Even It Up!

Shifting the balance for jobseekers

Posts Tagged ‘recruitment companies

A recruiter on the future of recruiting

with one comment

Recruitment companies compared to dinosaurs?  Even It Up! loves this analogy!  Peter Gold from British recruitment company Hire Strategies has made the comparison in a recent article on Personnel Today.  He calls the agencies that refuse to innovate “agencysaurus” and those that do “velociraptors”.

In a nutshell, Gold’s contention  is that the recruitment company (in its current form) will die unless it innovates and changes to meet the many current challenges; it can’t afford to take a “heads in the sand” approach if it wants to survive.  Hear that all you recruiters that love to have a go at Even It Up!?

Gold says that we can expect to see:

a myriad of new breed recruitment suppliers emerge, very different from the fee-driven recruitment process outsourcing vendors who claim to be different, but in reality are not.

Low-cost fixed fee and 100% guarantees are just the start. Employers know what they don’t want so the velociraptors will focus on less phone bashing, value-based projects instead of transaction/fee-based placements; client/candidate collaboration instead of secret CVs; managed but client-owned talent pools. It is the traditional fee for volume vacancies that will become extinct, not the hunter.

The conversations I have with corporate recruiters is that they are very focused on reducing agency usage and costs by increasing employee referrals, internal mobility and direct applicants. Cost-per-hire is king, and quality is queen (albeit still wearing the trousers).

At least someone with some street cred is telling it as it is.

You can read the full article here.


Written by evenitup

June 27, 2009 at 6:19 pm

RCSA accepts theEven It Up! challenge

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A couple of weeks ago, we sent an email to Julie Mills, CEO of RCSA.  We wanted to give Julie right of reply to a post wrote about the RCSA.  Here is our email, and her response.

Our email:

Dear Julie,

I am the founder of Even It Up! which is a website dedicated to providing free information to jobseekers about the recruitment practices of direct employers and recruitment companies.  We are like Choice magazine, but for jobseekers.

I have blogged about the RCSA and would like to have your comments on the record. My readers are very interested in finding out:

  • why most of the recruitment companies that are listed on our website as providing jobseekers with less than satisfactory experiences are RCSA members; and
  • what the RCSA plans to do about it.

Looking forward to your earliest response,

Diane Lee

The RCSA’s response

Thanks for your email and the opportunity to respond.  In answer to your questions:

Question 1

Given that most recruitment companies are part of the RCSA, it’s no surprise that a large number of job seekers would have come into contact with them at some time. And like any industry where there is an essential personal involvement element there will always be those who are dissatisfied  – this does not excuse the issues – it is the way it is.

However because they have been identified as RCSA Members, if jobseekers are unhappy they have an avenue to register their concern which will be actioned by the Ethics Registrar and investigated.

It’s important to be clear about what the Code for Professional Conduct does, and doesn’t, set out to do. It is focused on addressing unethical and unprofessional conduct – it is not a charter for service delivery (although there is an RCSA Service Delivery Standard which companies can undertake to meet).
If your treatment as a candidate breaches equal opportunity laws, privacy laws, or is dishonest, then you have recourse to the Code and the disciplinary procedures behind it. As a candidate, you should expect honest dealings – for example, the Code does not permit recruiters to advertise for positions that don’t exist; demands that advertisements ‘accurately describe what, if any, jobs are available’; and only allows them to advertise ‘for positions which they have permission to recruit’.

However, it’s up to candidates to take this action – RCSA can’t address what it doesn’t hear about. If you believe you have been treated in a way that breaches the Code, please report it as per the RCSA Disciplinary and Dispute Resolution Procedures.

One of the things most complained about is a lack of response from recruiters; however this isn’t a simple issue. Unfortunately, many job ads receive an enormous response. Often, many applicants are clearly not suitable for the role and don’t meet the requirements stated in the advertisement.

This makes it difficult to respond personally to each individual – although we do encourage our Members to use software that automatically confirms an application is received. Those who are well-suited to the role will hear back – it’s just not in the interests of the recruiter or their client to ignore a good candidate for a job. The best approach for candidates is to be realistic in their expectations and provide as much of the information requested.

Candidates should also form relationships with recruiters that they trust. They also need to be aware where they are releasing their resume material: job board resume portals,  multiple agencies and resume centres can all create confusion when the call for an appointment comes.

Question 2

The RCSA works hard to ensure that the recruitment sector is professional and ethical. Some of the initiatives to achieve this are:

  • The Code for Professional Conduct – this was recently reviewed and re-authorised by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. It is backed by disciplinary procedures that include fines and expulsion from the Association. All Corporate Members and their staff are expected to complete training on the Code annually.
  • Professional Development – the RCSA has a full program of education that teaches consultants how to deal professionally and effectively with candidates. Topics include privacy and Equal Opportunity laws, through to interview techniques. RCSA also offers an accredited Certificate IV program and a University Diploma that focuses on all aspects of recruitment.
  • The Accredited Professional Recruiter (APR) program  recognises individuals committed to ongoing learning and best practice.
  • Connecting with candidates – the RCSA often features in media and has a dedicated section on its website, talking about what to expect when job hunting, and how to go about it effectively.

In terms of the particular post you cite, I would like to clarify this issue as well. There is a difference between RCSA Membership and companies certified with the RCSA’s voluntary Service Delivery Standard. There is a difference between the two. programs.

RCSA Membership denotes that:

  • The company is formally registered with an Australian Business Number
  • It has a Recruitment Agents Licence if applicable in their state or territory
  • It has a Payroll Tax number if applicable
  • It has Australian Workers Compensation insurance
  • It has taken out professional indemnity insurance
  • It has taken out public liability insurance
  • It has an Occupational Health and Safety Policy in place
  • It has a formal collection statement and privacy policy
  • It has a formal equal employment opportunity policy
  • It has superannuation systems in place
  • Agree to be bound by the RCSA Code for Professional Conduct

As can be seen by this list, Membership requires a company to show that they have the legal and business structures in place to ensure that they will provide at least a safety-net level of legal and ethical service to their clients, the employers. Companies without RCSA Membership may not have these in place and are not bound by the RCSA Code for Professional Conduct.

The RCSA Service Delivery Standard is an additional, voluntary certification to improve the customer service delivery by a Member who undertakes the certification.

Certification denotes that the certified company has policies and procedures in place to identify service delivery requirements; provide that service as required in all cases, monitor and control that the service requirements are being undertaken as committed to, evaluation procedures and complaints resolution procedures. The Service Delivery Standard was introduced by the RCSA to assist companies that were displaying such high customer service values to be able to show that, and in addition the RCSA is challenging all recruitment agencies to achieve this certifications as part of its mission to increase the profile and professionalism of the sector.

The ad referred to will be amended to make the voluntarism of the Standard clearer, as well as direct enquiries to the Service Delivery Standard page.

In an industry sector with over 3 000 companies, and 10 000 plus candidate facing consultants, issues and concerns are always going to occur – particularly when something as core as your employment is the key reason you are in dialogue.

The RCSA continues to strive to improve best practice, counsel consultants and address complaints to take corrective and disciplinary action when it is determined this is required.

The best advice to those who use Even It Up to discuss their issues is to email their concerns to ethics@rcsa.com.au to action an investigation and to also take the time to share with each other the recruiters who have impressed them as a way of helping each other.


Julie Mills

There you have it, jobseekers!  Straight from the horses’ mouth as it were!

Written by evenitup

May 7, 2009 at 10:37 am

Another day, another email from another recruiter

with 8 comments

Seems that Even It Up! is ruffling feathers and treading on toes in Recruitment Land.   Claims that Even It Up! is  “too negative” (from recruiters!  jobseekers love us!) are ringing in our ears.  Can we categorically state for the record once and for all:

  • we would love our website not to exist, because it means that jobeekers are being treated fairly and respectfully at each step of the recruitment process
  • we would also love to upload more positive experiences, but given that negative is what people are experiencing (because perhaps that’s all there is?!), then that’s what we upload
  • Even It Up! gives a voice to jobseekers, who for too long, have had to suck up whatever direct employers and recruitment companies dish out to them because of the power imbalance (i.e. if you want this job – and who doesn’t because they’ve got a huge mortgage to pay, lifestyle to maintain, credit cards and personal loans to pay off, kids starting school and another one on the way, planning an overseas holiday, self-worth is tied to work etc – you will do whatever we ask)
  • Even It Up! is more than happy for recruiters and HR people to access the information on our website (because we believe that providing information is the first step to any sort of systemic change). However, don’t access the information if you are not prepared to do something positive with it.  We are not interested in you accessing it and then complaining about what you read.  There.  We’ve said it!
  • Even It Up! also acknowledges that there ARE good recruiters and direct employers out there, and they are very supportive of the work we are doing.  We encourage jobseekers to submit their positive experiences to us, because the more jobseekers that are aware of, and use the good recruiters, the more likely it is that the bad will disappear from view.

Anyway here is the email from another recruiter, with our response at each step of the way:

Email 1

Hi Even It Up!

I decided to email you privately away from the blogs because I am concerned about your comment about this site being primarily for jobseekers and recruiters get involved at your own peril*.

I have nothing to hide and I am genuinely interested in what you are doing because I think that the industry needs to be cleaned up. I am however a little concerned that you just want to eradicate recruitment agencies altogether and that you aren’t interested in making them accountable or working with genuine professionals to ensure that candidates get the very best out of them.

I am more than happy to be made public as I do not for a second believe that my own record is unbleamished, but I have always tried to do the right thing – are you interested in drawing attention to those sort of people or just shutting everyone down? I agree completely that there is a problem but I am very keen to hear whether you want to facilitate change or just get people to say negative things.

Please let me know, I’m very open to considering your opinions.

Kind regards,

My response to email 1

Hi J,

As I keep saying, I would love to be able to sing the praises of fabulous direct employers and recruitment companies that treat their jobseekers fairly and respectfully, but the majority of stories that are submitted to me are negative.  If you have jobseekers who are happy with the service you
provide, by all means ask them to submit their experience.  I will be more than happy to load it up.

This site IS for jobseekers and I make no apologies for that… for too long jobseekers have had no voice and have had to suck up what recruitment companies (and direct employers) dish out to them. Overwhelmingly the response from jobseekers who visit Even It Up! has been “At last! Someone in this country is finally doing something about it”.  If that bothers you, delete your membership, don’t log on, or engage me as a consultant to work with your company.  The choice is yours.

From my perspective, change is about critical mass.  The more people that speak up and say they are not happy with the system, the more likely it is that the system will change.  As mentioned above, I also offer my services as a consultant, so those employers and recruitment companies that are genuine about wanting to improve the experiences of jobseekers can contact me, and I will be more happy to work with them.  To date, no one has come forward, and I have consultants from all the major firms registered as site members (and also have a page on my website offering my services).

Trust this clears things up for you.



Email 2

Hi Diane

Thank you for taking the time to email me back.

I don’t want to delete the membership, I want to do what I can to change the poor treatment that people receive – I’m on your side and the side of the people who want change. I fully encourage and support your site but the whole premise is geared towards people telling about bad experiences, not good. By all means expose those who deserve it, but couldn’t you make massive change if you were seen as actively promoting the good people because they would also help you to get rid of the dodgy bros.

As much as I value what you could contribute to my business as a Consultant, my candidates are the recruiters themselves so we’re working on a similar target, but as an example I know that Matthew McArthur is one of the most honest, trustworthy and decent people that you could find and he would be mortified to know that anyone had had a bad experience at McArthur**. I’d be very surprised if he didn’t come back to you a genuine response to the candidates’ concern.

I didn’t dispute that the site is for jobseekers, I was just saying that for an honest recruiter who was trying to participate, to warn me that I post at my own peril seems to indicate that recruiters are not welcome to contribute other than to defend themselves when an allegation is made.

I admire you so I won’t take any more of your time, I will watch with interest.

Kind regards


My repsonse to email 2

Hi J,

Thanks again for your response.  I do appreciate the time you have taken to email me.

Again, I can’t stress enough, I would love to promote the good guys, but I can only upload what is submitted me.  If it’s negative so be it. Please bear in mind, out of the negative comes incentive for change for the courageous… but it’s usually much easier for businesses to maintain the status quo and criticise others for being “negative”.  True change comes from daring to embrace the negative, hence my use of the word peril.

By the way, if you’re concerned about what my site is saying, you should be even more worried about what is being said in the Forums on Whirlpool and Vogue… the “negativity” there is like a tidal wave!

Again, thanks for your comments.


In the words of Erin Brokovich, this is getting really quite tiring!

*By the way, peril was a word I used in a Forum response – not for a million years did I think it would be such a contentious word choice!

** For the record, McArthur is listed on Even It Up! as giving jobseekers a less than satisfactory experience, and Matthew McArthur has not contacted me.

Written by evenitup

April 23, 2009 at 5:25 pm

A recruiter sends an email

with 2 comments

Even It Up! had a very interesting (anonymous) email from a recruitment company employee last week:

Hi Even It Up!

I found your site a few weeks ago (can’t remember exactly how) and it’s been interesting reading for me, primarily because I’m a fairly senior recruiter in a well known large global recruitment company. I’ve been working in recruitment since I left Uni in 1997 – not continuously, but for about seven years in total, including nearly four with my current employer.

I currently run a desk placing qualified professionals in contract positions, and I have 35 contractors working for me; prior to that (with my current employer) I was doing permanent recruitment for qualified accountants and accounts processing staff. Since I joined my current employer I’d say I’ve placed about 300 people in permanent or temporary jobs. I mention this to give you an idea of numbers – I’m probably in the top 10% performing consultants with my current employer, for this financial year at least.

I’m contacting you to find out if you’d be interested in me providing a bit of a rundown of what goes on “behind the scenes”, from when a candidate/job-seeker contacts a recruitment firm through to when (hopefully!) we place them in a job.

I’m asking because reading through the experiences of a lot of your job-seeking contributors, I can understand exactly **why** a lot of them are angry, frustrated, or whatever. I’d be the first to admit that there are good and bad recruitment consultants and recruitment firms, exactly the same as there are good and bad doctors, accountants, HR managers, plumbers, mechanics, etc. I’ve certainly worked for one terrible recruitment firm myself – only for a couple of months though, until I realised how bad their practices, attitude and management were!

However, reading through the comments your members have been leaving, there are a few common misconceptions, misunderstandings and sometimes just plain mistakes in people’s thinking, and clarifying those for job-seekers would probably result in a lot less frustration and anger at the process that we as recruiters have to take each of them through, especially when the outcome isn’t the one we all want – placing them in the job they applied for. I’m not saying all recruitment consultants are angels who are victims of these misunderstandings (I’ve fired a few hopeless ones myself) but a lot of the time, it sounds like things just haven’t been explained properly to the job-seeker. I’m confident when I say that 95% of recruiters don’t set out to p*ss people off or mess them around – that would be a waste of everyone’s time, because we don’t generate revenue when people get p*ssed off with us.

However we (recruitment consultants) can sometimes forget that candidates come to us because they want to, or need to, take one of the biggest steps of their life – finding a new job. Our lives are ruled by revenue and activity targets – recruitment is a competitive sales-focussed industry and that’s never going to change, but I think it means sometimes that what for job-seekers is a really important event (eg. an interview with a hiring manager for their dream job) is for us just another step closer to meeting this month’s quota. I’m not saying that’s right, but it’s a fact.

If you’re not interested, that’s fine – that’s why I’m asking you first, rather than spending a few hours planning and writing it all out. If you want me to do it, it would be on condition of 100% anonymity, because if my employer found out, I’d almost certainly get fired. I’m never going to tell you my name or who I work for so if that’s a problem, fair enough. But let me know what you think and I’m sure we’ll work something out.

Thanks, all the best

Mr S. Recruiter.

Even It Up! responded as follows:

Hi Sydney Recruiter

Thanks for your email, which I read with interest.

Our stories come from jobseekers who are applying for work at Executive level, right down to entry level positions. The thing that struck us is how similar their experiences are; the same patterns and themes keep recurring regardless of position or location, which indicates to us that the problem is endemic throughout the recruitment industry… and this includes direct employers.

Jobseeking – particularly in this economic climate – is a high stakes exercise.  So often, what dictates our success or failure is out of our hands.   If you read the following blog entries, you will see why we get so cross about it:


I really appreciate your offer, and would like to hear more (in fact would be fascinated!), however, cannot accept any further information without a “real” email address or name/contact details.  Our jobseekers provide this information to us without hesitation (and on trust)… and we always assume that it’s not ok to print their name (because of the high stakes nature of this site).  We would, of course, accord you with the same respect.  Having said that, some jobseekers have been more than happy to go public, despite the risk to their careers, because they want to see change.  I also put my name to the site, knowing that I may never get work again!

Looking forward to your response.

Unfortunately, Even It Up! has heard nothing further from Sydney Recruiter.    We would love to hear from anyone who works “inside” the industry, but need to have genuine contact details (which we will never reveal unless you OK it).. it just shows us that you are fair dinkum that’s all.

Written by evenitup

April 22, 2009 at 10:19 am

Aero-care’s GM did care…

with 4 comments

Or so he said!

An update from our post the the other day:  Even It Up! received this response (via Mr W who made us aware of the issue in the first place) from Aero-Care’s General Manager:

Dear Mr W,

I have been forwarded correspondence from both yourself and Diane Lee.

I apologise for the unacceptable experience you have had with my company.  Their is no excuse for the manner in which your application was handled nor for the tone of the response you received from one of my senior representatives.

Aero-Care does receive an extremely high number of applications for each position that becomes available.  Aero-Care has been fortunate to buck the trend of the economic down turn and is expanding quite rapidly in many parts of Australia.  This expansion has drained our normal recruiting resources and personnel, combined with the recent departure of our Airport Manager (transferred to Alice Springs due to partner posting), J was thrown in the deep end without our normal training for such a task.  J is a good person with a bright future, I take responsibility for putting her into this situation.   Our recruitment process usually positive and has the effect of uplifting people, clearly the execution on this occasion has failed.

Clearly, these values were not demonstrated to you (and others) during your application process in Adelaide.  This matter has been addressed with both J and L – both have expressed regret and disappointment for their behavior and performance.  I will personally review the recruitment processes to prevent others from enduring a similar experience.

Thank you for your candid feedback, it is much appreciated.

Kind regards,

General Manager/Director
Aero-Care Pty Limited

While this is nice, we notice that Mr W was not offered the opportunity of a repeat interview, or reimbursement for the amount of time he invested in this exercise.  Now, that would have been a happy ending!

Written by evenitup

March 25, 2009 at 8:03 am

Aero-care doesn’t care at all!

with 23 comments

We had a supporter email Even It Up! with his recruitment experience at Aero-Care.  He submitted his less-than-glowing-experience to The Lowdown on the Even It Up! website and then emailed the Business Manager of the company.  Unimpressed with the response, he sent the BM’s response to us:

Dear Mr W,

It is unfortunate to hear of your experience with your application process and I have passed on your email to G R. Your experience exemplifies that no person can suit every business.

After reading your letter you have certainly described our application and interview process perfectly – a progressive interview process, with one-on-ones following the group session that I liken to speed dating. First impressions are what counts in aviation and this is where we start – a standard check-in transaction takes less than a minute and is the time it takes to impress a passenger. Thus, the process and briefness used is not one that should offend and is what all applicants go through following a group session. Dealing with passengers from all walks of life, and working in an environment where no day is the same, we require someone who can thrive through adversity, and come out of negative experiences with a positive mindset. Reading your letter and email I can’t help but wonder how you would deal with difficult passengers, or how you would cope when the day is turned upside down with delays and cancellations.

Much as you have expressed below your desire to work for Aero-Care, such is the interest and belief in Aero-Care that we receive hundreds of applications each month, and a large amount of them without advertising. Adelaidians have such a passion for the airport environment and seem to know where to seek their opportunities. Given this high volume of applicants we would only degrade our value of efficiency if we were to spend unnecessary time with applicants. As such we have a robust application and interview process, and whilst it is very different to ‘normal’ experiences or what the text books and web sites may state regarding the ideal interview or application, it is a tried and tested process Aero-Care have used nationally and for some years that results in great employees.

Aero-Care is one big family and the employment relationship must be one that is collaborative, not vindictive, and where values align. If not, once the honeymoon period is over it will fester and result in negativity and the team will suffer until the point of conflict is removed from the business – not everyone is made to fit every business. Whilst you have a passion for aviation, your letter demonstrates that your values are not aligned with that of Aero-Care and supports that the right decision was made regarding your application.

I thank you for the feedback and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Kind Regards,

Business Manager
Aero-Care Pty Ltd

Our supporter felt that he was being bamboozled with corporate speak, and wanted to check if Even It Up! agreed with him.  We did, so we sent our own email to the BM, with Disappointed Jobseeker in the subject line:
Dear Business Manager,

I received a notification from Mr W regarding your recruitment processes, an assessment of which is loaded on the Even It Up! website.  Mr W also sent me a copy of your email response to his feedback of your process.

I take my hat off to Mr W for having the courage to confront you about your practices because, unfortunately, most people feel quite powerless in this situation. They feel that if they speak up, it may harm their future job prospects. He was diplomatic and respectful, which is to be admired in the circumstances.

Your response is typical, I’m afraid, of a business who just doesn’t get the importance of putting an positive employer brand out there, and managing it well.  I would go further and say that your recruitment practices have not been interrogated from the point of view of the jobseeker, which could be severely damaging your brand.

Businesses always talk about “values” and use this term as a defence as to why people are either hired or fired.  Most of the time, and research has shown this, hiring decisions are quite arbitrary despite the assurances otherwise.  I believe that if your company had acted with integrity, and in line with your “values”, you would have copped the criticism on the chin, and instead of being defensive, promised to undertake a review of your recruitment procedures.

You may be interested in reading a blog entry where I explain why employers cannot afford to treat jobseekers badly at https://evenitup.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/what-employers-forget/

If you would like some help improving your jobseeker experience, and enhancing your employer brand, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Diane Lee
Even It Up!

The Business Manager did not bother to get back to either me or Mr W.  Clearly he just doesn’t get the power of positive employer brand, reputation… or the internet!  Even It Up! will now post this entry on Digg, and send it to the BW, and copy in the CEO.  We’ll keep you posted…

Read the General Manager’s response (a day or so later) here.

Written by evenitup

March 21, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Hudson targeting jobseekers

with 14 comments

The global economic crisis has hit jobseekers hard. Anecdotal evidence suggests that generally, businesses are either not hiring, or only hiring short-term staff. Even It Up! thinks that recruitment companies are doing it tough – finally! The ones that give anything less than a great service – for both employer and employee – will fold. Guaranteed. Forget survival of the fittest, it’s survival of the best out there!

So we loved that Hudson was trying to convince jobseekers that they care with a well placed ad on page 4 of The Advertiser today. The ad said:

Hudson, a recognised leader in recruitment and talent management services delivers Career, Resume and Interview Skills programs that give jobseekers the edge.

  • Are you struggling to cope with retrenchment?
  • Do you need help building your jobsearch skills?
  • Do you want your resume to stand out from the crowd?
  • Do you want to improve your chance of getting that job?
  • Are you unsure of your long-terms career goals?

Over the past 24 years, we have helped millions of jobseekers to cope with career transition and to define, search for and secure their next dream job.

We’re offering you the opportunity to learn from experts via a series of hands-on programs that aim to build your job seeking skills and boost your confidence.

Hudson might seem to be all sweet, sincere and caring, but this is just a marketing ploy that is cashing in (so to speak) on the misfortune of others. If Hudson were truly committed to making things better for jobseekers, they would have contacted Even It Up! after their less than positive review was posted on The Lowdown.   But instead, they take out a costly ad that is full of meaningless platitudes.  And jobseekers will sign up and sign on, and convinced that Hudson (or similar) does actually care, and will actually help them.

Jobseekers, Even It Up! implores you: please don’t fall for this!  Or if you do, tread very, very carefully.  Oh, and have no expectations.

Written by evenitup

March 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Posted in Recruitment

Tagged with