Why Are Recruitment Agencies Becoming Irrelevant Post-COVID?

Why are recruitment agencies becoming irrelevant post-COVID? As an executive search consultant, why would I say that in this post-COVID (well almost post-COVID) world? My prosperity relies on maintaining not only relevancy but significance.  Yet during this time when employers and employees are determining when and where to return to work, many employees and job applicants are making interesting choices that are changing the way the job market itself is returning to a post-COVID environment.

What Has Changed?

Lots.  Employers are struggling to hire employees. Employees are resigning their jobs. Job applicants are failing to show up for job interviews. Employers are offering bonuses to attract applicants to new jobs.  The reasons vary, but here are several –

  • Employees, having spent more than a year working remotely are evaluating whether they want to continue working in the same position for the same company, perhaps deciding they want a career change.
  • Other employees, having worked from home or who have been furloughed or laid off, are being called back to work. They may or may not have received a COVID vaccine and are reluctant to return to work and expose themselves to potential infections from others.
  • Job applicants are not showing for job interviews, providing no reason for the failure to appear.
  • Employers are struggling with decisions about requiring employees to be vaccinated, afraid that the employees may quit, leaving the employer in the position of having more vacant positions – with too few applicants to fill open positions.
  • Given a tight labor market and understanding that there are more job vacancies that applicants, employers are offering bonuses, increased pay rates, and other incentives to attract applicants to their company – and oftentimes these actions are not enough!

How Can The Dog Return to Wagging It’s Tail?

You’ve heard about the tail wagging the dog. In this instance it could appear that job applicants and employees are driving what executive search consultants and recruitment agencies do when finding talent for their clients.

As an executive search consultant, I know that most of the positions I am retained to fill require extensive effort to find the best person-future fit for the client. It’s not as easy as putting a job ad online and waiting for applicants to appear. So, there is a difference in how recruitment agencies and executive search consultants approach the job market.

Putting The Search Consultant In The Driver’s Seat

In order to shift the dynamic in the job recruitment market it is important to identify what you need for the position first – specifically the need for decision-making, the type and kind of values the person in the position should have, and the behavioral attributes a person should have in order to successfully fulfill the position’ responsibilities.

Whether you are a recruiter or a company owner, when you define what the position need is, you are developing a benchmark candidate profile, you are managing the recruitment process, and the profile then becomes the driver behind the search process.

Perhaps It’s More Than That

Consider the business dynamic.

  • Perhaps employees don’t find value in the employment relationship – why else would some walk away from generous fringe benefits?
  • Perhaps employees have discovered value in family relationships – not having a 2-hour + commute daily can give you quality time with your significant other and children.
  • Perhaps there is a disconnect between family-like environments at work and the family environment at home.
  • Perhaps residue from having helicopter-parents contributes to employees not understanding or valuing employers who do care about their success – beyond completing their work effort for the day.
  • Perhaps it’s more than a recruiting agency and executive search consultant process to be concerned about.

As I’ve written before, employee motivations exhibit themselves in a variety of ways that are not always understood.  As an executive I wanted to understand these motivators so that they could be reflected in the company mission, vision, values, and purpose.

Perhaps it’s time for employers and employees to discuss the basis for their motivations to work, and to then find opportunities to adapt the workplace to these motivators.  The pandemic has provided employees and employers a great opportunity to develop alternate paradigms to work.  As an executive search consultant, I am looking forward to the opportunity to engage and align.