and achievements on a CV. We hear about some really interesting life journeys and personal interests during the course of our interviews, and this all adds to the complete personal profile we can build about a candidate and share with a client.
Its vital we remember we're in a people business and no two people are the same. At New Page Recruitment were not about mass market recruitment and squeezing as many people into as many jobs as possible, our ethos is entirely about finding the right person for the right job and employing the most amount of care, respect and attention as this requires.
Additionally we donate a percentage of our fees to a range of very deserving charities so we can truly give something back to society and those less fortunate than ourselves.
How do you combat the negative perceptions of recruitment consultants?
We try to focus on the service we deliver ourselves and let others go about their business in the manner they see fit. A good recruitment consultant and a good recruitment agency can benefit by being better than the rest, you dont necessarily have to shout about it, just be better and this will speak volumes. As recruitment consultants were supposed to make the recruitment process easier for everyone,
I believe our expertise is to be valued and respected, and the starting point for that has to be recognising your own strengths and weaknesses and then building your service around that, rather than obsessing about what everyone else is doing.
Recruitment will always attract 'sharks' just like most every other business after all, how that can be 'policed' is a tricky one and I think its equally important to have an outlet to praise the good work done not just fixate on the bad.
Insight from Founder and Managing Director of New Page Recruitment, Alison Barbour