The Recruitment Fallacy of `CVs within the hour`

I heard this still happens. Does this still happen? Please tell me it doesn’t? 

In about 1997, I was always encouraged that one of the greatest attributes I could provide as a recruiter, was speed of service. They were all doing it. Spouting with chest-enhancing pride:

“If Mrs Client, you gave me a vacancy at 9.30am; we will promise you that we will deliver 5 CVs within the hour” 

The client often thought this was a good thing. Well, why not? Talk about time-saving!! 

Well. The process: 

1. Get vacancy description. 

2. Plug into database/ATS system. 

3. Press word-match function. 

4. `Shortlist` arrives of 35 CVs in varying levels of % suitability. 

5. Tag the 5 with the highest % suitability. 

6. Click `Send CV` option. 

7. Client receives 5 matching CVs from the the system. If they are lucky. Others get 10. 

8. Agency finds out later, if the candidates are either a) interested in the job, b) interested in the company, c) interested in the prospects, d) interested in the culture, e) actually available! and well, f) offended that that their CV has been hurled over a portion of the job market like a random dart. 

Well of course Mrs Client – this is what you pay your £4,000 fee for. Good news, huh? 


Recruitment & Selection is not a speedy process. It’s a consultancy process. It requires a great deal of sensitivity and consideration for all involved. Every client is different, and requires a different approach. One great Sports Marketing superstar, may not be right for every sports role – just because they have `sport` in their skills category on the ATS system. Particularly the one who just merely mentioned `sport` a lot in their interests and achievements sections… 

The `right` person, is often on our database. Often though, they are not. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 days to attract that person. Sometimes; as with one example of a role I placed earlier this year; it takes 8 months!! Not normally the case, but if client has a specific requirement; god forbid; and are prepared to wait for the right person for such a pivotal role, then the recruiter’s job is to work to THOSE timescales. Never, ever, was I going to find a selection of 5 Head of Social Media Insights within a WEEK, let alone an hour. Sometimes, these people just don’t arrive at ALL! 

Recruiters. Stop thinking about speed of delivery, and focus on quality of delivery. 

Clients. Next time a recruiter says they’ll get CVs within the next 1 or 2 hours, ask them for a 25% of the usual fee – because that’s all the service they are providing. 


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