Don’t shoot the messenger

I live in a very beautiful part of the world, in a village that would seem to have everything – 11th century castle, pubs, thriving village shop and an Ofsted “excellent” rated primary school. The one downside is that a major A-road runs right through the village, complete with buses, articulated lorries and farm vehicles.

Normally the traffic is little more than an irritant, but for fifteen minutes every school morning and evening, chaos descends. Parents are constantly being told that we mollycoddle our kids, driving them to school when they could easily walk, but in our village, kids are driven to school to stop them being injured by the vehicles that use the pavements as an extension to the road when the road is blocked.

To try and facilitate a safe passage through the worst part of the chaos, one enterprising local resident purchased five traffic cones and puts them out, on the kerb edge, every morning and every evening, just to try and stop traffic using the pavement, and to allow those children and parents who do walk to school a little sanctuary.  The feedback from the parents walking to school is unilaterally positive, and that parent’s actions have lead indirectly to traffic calming measures being implemented in the village. And yet, that parent has been the subject of some vitriolic and AngloSaxon abuse from a range of road users, and, astonishingly, one village resident with a child at the school, all of whom are blaming that parent for the congestion, for stopping vehicles using the pavement to drive on.

In an ideal world, there would be police officers on hand to educate these drivers in better road use, or drivers would take greater care when using the road through the village. However, one thing it has highlighted to me is how individuals are very quick to blame the middleman in a given situation, rather than examining their own actions and the consequences of them.

The economy appears to have turned a corner, and this is reflected in increasing interest in clients in contacting us about recruitment. Some of these enquiries are preliminary discussions about how much salary a certain type of person might want, but increasingly clients are contacting us with a job description and asking us to submit candidate CVs for a specific and clearly defined role.

If we are asked to find suitable candidates for a client, we invest considerable time and effort to source individuals with the appropriate skill set and background. This means advertising, interviewing and explaining to the individual about the role and the company, before their CV is sent to the client.

If you have asked to be sent CVs, why would you then not return the recruitment consultant’s calls, or provide feedback on them, even just a “they’re not suitable” e-mail? Three little words, that’s all it takes.  Recruitment consultants have a (mostly) justifiable reputation for not providing feedback or returning calls, but in a profession that delivers bad news on a scale that only doctors and policeman would understand, occasionally there will be lapses, and often they do not have feedback to pass on.

But what does that say to any individual about a client as a potential employer, if they cannot be bothered to provide feedback on CVs of candidates interested in working for them? Many recruitment consultants have reputations acquired many years ago, and over the last few years have been bitten on the backside by these reputations.  However, employers need to realise that we will again get to a position where candidates have choice over where they want to work, and being treated dismissively by employers now will rebound on them in years to come.  This will lead to them unable to fill vacancies because of the reputation they have as indifferent or uncaring.

So with recruitment consultants, as with the parent and the traffic cones, they are not the problem, they are trying to provide a solution, or at least make the situation less bad. Don’t shoot the messenger; they are genuinely on your side, trying to do the best for you.

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