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INTERVIEW While the advent of digital technology has made it easier


than ever for employers to find their ideal candidates and jobseekers to land their dream roles, it will always be human interaction that seals the deal. So, from a service perspective, has technology really changed things within an industry that is still, essentially, a people to people business? “Going into my sixteenth year at SF Recruitment, not


much has changed around the type of service you have to deliver to clients and candidates,” said Dominic. “For me it’s always been about developing longstanding


relationships. Businesses returning to use mine and my team’s services is the perfect sense check that we’re still doing things right. “Another thing that indicates you have delivered on what


you have promised as a business is noticing the significant ratio of candidates that we place, that then go on to become our clients. “When it comes to clients, of course, it’s always about


quickly taking in the business objectives – the current position and strategy for growth, the industry and the market forces on the company and, of course, the organisational culture. “The ability to understand this entire picture before I


access our database of candidates looking for work and those who might not be looking but could be available, is vital.” So, what should a business look for when choosing a


recruitment partner? “If I was a client looking to work with a recruitment


agency, I would look for the following things,” said Dominic. “An established local presence; directors and managers that are still placing candidates and are therefore on the pulse of the market. “Deep experts in my sector and ideally a tenured team


and business history; an extensive network and a connected presence in the region. And, the sense of a high- paced, high-energy team to deliver good candidates quickly.” There are, of course, some businesses out there which


choose not to use an agency when recruiting. This may be because of a bad experience in the past, because they’ve never struggled to find the right candidates under their own steam, or, simply, because they don’t have the budget. Dominic said: “Everyone has a personal preference as to


how they want to hire people into their organisation, and we respect that different businesses will have either their own take on talent attraction or their own processes for hiring staff. “By using a specialist recruiter, the thing we often do


that a direct advert or process doesn’t is that we tap into the passive market through our significant networks and history with candidates. “We keep in touch with great candidates not for a job


‘today’, but to keep connected for when that opportunity arises.


“Businesses that don’t use an agency aren’t necessarily


thinking about the wider pool of great candidates that are in work. There may be a perception that the role of a recruiter involves jumping on a job board to access candidates, but actually most of our shortlists for roles we are recruiting into will be made up of candidates who aren’t on the market. When you’re recruiting a specialist role, you want to know that you are considering the best quality available in the market. “You have to ask yourselves the question, does a great


candidate in a busy role have the time to look for a new opportunity?” Because the recruitment marketplace is so competitive, a


minority of unscrupulous agencies using sharp practices to win business can often paint the industry in a bad light.


‘Businesses that don’t use an agency aren’t necessarily thinking about the wider pool of great candidates that are in work’


54 business network December 2019/January 2020


What can be done to overcome this? Dominic said: “There are always individual businesses in


every industry that create a bad name, there are always going to be those who want to cut corners and earn a quick buck. “There are occasions where you can be tarred with the


same brush in this industry – I know we can’t speak on behalf of everyone but all we would advocate is that all recruiters put the clients’ objectives and best interests of the candidates’ careers at heart. “As a specialist recruiter celebrating our 22nd year of


trading, we look for local partnerships and affiliations, hallmarks of quality and trust such as our patronage of the Chamber. Recruitment is a people-based industry where it’s not going to work out every time, but you need to make sure the protection mechanisms you put in place for the clients takes the risk away for everyone involved. “We have incredibly high standards and unless you are


continuously trying to improve, you’re going to have a shorter lifespan in any industry, especially in recruitment. “What we do is focus on creating longstanding


relationships and delivering first class client and customer care.” With 5,824 new recruitment agencies launching in the


UK in 2018, the boom isn’t showing many signs of slowing down just yet. However, with a new Government and Brexit on the horizon, and all the uncertainty these may bring, what does the future hold for the sector? “Recruitment is a profession that will need to evolve alongside the business landscape, and it’s difficult to predict how that will change in the coming years,” said Dominic. “Over 15 years, I have seen opportunities arise as well as


some difficult trading periods. Recently, we have announced expansion and further growth plans into the technology sector. Companies of all types are under pressure to innovate and experiment, to keep up with the changing digital world. They are also increasingly exploring and benefiting from automation to provide efficiencies within their own organisations. “Recent insight has shown that half of small businesses


in the East Midlands are now technology-led, and typically see faster growth and higher investment than other businesses. As for SF, we have been on an incredible journey for the past few years and we are excited by not only the launch of our new tech division but also the growth plan for maintaining our position as a leading specialist recruiter across the whole of the Midlands.”


Dominic has risen through the ranks since joining SF Recruitment 15 years ago


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