Matt Ellis

November 12, 2020

Posted by Home (ENG)

Traditional Recruitment vs. Modern Methods… Which works best?

The recruitment market is getting highly saturated, perhaps more so in these challenging times, as recruiters scramble for market share. The need to stand out has never been so prominent and it’s no longer enough to successfully win business and fill vacancies. Marketing and social footprints are yet more additions to the crucial skillset required to maintain success in recruitment both as a business, and as an individual.

The skillset of a ‘traditional 360 recruiter’ is wildly impressive… or is it?

Social media, marketing, telesales, face-to-face sales, organisation, time management, project management, market mapping, talent acquisition, Boolean searching, unlimited software platform skills, networking, resourcing, objection handling, counselling, CV writing, career guidance, diplomacy, dispute resolution, negotiation, crisis management – to name a few. Is it realistic to expect one person to be good, or even average, at all of the above?

When working with trainee 360 graduates, a common question I am asked is “which bit should I focus on?”, the age-old answer being “all of it”. Recruitment is an industry well known to require the ability to ‘spin plates’, but how many plates can one-person spin whilst maintaining a level of accuracy and competence?

I have always been a sports fanatic, and so I thought about it in terms of sporting ability. If an individual were to spend one day per week practicing five different sports, i.e. golf, tennis, cricket, boxing, and football, realistically, they would probably be “fairly” good at all of them after a while. If, however, they spent all five days exclusively on one sport and one sport alone, perhaps the one they enjoy the most, how much would their skillset improve?

Most industries have separate departments for particular skill sets, such as marketing, project management, and sales. So why is the expectation in recruitment for one person to manage all of it? Would it make sense to break down the 360 model into smaller, more manageable facets with different individuals focusing on utilising their skill set for the best success?


Why break down the 360 recruitment model….it works just fine?

The more complicated a task, the less likely the individual responsible for it will be to ensure perfection across the board. In a production line, several people are involved in various tasks to ensure compliance and success in a wider capacity – would this make sense in recruitment too?

Most SME agencies are run by entrepreneurial, successful 360 recruiters who have mastered their skills and choose to replicate it en masse. However, their biggest challenge lies within finding, or training, good 360 recruiters. Mike Ames, a good friend of mine, described it to me as “trying to build a house with bricks that don’t exist, why would you?”

I have worked with, and still work with now, a number of successful 360 recruiters. That said, it’s rare to find someone who can truly give 100% to all parts of the recruitment process. If a role’s focus is lessened, in theory, it makes finding and developing an individual’s skillset easier.

It’s no secret that retention of successful consultants is a challenge for recruitment businesses. There’s often somewhere, or something ‘better’ out there. What can we do to decrease staff turnover and ensure higher rates of job satisfaction? Take away the ‘necessary evil’. Remove the part of the job that they don’t enjoy, and give it to someone who does. Suddenly, there are more recruiters that are likely to be more successful and have higher job satisfaction if you give them what they really want.

Training new talent

Training a graduate with no recruitment experience to be a successful 360 consultant is a lengthy, difficult process that doesn’t always result in a team of recruiters that are fantastic at every aspect of recruitment. Learning new skills is infinitely easier if the skillset required to learn is lessened, allowing individuals to be experts in their skills, rather than one person doing everything to an average standard.

What’s the benefit to clients and candidates?

For the candidate, the consultant they are interacting with won’t be worrying about BD, power hours, dashing between meetings and everything else a 360 recruiter has to split their time between. They will be genuine candidate specialists – resulting in a hugely improved candidate experience, higher volumes of referrals and in turn, more candidates.

For the client, BD consultants will be well-versed in coaching their clients on industry best-practice, new trends, diversity and inclusion in the hiring process, and swapping industry insight amongst their networks adding real value as a “consultant”. The client receives a highly dedicated service from a consultant that is exceptionally skilled and genuinely enjoys their job.


It’s not always all good.

360 recruiters are often lone-workers. They are solely responsible for their results in every aspect, which if changed, so with a huge shift of responsibility, internal communication absolutely must be maintained. Teamwork, shared responsibility and collaboration are all aspects that can flourish under a segmented recruitment model, if it’s done right.


Back to the question at hand, traditional 360 recruitment or modern segmented process specialists?

It’s impossible to make a blanket statement that will fit every recruitment business in the market and every candidate & client preference. There are too many variables in recruitment to decide entirely accurately, and individual clients have varied styles of service that best suits them. That said, change isn’t always bad.

I have always had a strong passion for recruitment and the industry as a whole, and I often wonder how much potential has been lost to the 360 model, because they didn’t have the option to focus on the skills they enjoy and are good at, purely because that’s the way it’s always been done.

Recruitment is a tough industry, and it’s certainly not for everyone. But what if we can reduce the number of people that are lost from the industry by changing the very thing that forces them out? I’m not, by any means, suggesting that one model or the other is best. However, if you have both in your business, you are creating many more opportunities for your people to do the things they “love to do”, and not just the things they “have to do”.