Why I’ve had it with the IOR.

I have been kind to the venture that is the IOR – the Institute of Recruiters which has been set up, not set up and then set up again during 2011. It’s objective is `Tranforming Recruitment & HR Globally`. A worthy objective requiring some big hands. Despite my annoyance at the REC, and bodies like them, good luck to them, I thought. 


I understand the need for a modernised `new REC` – although they won’t wish to be labelled that way. I am all for cleaning up the unethical side of the recruitment industry. I am all for people who try something extraordinary, to make a difference. So I have been happy to comment, encourage, advise where necessary, critique positively with those involved. I am familiar with Dave Barber and Helen Charles-Morgan – do not have an issue with them as people – and certainly recognise where their talents lie. 

However the IOR have made mistakes. Then apologised for them. Helen refers to a time before she became Chair, but that was still only 6 or 7 months ago, so it’s fresh in people’s memories that they promoted the IOR’s LinkedIn group with attractive non-employees, fake profiles and/or temps, and duped people as a result. It’s fresh in people’s memories that when quizzed about their actions in this LinkedIn Group, and what the IOR actually was going to be, that prominent voices were then ejected from the group. Ahem, remind anyone of the REC here per chance?? 

I advised Helen privately to consider how they approach their PR image; how they handle Social Media presence, and embrace it and it’s benefits and etiquette and offered support in this. It hasn’t changed, and nobody asked me to help. Not fussed, I haven’t the time – but I could have helped a little or re-directed. 

It gripes many that the body is run by Azmat Mohamed, owner of a Software company. All of a sudden, the IOR is offering `free software` to it’s members. Makes many wonder what proportion of the membership fee goes back into the `industry`, and what goes back into the pocket of Azmat’s firm? Loss leaders are there for a reason. Azmat is surely not selling his soul to the industry for free, is he?? I doubt it. 

The biggest PR disaster that gets me in my eyes, is that they exaggerate disenchantment with the recruitment industry to promote their membership fee. A body that is supposed to represent the good of the industry apparently, blankets LinkedIn with messages of encouragement of dissatisfaction with the recruitment industry; attempting to hoodwink the industry into believing it’s an unethical carnage out there, and a massive body of paid up members is needed to fix it. 

This is accentuated when I encounter a chap by the name of David Montague. An IOR Regional Director no less. I let him into my Cloud Nine Recruitment Network Linkedin group. He proceeded to bring messages to the discussion pool such as “What do you hate about Candidates?”, “What are your biggest frustrations about recruitment agencies?”, “What’s your opinion of the recruitment industry?”. I challenged him on the evidence that the IOR is spouting negative messages about the industry, rather than backing the good guys – and he replied with some trash about `research`, and `understanding`. Hold on – shouldn’t that research have been done before the thing was created?? 

Today I got a standard unexplained LinkedIn request from him out of the blue. I accepted. No harm in that. Within 5 minutes I received the most long-winded un-addressed inpersonal introduction email about the IOR and why I should join. I imagine he must have spend most of the day spamming LinkedIn on the IOR’s behalf. I am about to unconnect from Mr Montague. 

I was curious as to how they were getting on with Twitter – so I checked the stream (they don’t talk to anyone, just post stuff), and the latest post was a reference to a LinkedIn poll they created – “What is your perception of the recruitment industry & recruitment consultants (Survey by Institute of Recruiters – IOR)” – with 58% voting for a negative perception of the industry. I bet the IOR were jumping for joy!! – it accelerates the message of doom further. 

It was at this point I decided I had had enough. I have my gripes at the recruitment industry, but not because it is unethical, but because it is out-dated more often than not. The truly unethical proportion is so small, it shouldn’t be worried about. I genuinely wanted to see a champion for the good recruiter, that the REC has failed to become. The IOR should have been that champion. Sadly it is driven by sales and membership, and not by promoting best practice, the necessity of the recruiter or the collaboration of talent – and instead is talking down it’s industry to raise it’s own standing position. 

Industry improvement comes through willingness by recruiters independently to be better at what they do. Nobody can engineer that other than themselves. The IOR should have been a guideline to this, a standard bearer with visual accreditations of excellence handed out early on to stand out recruiters who demonstrated expertise and brilliance in the industry cause.

I wanted to love the IOR for the way they lit up an unfairly maligned industry with examples of success. Sadly instead they have kicked mud in our faces, put us all in the same boat, and lost touch with the real recruiter.

It took REC several years to achieve that. the IOR have done it in less than 6 months. 

Good luck the IOR. I won’t be joining. 




15 thoughts on “Why I’ve had it with the IOR.

  1. Shame that yet again a org perported to be on the side of fairness to Recruiters has messed up online. Any views on what org is doing a good job of this?

  2. ugh – well an `org` you say? – or an enterprise? – either way – clearly listening through online communication structures is alien to them.
    Overall, the IOR may do well. But I just don’t agree with the method of audience-grabbing.
    Thanks for commenting Lisa.

  3. I dont see how we have messed up Steve/Lisa, we promote the IOR like any other professional body would, of course we will make mistakes along the way, we only launched in June!! Steve I remember our email and you kindly offered to help us with the PR, at this time we are not looking for your assistance but in the future maybe we are. I sometimes think people use the IOR to help them promote their own business as we do receive allot of press good or bad.

    I do agree we do promote the negative side more than the positive side of recruitment but to be honest the negatives out way the positives right now.

    And Steve we do have standards/guidlines for members to improve themselves, services, perception, and we are also assisting the new smaller recruitment business improve standards, with CV templates, documents, process’s to improve their business, network events, AWR free advice, we are doing all we said we would and be guided by our members, and corporate clients, as well as lobbying.

    Dont forget we combine HR/Inhouse and Recruiters, we have over 20 RD’s all who report back to us weekly on what services we need to be offering improving, if you are so disappointed, join us and tell us what we should be doing, without voices we are nothing, it is no good shouting us down from the sidelines.

    Please call me anytime if you want to discuss further.


  4. Hi Steve,
    Firstly, as you can see, we do take time out and try to respond and clear the air if people have issues with the IOR, which I hope you appreciate.
    On the matter of the free software, I have already gone on record saying that it looks odd, and I completely agree with you that on the outside it may be seen as just a stunt for personal gain. If there was any way to make real money from giving software away to recruiters as advanced as Lynx then all the vendors would be doing it. They don’t miss a trick you know! Truth is, free software can only make revenues when it’s a mass market product, then you make not make money but you have a product lots of people are using so it have a value. An example is twitter and until recently LinkedIn. Niche markets like recruitment and HR would not have that effect; there is nothing to gain in offering it for free if your motive is profit.
    Think of Lynx like an open source product, like PHP, MySQL, Drupal, Alfresco Community etc., now you see what Lynx is, it’s a product to help recruiters and it will evolve into a great offering that’s free for IOR members.
    What I hope you appreciate is that the IOR is run as a cooperative. We have great discussions and make decisions that we all buy into. There is no one person calling all the shots, it’s a growing group deciding what is best for the industry. All the people involved will tell you that.
    All our team are trying really hard to make a difference. Every company makes mistakes but what you should look at is intention, we want to do great things for your industry.
    You have highlighted the things that have annoyed you, that is entirely your right but please do let us know what your opinions are about these things the IOR are doing for this industry:
    1. Education backed by a University so whatever you study is internationally transferable and recognised, therefore has more value.
    2. Benchmarking members to the National occupational Standards for recruitment.
    3. Having HR and Recruiters in one body.
    4. Partnering with the Chambers of Commerce to work with their lobbying teams.
    5. Corporate membership from £2995 to max £3995
    6. Corporate membership that includes all your staff as individual members at no extra cost.
    7. Lobbying in Brussels
    8. 95% of all the IOR team are recruiters
    9. Collective decision making
    10. Free AWR etc webinar programme to help recruiters
    11. No additional fees from members to access services.
    12. Partnering with leading companies
    13. Creating recruitment standards that will help the industry and are free for all to use

    This is the case today and we have only just started. The announcement due imminently are huge and amazing, just wait and see. It’s not all bad I hope you agree Steve.


  5. Helen, Azmat,
    Thanks for responding – I really did expect you would, and I appreciate it.

    Helen, my offer of support was for off-record free advice. Certainly not to help my profile. I’m not a PR expert at all, but know a few things that might have helped.
    My observation is that at this key time, it’s important not to divide opinion too readily, as you need the backing of influential people. Throwing negative discussion on LinkedIn gives off a bad stench.

    Azmat – thanks for observing the Lynx point. The horse has bolted though. Again, it’s about PR.

    That’s a lovely list of things that you offer, but how relevant are they to the every day recruiter? Partial. I think you will succeed to get members because the momentum of a fightback message will ensure that, but I wholehewrtily disagree with Helens comment that there is a greater negative feel than there is positive about the recruitment industry, and doesn’t need the IOR to try to exaggerate the reverse.

    There will always be negative comments from the wronged candidate, but a high percentage of jobseekers find work effectively through recruiters of all kinds every minute of the day, but don’t feel the need to shout about it.
    Shouldn’t THAT be the message of the IOR, rather than sullying our profession?
    Look at the recommendations of candidates to good recruiters on LinkedIn. Tot those up, and weigh them against the bombastic voice of the occasional negative gripe.

    Once again I back the sentiment of the IOR, but am disappointed by the application. Helen, no I don’t want to pay a fee for something I can’t be part of and comment – I stand for your consumer – and I’m not buying the IOR in it’s current image. I want champions for quality, not another lobbying organisation.

    Azmat, I look forward to your announcement, and will always listen to what the IOR has to say. I might not always agree though, and I’m one of your good recruiters.

  6. Hi Steve. Great post and i think it sums up how a lot of people feel.

    Helen, Azmat, unfortunately despite your intentions you just come across like the bad guys you are trying to rid the industry of. Poor communication, misleading claims and just awful positioning.

    Yes, we all make mistakes, but these are schoolboy errors. Fake profiles etc, pictures of pretty blondes? What the hell were you thinking?

  7. School boy errors in the beginning yes, that is behind us, lets move on please. As for being like the people we are trying to get rid of that is ridiculous, and one comment I cannot even comment on. laughable.

  8. Helen, all opinions are valid – especially from respected minds such as Gareth. To see off negative comments as `laughable` is just not helping.

    The schoolboy errors are less than 6 months ago – forgiven, but still fresh, and it was the IOR’s lame attraction policy in the beginning; your first public action – you to need to flip the PR pattern heavily to counter this.

  9. Hi Steve / Garelaos,

    Firstly, at least you are having a fair debate here and not just having a go for the sake of it, that’s good to see.

    What you have to understand is this is when we launched the linked-in group (which I want to make clear is NOT the IOR) we used a support company to help us. That company let us down and we severed ties with them as soon as we could. In a litigious world, when you have a contract and cannot prove something you just disengage, it was the simplest way.

    We are using a similar company to support us on membership promotions but we are now much more cautious in checking people out. That’s all I can say about profiles without putting my foot in it.

    Now I would like to move on, its old news, we dealt with is as quickly as we could, lessons were learned and it’s behind us.

    With regards the positive image of the industry, I agree with you and one thing I have learned in business is when people engage passionately then they often have a valid point you should take on board. I will ensure your comments are discussed and we address this.

    Promoting good practice is our aim, empowering recruiters with the right tools, information and support are key areas of focus.

    We are now much better at being accessible and engaging, it’s a lesson we have had to learn the hard way. No barring people from the group, no banning questions, nothing.

    We have a lot to do but we are determined and very committed to be a fantastic organisation.

    I sincerely appreciate your comments Steve / Garelaos.


  10. Thanks for the input Azmat – yes I am not about critique for the sake of column inches – it’s about sharing and enlightening genuine consumer experience. As stated, I personally accept the early mistakes that happened, and had moved on – however the actions of Mr Montague nailed my negative feel. To approach attraction to the IOR by spamming like a cheap Rec to Rec firm just stank a little. I hope your RDs were selected on the proven standards of their recruitment presence, capabilities, track record and communications attributes for the purpose of a standard-bearing organisation, rather than because they were one of the first 20 to put their hand up. 20 RDs `recruited` that quickly was pretty startling.

    As I maintain, I do wish the IOR well, but your product has changed focus, and has missed the mark to many of us independent recruiters (80% of the UK industry) on what was needed by such an org to stand as different to the REC.

    Furthermore comments such as “I do agree we do promote the negative side more than the positive side of recruitment but to be honest the negatives out way the positives right now.” are completely unreflective of the industry at large, and are an insult to the profession, and subsequently a slight on the motives and practices of the IOR.

  11. After this week, and the stir caused by this blog (along with others) – I think it only fair to update and give due where merited.

    Nice to see to real progress on the LinkedIn Group of the IOR – which is in truth it’s main discussion area.
    Barring a pathetic coded rant from our friend Mr Montague, much more positive discussion, and proof that positive content DOES create comment and engagement. And the atmosphere is better, more likable and serves the IOR far better. Feeding negative content is flawed. Always is. Geniunely uplifting chat in the room now, and I commend the IOR for listening, and acting.

    Good work guys – I hope it brings more membership for positive reasons.

  12. Cracking piece, Steve, and one I agree with.

    For me there is only ‘trade body’ worth membership, and that’s APSCo.

    Anne Swain and her team do a cracking job of attracting the right members and actually add value to the recruitment process.

    REC is truly dreadful and, led by the altogether arrogant Mr Green – has done absolutely nothing to deliver its promises. Every member of REC is wasting time and money.

    As for IOR, only time will tell, but I suspect it will never recover from its early failings and with so many industry protagonists already discrediting it, I don’t think APSCo has anything to worry about.

  13. Steve,
    I’m not a fan of what i’ve seen of the I.O.R. from what I have seen so far, and the continuous in fighting about all the terrible recruiters is devisive to the industry. The continuous additions of “new” trade bodies (however you label them), is just poor for he industry. In order to self-serve their own interests, APSCO really started on this path in their formation. They do a great job for their members, i’m not sure they do the same for the industry as a whole. (nor do they proport to do that., so I have to disagree with Simon on them being the only trade body worth anything. It might be because i’m not a part of that old boys/girls network.
    I think the REC do a great job in some areas, particularly lobbying on regulation, in other areas they disappoint. I think that those “genuinely” interested in benefiting the industry should be working on bringing pressure within the trade body we have, rather than creating new ones. We can add ARC to the list of associations set up with the same purpose.

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