So much has changed in the recruitment industry and yet its core remains the same. When I first started, Google was in its infancy, LinkedIn hadn’t made it to our shores, customer relationship management systems were clunky and video conferencing was a pipe-dream. Our business relied on picking up the phone, meeting people and building strong sustainable relationships. Albeit smaller then, the recruitment marketplace was no less competitive. But recruiters were trained thoroughly, encouraged to be consultative and to add value to their clients and candidates. Key people were not as accessible as today, only the most seasoned of professionals got the opportunity to present themselves and their offering.
Now, I think that we have much more of a broad spectrum of quality. Anyone with a laptop and a phone can start a recruitment company nowadays. Technology has transformed the way we interact with people, making the landscape more competitive but also opening up a global hotbed of talent like never before. With increased competition, the industry, in my opinion, has become far too transactional, KPI-focused and impersonal, rather than quality-driven with people at its core. Candidates are savvy and have options; they don’t want to join companies who say one thing and do another. Employer brand is king. Companies like Netflix have ‘culture decks’; Google received 10,000 applications in a week during a recent campaign. No matter the size or sector, we encourage our clients to make the most of their culture to attract talented candidates but not everyone wants a nap room and a snooker table. Some just want to know that they have a good work/life balance and a job for life if they want it. As for our people, we recruit for attitude and aptitude, not just past experience. Less can often be more and we focus on quality. Our staff turnover is less than five per cent, so our approach seems to be working.
I am adamant that we will see an increasing shift back to ‘old school’ values with real specialists who are plugged into networks and properly consult with clients and candidates. Technology will continue to change our sector as it has with other industries. There are instant job apps for roles in things like catering and hospitality which is great if the quality of the experience is there for both candidates and clients, but we are dealing with human beings here, so I think there will always be a place for face-to-face consultation. It’s the same story in any industry: those who adapt will survive. 2016 was an uncertain year for a lot of reasons and the political landscape will continue to heavily influence our industry but relationships will remain at the core of what we do, and people will always need contact with other people.
1997 – Completed professional training in human resources management at Ernst & Young
2000 – Joined ScS Upholstery plc as a human resources generalist
2003 – Appointed to an HR position at tier-one automotive business Magna International
2005 – Joined Nigel Wright Consultancy as head of UK operations, specialising in automotive and aerospace
2008 – Relocated to Amsterdam to take responsibility for Nigel Wright Consultancy operations across Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Iberia
2012 – Appointed associate director and group head of talent at Nigel Wright Consultancy
2013 – Appointed associate director
2014 – Joined Solutions recruitment as group managing director