"Thank you very much for the help you have offered. When I first contacted you through email, I was really surprised at how quickly you got back to me. The position you found for me fits me perfectly well, and I like it very much. Throughout the process, you have been so helpful, liaising very professionally and efficiently. Thank again for all you have done."Underground Production Geologist, South Perth
Why Recruiters Need Good IT Systems
(January 2011)A database is a recruitment agency's backbone - the thing that draws together everything we do, and maximises our chances of success. Why, then, are so many commercial recruitment databases so very very bad? And why are so many agencies content to work with sub-standard technology?
I was fortunate in that the first company I worked for had a bespoke database, which had been written for them to their own specifications. Having never recruited before, I took this for granted, and went about my work blissfully unaware that the tools I had at my disposal were not available to every agency.
When, at a later stage in my career, I joined another recruitment agency I was horrified to be confronted with one of the worst databases in existence. I will not name this piece of software, but let's call it "Obstacle." What were the things I was used to doing that Obstacle did not allow?
- Doing a radius search of an area to find clients or candidates with particular skill-words. E.g., 'show me every 12D Designer, 40km of Brisbane' - Obstacle would not do this;
- Sending emails automatically through the database at the press of a button, instead of having to copy and paste them in;
- Being able to search through my vacancies based on skill words, and then tag and send candidates to several vacancies all in one go (Obstacle had no section for vacancies - you kept paper records);
- Being able to send a candidate to multiple clients at the touch of a button (and have the database automatically record what you have done on all clients plus the candidate);
- Being able to put my clients or candidates in order depending on who was spoken to most recently;
- Being able to pull up statistics about where all my placements came from (e.g., Seek, networking, referrals, MyCareer, etc.);
- Much much more!
Recruiters who are not used to having a good database will often protest the need for one. "It's about the people, not the technology," and "Good technology cannot replace good consulting skills," are two (very valid) comments that are often made in this regard. However, if all the tools and processes at your disposal can be made ultra-efficient and smooth running, then you have more time free to be doing what you do best - recruiting!
I have worked at several agencies where the database and/ or computer systems have been a hindrance rather than a help, and where routine and straightforward tasks have taken longer than they should because of poor systems. At the very best, a poor database will slow you down. At the worst, a poor database will not allow you to do basic recruitment tasks, and will not allow you access to essential information that you can use to improve what you do.
When setting up Skye Recruitment it was important to us that we invested heavily in technology in order to streamline processes and enable consultants to concentrate on recruiting. Our in-house software developers have written all our IT systems for us from scratch, and they are continually adding to and improving those systems. This means that consultants can suggest to us exactly what would be useful for them, and highlight any tasks that are currently clunky/ slowing them down. It also means that we have flexibility when a client wants us to integrate with their processes.
I'm not suggesting that all agencies should invest in an IT department. However, I strongly advise that all agencies take time to review the software that they are using, and look at ways that they can use technology to improve consultant efficiency. A frustrated consultant who is impeded by their computer, bogged down in adminstrative tasks, or unable to analyse what they are doing is not going to perform to their best ability for you or for their client.