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Respect, Dignity, and Humanity in recruitment

The Windrush Generation debacle has thrown up a number of thorny issues, however at its key are three fundamental values : “respect, dignity, and humanity”. Without being derogatory, recruitment consultants and car sales people share similarities – they come from all walks of life, no qualifications or training are required and they each tend to get a bad name. But it doesn’t need to be so.


The most commonly voiced complaint I hear from job seekers, as a recruitment consultant and volunteer at a charity-based job club, is that recruitment consultants never return calls, don’t respond to voicemails or emails, and frequently do not give feedback after interviews have taken place. Whilst hiring managers complain at the deluge of wholly inappropriate CVs they are sent to sift through and pick over.

None of which delivers an interaction in which respect, dignity, and humanity are forefront.

My sister, a British national born in a former colony, has recently emigrated to this country (as I did in 1979). Determined to work and pay her way, she has interacted with numerous local recruitment consultants and employment agents. She has just completed a 6-month temporary contract and, in calling her recruitment contacts, has discovered again, that none of them remain employed at the organisation.

In my own infrequent forays seeking employment, I discovered the same behaviours, whether dealing with external or in-house recruiters, which did little for the brand values of either organisation.

The hard truth is that external recruiters (as opposed to in-house HR recruiters) are sales people, paid to make placements. Generally, they are target driven, with performance-based pay plans and if they fail to hit those targets (often in the first three months), they are disposed of and another person is given the chance to have a go. In-house HR recruiters frequently have a background in HR rather than sales; if they have performance-related pay it is rarely a significant proportion, and HR departments tend to track metrics based on workflow process, not effectiveness.

When a hiring organisation understands the true value of a professional recruitment company in saving their time and money through providing well-matched, well-briefed, appropriately-skilled applicants and treats them as trusted partners; when recruiters are paid and incentivised to take the time to do the right job, in the right way, at the right time (and often enough) then applicants, candidates and hiring managers will receive a service in which they can trust and rely upon.

Respect, Dignity, and Humanity works both ways.