Absolutely no doubt about it, the recruitment market is saturated. According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the Recruitment industries governing body, there are approximately 8,000 active consultancies in the UK, and let’s be brutally honest here, all delivering a similar service using similar business models.
This statement is no way derogatory to the industry that I have worked in for the last 12 years (albeit a 4-year break when I worked in IT Service Management) because there are some fantastic companies out there, companies that do it for the right reasons.
Working for 4 years in IT Service Management (ITSM) and specifically for an ITSM solutions vendor with very close connections to the Service Desk Institute, taught me a lot about ‘Service Management’ as a whole. A phrase that lends itself well to the recruitment industry.
We are providing a service – not a product, a service. Now we could argue that our products are the candidates that we represent, however, for me these are not products they are people, people with career aspirations, families to support and mortgages to pay. Therefore the art of ‘Service Management’ has to be paramount in the process that we as Recruitment Consultants follow.
We have to adopt an empathetic approach, i.e. managing expectations, really taking time to understand what they are looking for and making sure the company we introduce them to are able to offer all the things they are looking for and vice versa.
Let me provide a few examples. The first candidate I represented upon joining The One Group had been out of work for 3 years due to them caring for a very ill daughter. From what I could make out other consultancies would not provide the time required to champion his application, however, by spending time understanding his circumstances and providing the client with information to help them make an informed decision, we found him work within 2 weeks. That was the first time in my career that I have had such an emotional reaction to a job offer.
An IT graduate I represented was in a good role, but one that would not allow him to fulfil his IT ambitions. One major restriction to his job hunt was that he couldn’t drive and couldn’t get to interviews easily. I picked him up from home, drove him to his successful interview and made sure he got back OK. Now he drives, supported by his employer, who are also paying for him to complete a degree.
This industry is about people, understanding them, their circumstances and representing them in the right way with empathy and understanding.
I learnt this from an experience event I attended organised by the Service Desk Institute. The Service Desk Manager from CWC was speaking and explained a situation about a constantly irate customer, who, despite his SLAs being met, seemed continually upset with the service. Time was taken to understand why and it was nothing to do with the service, but with the professional pressure he was under. The Service Desk team were informed, a more empathetic approach adopted. Using the knowledge of his challenges they improved the ‘people’ side of the service delivered.
The Service Desk Institute are brilliant at combining people, process and technology, and I for one, am very proud and excited to be part of the Service Desk Resourcing (SDR) network, our combined understanding of the ITSM market, its people, process and technology creates an IT Resourcing organisation in the form of SDR with an unprecedented and more importantly substantiated expertise in their field.
Ed: You can hear more of Tom’s views on getting service desk recruitment right in a webinar recorded 26 May, ‘Attracting the right talent for your team’ where he was joined by Director of Professional Services at SDI, David Wright, and Keith Wilkins of Avocet Recruitment who are also an SDR partner and specialists in service desk recruitment. Listen to the recording.