By Mark Dexter
3rd December 2013

Anyone that knows us well will probably know  we've been celebrating our 10th birthday! Whilst looking back on the last 10 years and how things have changed at KDR I came across a blog our Managing Director wrote 5 years ago. One thing I'm pleased to say hasn't changed over the years are our core values. The values on which KDR was built are still at the heart of everything we do.

10 year KDR cake

Recruiting in a niche market, by Mark Dexter, MD, KDR Recruitment

'Recruitment consultancies are all the same…….'

' I don’t trust recruitment agencies……..'  

They all have access to the same candidates…….'

'I don’t need a recruitment agency, I can do it myself……'

'Recruitment agencies are expensive………'

As someone who has worked in the recruitment industry for thirteen years, I can honestly say that I have heard all of the above comments, and many more that I can’t print here for reasons of decency, from people frustrated with their experience of dealing with the recruitment process.

Sometimes I find it frustrating that these types of comments are often people’s pre-conceptions, but then I think, hey, it doesn’t have to be that way, if you are prepared to maintain certain professional standards. The sad fact is that there a large number of recruitment ‘consultants’ and indeed agencies who are so hungry for the next ‘deal’ that they will bend whatever truth they see necessary to convince a potential client to give them the work or a candidate to take a position offered to them.

The purpose of this article is to attempt to de-bunk some of the above myths.

The fact is that not all recruitment consultancies are the same, and although not all of my industry brethren fall into this category, there are in fact many excellent businesses out there practising their trade in an ethical, thorough way, with the best interests of both the clients and candidates at heart.

Many recruitment companies can in fact be trusted, the trouble is that the reputation of the industry in general gets harmed by the action of the less scrupulous companies.  I have always set out to do what, on the face of things is a very simple job, to the best of my ability, and expect everyone who works for KDR to operate to the same high standards.  Hopefully the fact that we are still supplying staff to some companies that we placed people with right at the beginning of our existence, while now in our fifth year of successful trading, is testament to the fact that we must be doing something right.  Sure, we could perhaps have added a few more £££s to our bottom line each year if we had chosen to do things in a slightly more, er, forthright way, but I can honestly say that we can hold our collective heads up high when we look back on the past four and a half years of placing candidates in the BI, DWH and MIS markets.

On to the third point.  As a niche recruitment company, we have to know our market, and therefore the candidate market place, better than the generalist agencies.  There is no point in selling a specialised service if we can be matched or bettered by generalist competition.  As a result, we focus the vast majority of our candidate networking activities tightly within our chosen area of expertise.  We feel this pays dividends as we represent many ‘passive’ candidates to our clients that our generalist competition will not know are interested in a fresh career challenge. From time to time we are asked to source candidates from outside our core areas.  If we feel the area is not too far from our day to day activities we will try to help, but most of our days are filled trying to find people with skills in Business Objects, Cognos, Informatica etc etc.

To anybody who says they do not need an agency, I will say fine, if you are a recruiter, feel free to spend the time looking for that needle in a haystack instead of spending your time doing what you do best.  But if you do not want to have to search through hundreds of CVs that mention, for example, SQL Server 2005 for the one that actually has extensive experience with the product, then give us a call and we will happily do the leg work for you.  And to any job seekers who do not wish to use an agency, again my answer would be to do it yourself, but do not limit your opportunities by not registering with a few specialist agencies in your field.

Recruitment agencies are expensive.  Of course we are, if your definition of expensive is simply the headline price.  If you dig beneath the surface a little you will see that a good agency is worth their fees, and the best actually offer excellent value for money.  Ask yourself this question:  In addition to building and maintaining a database of professionals in a specialist area, can I truthfully spare the time to filter through literally hundreds of CVs each week, speak to scores of candidates, take dozens of references and attempt to tie enough of those down to interview dates to actually recruit someone.  And that is for each position I am recruiting for.  If the answer to that question is yes, then you don’t need to pay a recruitment agency. But if the answer to that question is indeed yes, perhaps the question you should be asking yourself is:  If I have the time to do all of this, would it not be better spent on focussing on other tasks?

So, to sum up.   There are always two sides to any story.  People will have good experiences and bad of a particular industry - think of buying a house - but if you happen to stumble across a good practitioner in their field then any fee that they take for performing their part in the process will be money very well spent.


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