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Insurance Business | 02 Oct 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Recruitment agencies are thrusting inexperienced and under qualified applicants on brokerages and charging huge fees for the service. In some cases, desperate recruiters are even offering their out-of-work friends.
  • Jarrad | 02 Oct 2013, 09:46 AM Agree 0
    While there are some dodgey recruitment agencies out there, the brokerage does need to take some of the blame for the bad hires. After all, the recruitment company just supplies potential candidates; the brokerage should still be doing their due diligence by ensuring they're effectively interviewing the candidates and ensuring reference checks are credible. It's them that makes the final decision.

    Word of advice - ensure that your recruitment processes are in shape, and if you're partnering with an agency, ensure it's the right one by asking to speak to one or two current clients.
  • Male Broker | 02 Oct 2013, 09:48 AM Agree 0
    Surely if you are running a smart broking business you would do your own independant assesment of these people. You would work the phones with your broking contacts and underwriters to get a feel for the applicant and how people in the market place see them.

    If you only trust the recruiters you are always going to end up with egg on your face!
  • Shane | 02 Oct 2013, 09:50 AM Agree 0
    I agree with more or less everything Phillip said. The candidates are always massively oversold by the agencies, and the upfront fees are a killer. Using Seek isn't much better, but at least the costs are only a fraction of the agency fees.
  • Rod | 02 Oct 2013, 09:59 AM Agree 0
    we recently had a candidate via a recruiter who we later discovered had been placed 3 times inside 12 months by the same recruiter and produced 12 month old references which were implied to be recent references.

    Non disclosure and misleading inforamtion is the order of the day for recruiters. Their industry has no code of practice, it's self regulated and they openly downgrade each other in their attempts to get your business.

    As for the superior quality of candidates for the premium paid, they don't even fix typos in the 1 page resumes we are being dished up. Go direct!
  • Doug Ford | 02 Oct 2013, 10:00 AM Agree 0
    Totally agree with Central Insurance.
    Best answer don't use recruitment agencies.
    We don't
  • Robert Cooper | 02 Oct 2013, 10:59 AM Agree 0
    Unfortunately there are good ones and bad ones. I have experienced both when it comes to recruiting. One I used was so lazy he never did any of the reference checks he said he had. But he talked up the candidate, negotiated a higher salary than what was on offer and was quite angry when I expressed some concerns with her. But we made a decision to hire her based on his recommendations only to have her previous employers ring and warn me about her. You take some of these with a grain of salt, but they were right. She turned into an absolute nightmare. I refused to ever use that recruitment agent again and it even put me off even employing staff again.
    The trouble is there is no legislation overseeing this industry like we have to have. Maybe Steadfast or NIBA or even the ICA should vet these agents out by surveying us all on our experiences and only endorsing those that are prepared to meet a code of conduct and particular agreed standard our industry requires. Then we can weed out the cowboy operators. Afterall, our livelihood depends on it and so does the livelihood of decent recruitment agents who get tarnished by the same brush.
  • Jarrad | 02 Oct 2013, 11:07 AM Agree 0
    RSCA is an association that recruitment agencies can become a part of. Doing so means that they have to abide by strict codes of conduct in how they operate and interact with clients. Agencies that are part of the body are generally more reliable (though it's by no means a perfect indicator).
  • Greg McDonald | 02 Oct 2013, 11:13 AM Agree 0
    Like Doug we also totally agree with Central but it's been happening for a long time.

    We ditched Recruitment Agencies 15 years ago and have never looked back.
  • steve addis | 02 Oct 2013, 11:48 AM Agree 0
    As an owner of a Recruitment Consultancy and having been within the industry for over 25 years (and I also know Phil and commiserate with his frustrations), I can reiterate that there are good and bad recruiters as there are good and bad brokers...
    My Advice would always be:
    Interview the Recruiter, find out how well they know the market.
    Do due diligence on the Recruiter, who has used them, gain feedback.
    Lastly, no recruiter should EVER doctor a resume, that type of business practice should see them and their firm blacklisted.
  • Chris | 02 Oct 2013, 11:53 AM Agree 0
    There’s a number of employers who tend to blame the agencies they work with for the bad hires they make. I ask these questions from those employers;
    • Were you not able to tell the lack of experience during your interview?
    • Are you experienced in interviewing people to hire for your team?
    • Have you chosen the right agency to find the right people?
    • Shouldn't you take some of the blame for your bad hires?

    I work with specialist agencies to source candidates for my business and have had great success. I provide them with all the information they need to find me the right person. Specialist agencies maintain good networks in the market and have been able to identify potential employees who I wouldn't have come across with my networks.
  • Dexter Cousins | 02 Oct 2013, 11:57 AM Agree 0
    I am sure that recruiters displaying such terrible service will no longer be in business over the next few years. I'm not sure about the nature of the article and what it is intended to achieve? Recruiters have a valuable role to play in helping companies grow their business. As a recruiter specialising in the insurance sector I am shocked by the article and would encourage a more balanced view point. I've used some shocking financial advisors only interested in making commission and flogging the latest life policy under the pretences of providing financial advise. That doesn't mean that all financial advisors and brokers are useless. Recommendations and referrals can go a long way to ensuring you get a fantastic service and result.
  • Stuart | 02 Oct 2013, 12:38 PM Agree 0
    I come at this from the other side - being a person who has been looking for work. I have many years experience and qualifications that would make me suitable for any Professional Risks Underwriting or Broking position but find that recruiters won't even submit my details preferring to focus on placement of younger, less suitable people because it seems they can be placed easier and return a quicker return for them.
  • Dexter Cousins | 02 Oct 2013, 12:53 PM Agree 0
    Hi Stuart, I am really sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately it is a very common scenario and one that is driven by clients demands and not the recruiters. As mentioned by one other contributor many companies don't even use recruiters. About 75% of my network find their next role via a direct connection vs a recruiter. I would be happy to share with you some tips and strategies on how to get the best results in your job search.
  • Brendon | 02 Oct 2013, 02:27 PM Agree 0
    No doubt Central has had some terrible experiences with recruiters, but recruiters can't be blamed for poor hiring decisions because they don't make hiring decisions. Yes there are dodgy recruiters; just as there are bad practitioners in most industries...they generally don't last long as their reputation catches up with them. Candidates lie to recruiters too, and the interview process (plus reference / background checking) should always be used to test the experience that candidates say they have...and if ever in doubt, follow your gut instinct and don't hire the candidate.
  • steve addis | 02 Oct 2013, 03:12 PM Agree 0
    Jarrad, I agree. While we (my consultancy) "partner" with brokers and insurers and we encourage them to seek independent opinion from others that have used our services, the brokerage has to look at their own systems and be totally honest with themselves, i.e. what is their reputation like, are they seen as an employer of choice, is there a message that the recruiter can use to positively market that broking group that isn't being heard right now, also and this is the hardest part - it's incredibly easy to blame the recruiter for someone that starts and leaves in a week/month etc, and say that the recruiter should have done more, but what may be needed is to look at the broking business, set up, cultural values and ask is this currently a place where great people want to work. The Recruiter also needs to be honest and open with the employer and tell them how they are perceived in the market and that at present, Grade A candidate's aren't going to want to work there, and substantiate these and then work with the client to improve the reputation......A Recruiting company is so much more than just a one trick pony and many brokers/insurers just don't see this...
  • LesterLevin | 02 Oct 2013, 04:27 PM Agree 0
    I am another candidate who's sought work in Financial Services (Insurance Broking) I am a Mature age candidate with over 15 years experience. I have Tier 1 equivalency and would be happy to re-confirm this On-line via NIBA or ANZIF at my own expense and despite this I can't get a look in at any rolls Junior or senior because most recruiters are not tied in,as are brokers, to regulatory requirements whereas I believe they should be. This would weed out all in-effective and dubnious recruiters. The Problems still remains, as most jobs are advertised by recruiters many of whom claim to have worked in Financial Services (Insurance Broking) when in fact they have little knowledge or obligation with their field or under law. I''m based in Sydney and will work anywhere so long as the offer is reasonable and commensurate with experience. Anyone out there with an offer and I'll send you my resume and I'll more than prove my skills.
  • Nas | 03 Oct 2013, 06:42 AM Agree 0
    The last six months I have been on the hunt for a role in broking. Like Lester I am on the orbs side of 30 & have self funded by diploma in broking. I have held executive roles with various organizations and have worked in insurance for 3.5 years. Not on one recruiter has been willing to put me forward to a broker for any role even junior! The focus from them seems to be on the easy to close sale. I am sure there are good recruiters out there yet to meet one
  • Tom | 03 Oct 2013, 09:32 AM Agree 0
    And don't ever rely on the 3 month guarantee from recruitment agencies. When they have to replace a candidate within the 3 month guarantee period they never offer the quality candidates as replacement as they wont get paid for that placement. They save the quality for somebody else and only send you the duds after the guarantee period
  • Henry Chinaski | 03 Oct 2013, 11:36 AM Agree 0
    Lester and Nas it won't be the recruiter making the decision it will be their client.
    If they thought they can earn a fee from introducing you they would - no matter your age or experience
  • John Kanard | 03 Oct 2013, 11:47 AM Agree 0
    So, am I to believe recruiting agencies are not subject to all the formal legislative sanctions for misleading and deceptive conduct ? Or are the employers who are claiming to be their victims - the same mentality pandered to by the media and politicians when insureds complain their insurance policy terms and conditions and coverage have not been explained, despite the requirement for the relevant PDS to be issued at inception - not making their own inquiries (referees etc) in respect of the candidates recommended...?
    With over 26 years experience in insurance and as a graduate with pre and post graduate qualifications in journalism, insurance and loss adjusting, and after being made redundant last year, my experience of 'recruiters' and (un)employment agencies is that none of those I had any contact with were or are worth feeding.
    That said, tax payers have been lining the pockets of too many 'recruitment' and/or 'employment' agencies since that task was handed over by the federal government to private enterprise so many years ago. Money for nothing...and the joke continues.
    Perhaps if the lies, damn lies and statistics peddled about the 'unemployment' rate were dispensed with, and the truth was actually told, somthing could be done to rid the economy of the dodgy tip of the 'recruitment' iceberg...
  • LesterLevin | 03 Oct 2013, 01:41 PM Agree 0
    John and Nas, Thanks for backing me up. Perhaps with our combined experience we might form a company to act as an Authorised Rep with a reputable Broking Group i.e. IAS, Winley or other. Nonetheless the problem however will remain whilst Brokers fail to advertise directly or claim themselves to busy to interview, vet or qualify candidates together with their qualifications and experience. Recruiters will fail and fall at this hurdle every-time. Whilst Brokers have the regulatory and legal obligations to enable them to assess candidates, their qualifications, experience and business capabilities. Recruiters fail because Many have never had actual positions in the field we speak of and for those that have why had they left the Industry we Love to engage in so as to take up recruiting. I repeat is there a Sydney based seeking a Senior candidate with great generalisational skills willing to engage or discuss?.
  • Peter | 03 Oct 2013, 05:24 PM Agree 0
    Just lol at any part of the financial services industry questioning the code of conduct and ethics of recruiters. Probably the last industry to pass judgement on anyone, given their recent track record!

    Would trust a recruiter any day over a banker, broker, planner, trader etc etc. If it wasn't for FoFA reforms, planners would still be claiming trailing commission's for products they sold 10 years ago that might not even be relevant today or still fit their clients needs - hardly best practice, is it?

    I would say that the ultimate decision comes down to the hiring manager, recruiters should be making the initial introduction, being made up of a quality short-list, but the final decision really lies with the hiring manager.
  • Jon | 04 Oct 2013, 10:09 AM Agree 0
    I read this article with interest, as it is a growing problem as far as I can see in the Australian Insurance market. Having both worked in the market hiring staff and now as a recruiter, focused on delivering those staff, I can empathise with a lot of the concerns about our industry.

    The fact is that we are not regulated, something that in future will no doubt be addressed. Here, we make a point of only hiring ex-market professionals, who have an understanding of the products, roles and organisations they are seeking to represent. It's my belief that too much emphasis in the recruitment industry is placed on "sales" and "quantity" over the essential characteristics of "relationships" and "quality" that our industry is supposed to provide.

    As has been said below, there are some excellent recruitment agencies out there but there will always be those out to make a "quick buck" too. At the end of the day though, it is the client who ultimately encourages behaviours, and price is far too often the determinig factor over which agency to use rather than quality or methodology they employ.

    My advice to Insurers, Brokers, TPA's and Agencies being approached by recruitment agencies is number one to ask for references - if a supposedly "good" recruiter, can't provide you a number of references to call and qualify their abilities with, it's likely they haven't performed elsewhere. Number two should always be to ensure they have a dedicated process in place, which includes providing profiles of candidates, their personal opinions and strengths / weaknesses as well as providing references prior to employment. Finally, we all work in an industry that is predicated on relationships - you are bound to know someone who has worked with or managed the individual in question. Unless a particularly junior role, this should form part of the process prior to inking the agreement.
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