Barry Moseley: Why is the recruitment industry so resistant to change?

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Over the last decade we have seen countless changes in almost every industry as we have developed more and more into the digital age. There have been many disruptors to long standing practices because of the opportunities technology presents. London’s black cabs were once the go to taxi option in the capital, and now they face the overwhelming threat of Uber, a cheaper alternative that can be booked and paid for all with the touch of a few buttons. The simplicity of the app, the safety it provides customers and the direct bank transfer payment makes it so appealing, and as a result people have swarmed to use Uber constantly increasing its presence and the threat it poses to the future of black cabs.

Uber is just one of the countless examples of digital transformation within an industry, we have seen the same with Amazon and Netflix. They have all entirely shaken up the existing models within their respective industries, and yet the model for the recruitment industry has remained almost exactly the same for years. Technology hasn’t been implemented to maximum effect.

The recruitment industry is financially incentivised to place as many candidates as possible. This means that the system itself indirectly promotes inaccuracy, because by encouraging people to do place candidates as quickly as possible, they encourage what may seem less important to be overlooked or side-lined.

There are countless pre-employment checks that need to be carried out and forms that need to be correctly filled out prior to an employee joining a company, the responsibility for which lies with the recruiter, placing an enormous amount of pressure on what is already a highly stressful career environment. How can these individuals be expected to meet each and every paperwork requirement while juggling multiple candidates that need to be placed as quickly as possible so they can move onto the next one? Whilst the incentive led system encourages quick turnarounds it also indirectly encourages people to overlook paperwork, which in the speed of the moment may seem like an acceptable element to forgo, however the ramifications of incorrect or uncompleted employment checks considering the amount of weight put behind company compliance to government regulation, can be severe for both the company and the employee in question.

The system needs to change in a way that ensures companies can be 100% guaranteed that the candidates they are employing are properly assessed and have all the necessary paperwork in order. As demonstrated by the expansion and dominance of Uber, modern society provides all the opportunities for technology to be utilised to ensure things are in order, so why aren’t the recruitment industry using it to better effect?

There are so many possible checks that employers may wish to run, including checking on their right to work in the UK, criminal record, health checks. The most important for a company is an employee’s right to work in the UK. If this is something their recruitment agency has failed to check they can be fined up to £20,000. To a large corporation this may not seem like a huge sum of money, but for a smaller business a cost such as this could cripple their business.

Companies seeking employees place all their trust in the recruiter they hire and yet people are not infallible, sometimes mistakes are made and people fail to ask the right questions. Technology on the other hand offers the opportunity to take some of the responsibility off the hard pressed recruiter. Technology that automatically emailed each successful applicant with a list of information they needed to supply, as well as automatic reminders that could be sent until the necessary information was supplied would be a simple way of ensuring the necessary documentation was supplied to the employer. Likewise a portal that the applicant logged onto that gathered all the information necessary in one place would greatly narrow the room for error. With software and technology there is a far narrower window for error and if something were to go wrong, a full audit trail from the point of order of a worker to placement of a successful candidate will be fully visible.

LinkedIn has already made looking for employees and jobs easier and more efficient, so how long can we really expect the recruitment industry as we know it today to last? In the digital age it is most certainly a case of adapt or die. Considering the rate of expansion in other sectors its remarkable the recruitment industry hasn’t already been disrupted. It can only be a matter of time.

Barry Moseley is Managing Director of Matrix SCM: http://www.matrix-scm.com/

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About Barry Moseley

Barry Moseley is the Managing Director of Matrix SCM.  Barry joined Matrix SCM in June 2009 and assumes overall responsibility for the commercial development and business strategy of Matrix's Primary Contractor Division. Barry leads on all quarterly and annual business reviews, ensuring that the contracts remain fit for purpose and in line with the customer's strategic objectives. This includes the perpetual procurement of suppliers, ensuring that Matrix customers receive value for money at all times. Barry has over 20 years managed services experience and is a member of the Institute of Directors.

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