I had a wonderful opportunity to visit the UK last week for the Recruitment Agency Expo in London. I am going to generalize and we know generalization is dangerous, but what I found is that recruiting and the challenges seem to be similar in the UK to those that I see in the US. Here are some of the similarities I recognized during my brief introduction:
- There are more technology tools to support independent recruiters than one firm can use. At this event it seemed as if there were a dozen applicant tracking systems (ATS) and even more that bill themselves as a client relationship management tool (CRM).
- Linkedin is a force. I assume this is a global recruiting paradigm now. What is nice is that Linkedin seems to have grasped their connection to recruiting and working through recruiters faster than the prior generations of recruiting technology. Monster took the position that they would put independent recruiters out of business. Linkedin has not voiced that opinion publicly.
- Recruiters like to work a specialty or niche. I met people that do temp work on a particular side of London, a gentleman that recruited welders from Poland, and many other unique specialty recruitment niches.
- Recruiters are a fun and outgoing group. The noise level in the expo hall was fantastically loud. There were a reported 3,000 recruiters that stopped by for one or more of the sessions over the 2 day duration.
- Split fee recruitment is a specialty all its own. Just like in the US, many recruiters do not consider it an option, while others view it as a last resort. TEAM, The Employment Agents Movement, based in the UK does a great job of facilitating local splits in the UK. Check them out. (Full disclosure: NPA and TEAM have developed a strategic relationship over the last 2 years).
- Global recruitment is a distant dream for most recruiters. I found very few doing recruiting outside of their home or focused geography. Most recruiters had not developed contacts even in Europe as they considered it outside their niche focus. Like the US, those that had relationships and capabilities, the growth/expansion was driven by a client.
So, the similarities did not shock me but the focus on “local business only” was a bit of a surprise. Seems that with such close proximity to Europe, more recruiters would be working an international recruitment practice.
That’s it for now. I’m interested to learn what differences you might know between UK and US recruitment.