Archive for the ‘Talent Genius Ltd’ Category

Some LinkedIn Tips From @talentgeniusltd Twitter Feed

February 22, 2011 1 comment

Recently, I’ve been adding brief LinkedIn tips onto to the Talent Genius Ltd Twitter feed, which you can follow HERE.

So, for a bit of a different ‘blog’, I’ve decided to add them on here as well, to give them another avenue & for LinkedIn users to appreciate. They are only brief tips (mainly as they’re all 140 characters or less!), but if one of them helps you to either get a new job, gain a new client or generally win new business, then it’s worth it. Please continue to ‘follow’ @talentgeniusltd as well for ongoing LinkedIn Tips.

Please note, these are taken directly from the Twitter Feed, so are all 140 characters or less. Please feel free to ‘share’ them on your Twitter feed (if you want to ‘credit’ @talentgeniusltd that’s up to you) – Keep following for more tips each day.

  • Hide which companies you follow in your settings, otherwise your competition may know who you are trying to do business with.
  • Business owners, create a ‘Products & Services’ section on your company page. Get client recommendations for services too.
  • Don’t ‘over-do’ it with colleague recommendations. Client recommendations are more important.
  • Job hunters – Make LinkedIn your full online CV. You can print off & save a PDF of your profile direct from profile page.
  • Don’t over-use LinkedIn & Twitter integration. Over changing your profile will lead to members hiding your updates.
  • Always spell-check your entries. Install a spell-check in your browser bar for ease.
  • Update your profile at least once a week. Use the ‘skills’ feature to highlight & expand upon your experience.
  • Your personal profile photo is also your ‘brand’. Treat it as such. Don’t use company logos as it breaches LinkedIn T&C’s.
  • Always read the Group Rules when you join a new group. You should aim to ‘fit in’ with the culture/tone of the group
  • Add your company website on your profile page and company profile page to help your SEO. LinkedIn is great for backlinks.
  • In open groups, you can ‘share’ discussions & replies directly to Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (profiles/groups/individuals)
  • When joining groups, think of your competition as well as potential customers. Increase your competitor/Market knowledge
  • You can now restart archived discussions in Open Groups. Pick out your old favourite discussions and start comments again
  • Use less than 20 words in discussion title lengths. Use the discussion body for more detail. Entice members to raise debate
  • Personalise the link to your website. Don’t just call it ‘My Website’. Think of your company branding, get the name out

Other LinkedIn Updates

I thought I’d let you know about a few other small LinkedIn updates that have happened quite recently too that could be useful.

► Sharing LinkedIn Discussions/Promotions/Jobs Through Social Media.

If you are not aware, you can now share your or other member discussions through LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook. I regularly ‘Tweet’ discussions to attract new members to the site and to promote discussions/promotions. It would be great to see fellow members doing this as well.

You can see how to share your discussions at the following LinkedIn Blog Page:

► Brand New Twitter Discussion Feature

LinkedIn have also now added a feature in groups where each reply can be ‘Tweeted’ as well. Those with Twitter Accounts will see a Twitter Icon next to ‘Add Comment’ when adding a reply. Very useful when tweeting out comments, replies, messages or maybe a little too weighted on LinkedIn getting more exposure through other social media.

To note, you can stop each reply going out on your Twitter account as well by ‘unticking’ the box next to ‘Add Comment’.

► Restarting Old/Archived Discussions

Since being made an ‘Open group’, all older discussions were ‘archived’. This archive has always been viewable, but you can now also restart your old/archive discussions. A very useful feature if you want an old discussion topic to be discussed again, whilst retaining all previous comments from other members.

► FREE LinkedIn Guide 4.0

I have updated the FREE Talent Genius Ltd LinkedIn Guide. You may download the guide from the following Google Documents Link (You do not need a Google Account to download). Please note, if the download link does not work, it is simply as the download quota is high, please just retry after a few minutes:

► FREE HR & Employment Law Seminar – March 22nd, Bolton

Talent Genius LtdPeninsula Business Services are co-hosting a FREE Employment Law Seminar for Business Owners, Company Directors and Senior Level HR ONLY.

Tuesday, 22nd March 2011. Bolton Reebok Stadium, Bolton

9.30am-10.00am – Coffee/Refreshments

10.00am-12.45pm – Seminar (Including A Break Period)

When it comes to business success, your employees are your most precious and costly resource. Productive, engaged employees lead to increased customer loyalty and profitability. But there are many traps and pitfalls that can reduce productivity and put you, the employer, at risk.

As you prepare for economic growth, now is the time to meet our experts who will guide you through your staff management issues.

To attend this FREE Event, please email or call Steve Smithson on 01942 323 000.

You may also register your interest through Linkedin at the following events page (please note, this event is being promoted through various sources):

Please note, this event is for Business Owners, Company Directors, Senior Level HR Professionals ONLY.

HR Consultants, Recruitment Consultants or employees of HR Consultancies will be advised they cannot attend as the co-host is an Employment Law Consultancy themselves & there is a conflict of interest.


Steve Smithson
Managing Director
Talent Genius Ltd

PS: A new Talent Genius Ltd website is coming soon…

If you notice the site down, it’s because ‘changes are coming’.


‘Direct’ Selling And LinkedIn Groups

January 14, 2011 3 comments

This week, I’ve been all over England visiting HR Consultants and Outsource Companies with Bespoke Sales Training.

Southampton, Bristol, Lincoln, Sheffield, Lancaster and this afternoon… Manchester (in my poor Fiesta Zetec). And no matter where I have been, I’ve seen something that I’ve not seen in a while in the HR Industry… Hunger. With clients paying for Sales Training, they are showing that they want to make an impact in 2011. It’s great to see.

I come from a ‘School of Selling’ where it was pumped into me that ‘Direct Selling is Best’. This ‘Direct Selling’ is the practice of simply asking for business. You don’t have to ‘beat around the bush’, just sell.

A few months back, when I set up Talent Genius Ltd, I joined a Smarta, an online business networking & advice site. In the forums, there was an ‘Introduction’ section and many introductions barely even mentioned the author’s company, website or services. I am not akin to hiding and wrote an introduction which was very brief and contained my contact details & a very small ‘Sales Pitch’ to highlight what my business was about. To my astonishment, a few minutes later, one member replied to my introduction with, “Well, we all know what your business does now, we know where to contact you, how about you tell us about yourself?”

Why would I want to tell complete strangers about my private life? I believe Personal and Business matters should be kept apart. I joined the group for business networking and advice, not to have a tea party.

Another reply read, “This forum is not about selling your business, we’re also here to provide support and encouragement — make friends, in other words.”

Hello???!!! I am pretty sure the website was about Connecting with Business Owners, sharing ideas & networking. If the members of the forum that were there then want to ‘make friends’, get away from the computer screen and socialise.

Is it me, but are all Business Owners in it for the goal of making money? (Yes, there are many other motivators I know, but the goal of business is to make a profit). Why the hell do I want to know what another business owner, who I will probably never meet thinks of last night’s Coronation Street (Which, is in fact excellent and far better than Eastenders.) Why be afraid to ask for business? Many years ago, a Sales Rep was talking about what he does in appointments and he advised a great question to ask when you are offering a service to a prospect is:

“What do we need to do to work with you?”

It’s something I have picked up and always ask potential clients – Why not? The client can then tell me what they want and I can offer the solution. Simple. Sell the client what they want, not what they will never need and the client will come back to you when another need arises.

For this blog, I thought I’d give some advice that I’ve found very useful based on ‘Building Influential Connections’.

An important feature of LinkedIn are the groups & within the groups you can achieve lots. First off, you need to find your best group opportunities. To do this you will need to try and focus on about 5 groups that you feel most confident in, preferably not with masses of users (or you will simply get lost in there). If you are a HR Consultant, try ‘HR Professionals UK‘. You need to keep up-to-date with your chosen groups by visiting them regularly and identifying the most popular discussions in the group. Instead of waiting for the discussion to come to you, go to it, give a reply that will illustrate your train of thought. This will steadily allow you to become a ‘Known Figure’ (Hopefully from a positive perspective!).

When you have identified the discussions more relevant to you, really concentrate on the comments that people will make & learn from what they are saying. Respect their opinion, but correct if a reply could put someone in legal jeopardy (You can ‘Flag’ replies to the Group Moderators too). Eventually when you are up to speed with the terms and different aspects that are being discussed, throw in a question that will make people think, or give them a dose of your knowledge or opinion, try to keep it fairly conservative and make sure that you are actually adding value to the topic.

Ensure that your discussion titles are ‘short & snappy’ as to entice other members to participate (plus, the new LinkedIn ‘Share’ feature works better with short titles). And if you are going to promote something, use the new ‘Promotions’ tab in the Group – Some LinkedIn groups see an ‘etiquette’ not to over-sell, so make sure you are aware of the ‘feel’ of the group as well.

If you follow these simple practices, it will give you recognition amongst the group. You’ll find that by replying to another discussion, members will tend to ‘return the favour’ and reply in yours too. When your discussion is up and running nicely, check back on the previous popular discussions for something that sparked interest and introduce it to your own one with a spin on it. This is all about gaining a social influence from other group members.

Once you have built up enough recognition you may want to start thinking about starting your own LinkedIn group. But creating a group that will attract LinkedIn members to join it not easy. For instance, there are many Engineering groups, some with thousands of members and creating a new Engineering group may be pointless unless you have something unique. An important point here is that you need to be ready to invest your time and effort to keep up with all discussion that you partake in as it will help you in the future.

If you need help with LinkedIn, please email me:

I will send you a FREE Guide to using LinkedIn, which is updated quarterly and try to answer any questions you send my way.

Here’s an Official LinkedIn Youtube Video on Groups for you. Enjoy.


Steve Smithson – Managing Director

Talent Genius Ltd

Some Linkedin Tips & New Features From Talent Genius Ltd

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

► LinkedIn – We all love it don’t we?

In today’s blog, I’m going to reveal a few basic pointers that may help out most LinkedIn users when they want to promote their business on LinkedIn. Obviously, advanced users will know the tips (or maybe not!).

  • LinkedIn Share Button – New Feature

First of all though, I’ll give you a brand new tip about the ‘Share Button’ feature that LinkedIn have now made available.

Now there is an easy way for your tribe to share your blog posts or website pages on LinkedIn – via updates, and through groups:  The LinkedIn Share button.  (Actually, it’s been around since April – but in Beta mode through WordPress).  Now anyone can use it!

You can find the code for vertical count, horizontal count and no count shares on LinkedIn’s publishers page:

  • LinkedIn Company Recommendations – New Feature

When happy customers recommend your products and services, you have the most authentic, credible endorsements. Make it easier for your happy customers bring you more customers. Embed this “recommend” button on your website so your customers can recommend your products or services with just the click of a mouse.

Get the recommend button on your site now.

Here’s the code snippet you’ll need to embed the button for each of your services (or products).

Product or service name: Talent Genius Ltd Fixed Fee Recruitment  

Code snippet for LinkedIn ‘recommend’ button:
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”“></script><script type=”in/recommendproduct” data-company=”1216612″ data-product=”1855″data-counter=”right”></script>

To get code snippets for additional services (or products), just replace the Product ID # (data-product=) in the code snippet above. You can find the Product ID # for any of your products from the URL of the respective product pages – it’s the number that follows “prdid=” in the URL.

  • LinkedIn Signal:

“LinkedIn Signal, a beta product that gives you a whole new way to consume information and news that’s most relevant to you as a professional” – Quote from LinkedIn Blog.

You can find out more details about LinkedIn Signal here:

Here are a few ways you can use LinkedIn from a company perspective to promote your business and target potential clients.

  • Your LinkedIn ‘Headline’

This is one of the first things other LinkedIn members see about you and it is VERY important. Did you realise that LinkedIn has a built-in marketing & SEO-friendly capability that is easy to use-and often overlooked?

The best 120 characters of keyword optimisation you can find, your LinkedIn Headline is a major piece of the puzzle that can help other LinkedIn members locate you or your business.

If you’re one of the many that loaded up this field with your current job title (such ‘Director’, ‘HR Manager’), or worse yet, used it to declare your unemployed status, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to market yourself!

Instead, I recommend presenting your brand and goal in your LinkedIn Headline, using some self-promotion plus a label that gives you a fighting chance of being located by a keyword search.

  • Your Connections

Many LinkedIn users just think it’s better to keep building their connections and add virtually anyone. But why would you want to do this? Take my advice and only add connections that are relevant to you and your business: perfect prospects, people you can learn from or those who can provide you with another connection or new business. Meaningless connections are just that, meaningless. It won’t help you adding a contact from India who has no relevance to you and who is just looking to build their connection list.

  • Create a LinkedIn Group

Create a company-branded group for your clients and/or colleagues to facilitate discussion about your industry. A collaboration-based group, created and managed by your company, can be an excellent way to get your company name out there and recognisable.

  • Participate In LinkedIn Groups

You may already be a member of several groups on LinkedIn, but you need to leverage that membership by participating in discussions.

Once you join a relevant group you can participate in discussions and connect with its members. When you contribute to discussions and add your professional opinion you establish yourself as a professional and put yourself in front of potential clients.

Each time you participate, your photo and name are included, plus you can drop in a short signature with your company information on your posts for added promotion – Just don’t over-do any promotional items in the ‘Discussion’ Sections. LinkedIn has now created a ‘Promotions’ tab for such items.

  • Company Profile

A ‘company profile’ helps you separate your individual/personal background from your business by creating a page that includes information about what your company does, how long you’ve been doing it and how interested parties can contact you for more information. Read this tutorial that walks you through the process of creating a company profile on LinkedIn.

  • Post Job Opportunities

If you have employees, subcontractors or are thinking about employing, LinkedIn in an excellent way to spread the word about the position you need to fill and your business in the process. Post job opportunities for FREE in any groups that you are a member of.

  • LinkedIn Polls

You may want to pick the brains of your target audience and colleagues with LinkedIn Polls. LinkedIn Polls lets you create polls and distribute them to your networks and/or specific people you want to hear from. You can view and analyse real-time results to get a behind-the-scenes look at what people are saying.

  • Answer a Question – Q&A

Share your business knowledge and expertise, and help others find solutions to their problems, by answering questions posed in LinkedIn Answers. This can be a great way to make an “expert” name for your business. Answer some questions in the right way and you may get awarded the ‘Best Answer’ and this will show in your profile.

  • Recommendations

Maximise your usage of the Recommendations function by regularly asking clients to provide testimonials. These reviews are listed under your company information on your profile indefinitely unless you or the client requests their removal, so recommendations can be a great “proof of excellence” tool. Try not to get too many recommendations from work colleagues and ‘Boomerang’ recommendations are a big ‘No’ – This is when two LinkedIn members recommend each other instantly. It’s too obvious.

  • Company Buzz

Use the LinkedIn app, Company Buzz, to track what’s being said about your company on LinkedIn and Twitter. Having this information not only helps you respond quickly when necessary, but it also gives you a way to measure the impact of your brand on these social networking sites.

  • Leaving a Status Update

Use the status update field on your profile to make company announcements, offer special deals, give tips and share links. Seems obvious and yes, it’s ‘selling’ and ‘PR’, but this is LinkedIn, not Facebook, so members will know and expect you to do this from time ti time. Again, don’t over-do it with your profile update being PR exercises.

  • Advertise/LinkedIn Direct Ads

Consider starting a targeted advertising campaign with LinkedIn DirectAds. You can target your ads based on geography, job function and seniority, industry and company size, and gender and age. But remember, like any advertising campaign, it all depends on your service/product offering.

► UK Professionals Series of LinkedIn Groups.

If you are part of one of the groups that I manage, thanks for participating. I run several specialist groups, here on Linkedin, the ‘UK Professionals’ Linkedin Series of Groups.

Please see the group titles below and simply search for them in the groups tabs or click on the relevant links. These groups do have strict criteria, so if you do not fall into each, you may not be allowed into the relevant group.

HR Professionals UK
A Group for Human Resources (HR) Professionals within the UK. The only HR Linkedin Group with over 3,200 + members that sticks to its membership criteria.

Talent Genius – Human Resources, Recruitment & Social Media Group

Talent Genius is the Official Linkedin Group for Talent Genius Ltd. Here you can share ideas and news on Human Resources, Recruitment & Social Media.

HR Outsourcing Group UK

HR Outsourcing Group – A Linkedin Group dedicated to those that work in UK based outsource HR / H&S Companies. From Employment Law Consultants to Company Directors, Telesales to Field Sales. Share your experiences, ideas and common purposes through this new group.

Networking Professionals UK

This is a Networking group to encourage open Linkedin networking for business people. You are encouraged to promote services & products and use the discussion boards accordingly, share concepts, ideas, post jobs, events and more.

Health & Safety Professionals UK

Health & Safety Professionals UK is a new group specifically for H&S Professionals that are based in the UK only. NEBOSH, IOSH, RIDDOR, Risk Assessment, CIEH, Fire, CDM.

Social Media & Networking Professionals UK

For those who are ‘social networkers’, using Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Myspace, Google, WordPress, Web 2.0 to share ideas, concepts and more. For members to increase their networks and talk about the impact of social media in their business.

Recruitment Professionals UK

UK Recruitment Professionals is a new group for UK based Recruitment Professionals only. We will be running sub-groups by Geography once the membership increases. For Recruitment Consultants, Internal Recruitment, Directors, Head Hunters across all industries/markets. Recruitment Process Outsourcing, BPO, Rec-2-Rec.

Finance & Accountancy Professionals UK

Finance & Accountancy Professionals UK is a new Linkedin Group. For up to date information on the accounting market in the UK. From Clerical, to part-qualified/qualified. Please feel free to join whether you are a Chartered Accountant, Finance Director, Financial Controller, also Trainee Accountants (i.e. studying for ACCA, CIMA, CA, ICAS, ICAEW, CIPFA etc).

Legal Services UK

Legal Services Group UK is a new group dedicated to those working in the legal industry at a Professional level in the UK. Solicitors, Barristers, Advocates, QC, LLP, LPC, Law Society, Bar Council, Institute of Legal Executives, Legal Services Act 2007, Solicitors Regulation Authority

HRPUK Guides & Help – Subgroup of HR Professionals UK

HRPUK Guides & Help has been set up so members can share HR Guides, help each other with changes in legislation and distribute any HR help throughout HR Professionals UK. This will act as a ‘library’ that all new and existing members can seek help in.


Steve Smithson – Managing Director

Talent Genius Ltd

Talent Genius Ltd is an all-in-one solution to employers throughout the UK for their Recruitment & HR needs.

Persistence, Professionalism and Positivity

November 19, 2010 1 comment

Persistence, Professionalism and Positivity

The three ‘P’s, but what are they about? I recently had a message sent to me by another Linkedin user who has struggled in the very difficult HR market to find a new permanent role. This Linkedin member was asking if I could provide any tips, help, advice, literally anything that would help them in the marketplace.

But as I read the original request/message, I couldn’t help but think that I didn’t know the answer and everything is subjective. Everyone has their own opinion and methods. Opinions differ from person to person, so what is the right answer?

Then I realised the three ‘P’s, something that was drilled into me by my Father many years ago when I was young and I offered this simple advice to the HR candidate. Every day as I look on Linkedin, there’s countless ‘rants’ about Recruitment Agencies & Direct Employers wasting people’s time out there. The negativity is like a disease, it just spreads and it makes people lose their confidence. I have seen discussions on Linkedin when candidates have simply given up because they have been passed from ‘pillar to post’, they’ve sent their CV’s off to thousands of potential jobs, both through agencies and direct employers and heard nothing. The frustration and desperation sees the candidates applying for jobs they simply do not have the relevant experience for, in the hope that somehow, they may ‘squeeze in’ there.

But doing this will not work.

If you are a job seeker, you need to play to your strengths and focus on the roles that you have the experience for, that is within your salary bracket and  you can do. Only focus on these and you’ll obviously have less immediate rejection. You’re wasting your time, the recruiter’s time, the direct employer’s time by sending your CV for a role that you have no chance of getting.

Spend time getting your CV right, write a cover letter and create a template email so you are saving on ‘post’. I hear of so many people who say they write in to direct employers with a copy of their CV. But not many people read this type of mail – They want a copy on email, so email it to them. If you haven’t got an email address, what do you do? The obvious… Look on the company website and if its not on there, pick up the phone and call them.

List each & every direct employer that you send your CV to (just create a simple Excel spreadsheet), add sections for ‘Replied’, ‘Rejected’, ‘Interview’ or ‘Future’ (ask the employers when they may be recruiting next). For those that reject you, send a ‘Thank You For Considering My Application’ email.

Make a ‘Prospect List’ of competitors within the industries you have worked in – Hey, employers are being more ‘sector specific’ than ever, we all know this. Then what? Call/Email/Follow Up. Be Persistent. They may not have a job today, but they may do next month. If an employer thinks you are ‘pestering’ them because you are asking if they have any suitable jobs for you, do you want to work for them anyway?

Oh – On the ‘timing’ of calling these companies – Do it at 8.30am til 9.00am, then lunch period and then after 5pm. Don’t call them at their busiest time of the day because that will frustrate them. Be Professional. Thank them for their time, but make sure you get that CV and cover letter/email over to them. Be upfront on your salary expectations and the type of role that you are seeking. You just come across as desperate if you are a HR Manager and the company says they have a HR Administrator role on and you say ‘I’ll apply for that’ (believe me, it happens). If you need the money as we all do, don’t go backwards in your typical job role, diversify into another area for a short period to get your financial stability back on track.

And when you get rejected/turned down/emails ignored/calls hung up on, what should you do? Be Positive!

It’s cliched, but make sure you are smiling when speaking to the direct employer, make sure you end the call on a positive note, thank them for their time, be polite and ensure you make ‘notes’ on your spreadsheet – The more organised you are, you will learn from your mistakes and it will help you later down the line. Remain positive at all times.

There’s no ‘right or wrong’ in finding a new job and how you do it, but if you become negative, it will ruin you. I’ve seen so many Linkedin members constantly ‘whinging and moaning’, its depressing to see and this negativity spreads because someone wants to get something out of their system and blame someone else instead of taking responsibility for their own actions.

Be Persistent. Be Professional & Be Positive.

It’ll work… eventually.


Steve Smithson – Managing Director

Talent Genius Ltd

Linkedin is a Tool… So Don’t be One Yourself

October 26, 2010 3 comments

Linkedin – It’s like Marmite, you love it or you hate it from my experiences with Linkedin members. Some do appreciate it’s value and some believe it’s the best Business ‘tool’ created.

With it being 2010 and much of the UK business-world embracing Social Media, you’d think that Linkedin would be one of the most effective social media out there. But I’ve come across many examples of ‘market-leading’ companies that think they use Linkedin to help them bring in new business/solidify relationships, when in fact, they are tarnishing their reputation.

Take this example, one of the UK’s real market-leaders (I will not mention the company by name out of courtesy). The business is a multi-million pound ‘sales machine’, bringing in excellent sales figures year after year. A quick look on Linkedin at their business profile and there isn’t even a web link on it (it’s recently been edited by an ‘Office Assistant’ – Why?). There are over 300+ employees of the business that have profiles on Linkedin that I can see through my network.

After looking at some of the profiles, many do not have the business name spelt correctly, with one small error showing that they are working for a company that now has a somewhat ‘rude name’. Many of the profiles are using the Linkedin/Twitter integration and it’s full of ‘personal’ updates, including references to football teams, rude jokes, ‘RT-ing’ links of articles from their competitors – Yes, that’s right, advertising links of their competitors…

And this is just the start… So many of the profiles do not have photos, many have company logos of previous employers, some belong to groups that have been set up by previous employers or competitors.

If you were the CEO/Managing Director of this business and you knew this was going on, would you be happy with it?

I doubt it very much.

But how do you start to take control? Do you develop a full ‘Social Media Policy’ for employees? Well, that would be a good start. Do you get a real Linkedin expert to come into your business and consult with you on how to use Linkedin? Yes… Absolutely. The cost for this would be nothing compared to what the return on investment or similarly, damage limitation would be.

So, what should you be looking at when developing your Linkedin strategy? What can you achieve?

  • Enhance your Professional Brand and Reputation
  • Reduce the risk of reputation damage
  • Devise your Company Social Media/Linkedin Strategy
  • Linkedin & Twitter Training: Beginner to Advanced
  • Recruitment Through Linkedin
  • Market Intelligence: Know Your Competition!
  • Online Blogging – Why? Who should do it?
  • Benefit from increased sources & volumes of relevant, engaged web traffic.

And this is just the start. If your business needs help with Linkedin, get Professional help & advice.

Today, I will speak with the CEO of the example above and highlight the misuse of Linkedin, it will be interesting to hear the response…


Steve Smithson – Managing Director

Talent Genius Ltd

Recruitment Agents Are Not All Evil. Part Two

October 20, 2010 10 comments

First of all, thanks for all the comments on ‘Part One’ of this part of the Talent Genius Ltd blog, looking at my WordPress stats, I see there were over 4,000 unique views in the first 24 hours, which is remarkable. Also, thanks for the comments on Linkedin as well. If you wish to connect with me on Linkedin, my profile can be found HERE

For this part of the blog, I’ll discuss the ‘reputation’ of Recruitment Consultants that I have come across on various Linkedin Group Discussions and I’ll address one of the issues…

So, I wake up at 7.00am and, luckily, I work from a home-based office, so I now don’t have to drive twenty miles in rush hour traffic each day, but when I turn on my PC, I open Outlook and see there’s 430 emails that have been sent to me from 10pm to 7am. Many of these emails are ‘CV Alerts’ from particular jobsites that I use. So, here is ‘Issue 1’ to look at – I’ve read several candidate experience’s and their interpretation of events/though processes on recruitment. One comment from an unhappy candidate of a Recruitment Agency (RA) read :

“All these RA’s just add fake jobs on job sites to fish for new CV’s, they have no interest in helping us get a job…”

Well, to inform you, RA’s with access to most job boards can set up ‘CV Alerts’ by using particular industries/job title/experience levels/keywords and these CV’s get sent directly to agencies. So there’s no ‘need’ to RA’s to simply ‘fish’ for new CV’s because if you are registered on the job board you saw the advert on, chances are the RA already has your CV. Job Adverts are primarily designed to attract new, relevant candidates, some of which may not be registered and only ‘passively’ looking for a role, so they see the job ad and then send in their CV themselves. It’s also these candidates who tend to be more ‘suitable’ for the roles as they have typically read the job ad properly and feel that they are generally a good ‘fit’.

Now, a typical job advert (and I’m basing this on my ads) will attract at least 100 applications in the first 48 hours. I’d addressed before that many of these applications are probably not suitable anyway, but these candidate’s that are not suitable DO waste the RA’s time. They tend to send their CV in several times, make several phone calls to the RA and look for the reason direct from the RA as to why they are not suitable.

Unfortunately, these candidates are actually taking valuable time away from the RA, who genuinely wants to find the best candidates for the role and wants to spend their time speaking/meeting/registering the candidates that they feel are more suitable. And remember, RA’s are essentially ‘paid to discriminate’ by their clients as the client only wants a shortlist based upon the brief they have given the RA. The RA wants to ‘fill the role’ so they can make money themselves… So they can pay their mortgages, have a social life, whatever they need money for.

What they do not want is to spend their valuable time explaining to unsuitable candidates why they are not suitable and for that candidate to then have a ‘rant’ online, with statements such as “How dare the RA tell me I’m not suitable, I have all the relevant experience”.

I’ll take a recent example I had, for a HR Business Partner Role.

“Hi Steve, I’ve sent you my CV for the HR Business Partner role in Birmingham.”

“Ok, let me look at your details, we try to contact suitable candidates in due course, but let me check…”

I then looked at the candidate’s CV, which was a very poorly laid out CV, full of spelling and grammatical errors, no email address, no telephone number and a silly email address similar to ‘genderbender69@…’ The CV had no reference to any previous experience as a HR Business Partner or within the industry of my client, who, despite my attempts to ensure that many skills were transferable, wanted someone from within their sector, for various reasons which were all understandable.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t think you are suitable for the HR Business Partner role, looking at your CV, you don’t have any relevant experience, your history is more L&D focused.”

“Excuse me, but I have lots of experience in a HR Business Partner role, it just wasn’t my job title and I haven’t put that on my CV…”

“Ok, fair enough, but your CV is your marketing tool, it’s what is there to benchmark you against the role and other candidates, if you don’t have the relevant experience on it, even if you do, I’m not to know. Would you mind revising your CV and adding on the relevant details of your similar role in the industry?”

“No, I don’t have time for that, can you not do that?”

“Sorry, no, we don’t falsify CV’s to suit roles and it’s important that you write the detail, etc as to ensure that you did the duties/tasks. If you can redo it and send it to me, I’ll take a good look and give you some feedback.”

“Well that’s just wrong, you’re telling me I don’t have the experience, who are you to say?

“Ok, that’s your opinion, but until you do this, I can’t consider your application any further.”

At this stage, I could’ve explained how I have worked in the HR industry for 12 years and so on, but I decided it would be best to politely terminate the call. I’m sure RA’s out there receive many similar calls, but it’s worth noting that I also saw this candidate have an online ‘rant’ against agencies and employers. Should the candidate have considered that these ‘online rants’ are visible to employers too and show a poor sense of judgement. If you were an employer and saw the candidate’s ‘online rant’, would you not question the motives and use that as part of a recruitment decision?

Candidates as much as RA’s need to ensure that they are not being overly negative when using social media because of its easy accessibility to potential employers/recruiters. The RA would see the candidate as a ‘high risk’ and not want to put the candidate forward for roles because their client relationship could be at risk too.

Food For Thought… Recruitment is a two way process from RA’s and Candidates and Candidates need to work hard to get the job too. Every RA I know works very hard to ensure that they do everything they can to help the candidates and as someone mentioned in the previous blog comments, recruitment is a ‘thankless job’. But hey, we are an important part of the process in ensuring the job market ‘bounces back’, so please, use us well and appreciate our hard work in securing you an interview and the interview preparation, don’t ‘blame’ us (unless we did do something wrong!).

Work with us and we, in return, will always work hard for you.


Steve Smithson

Managing Director

Talent Genius Ltd


Recruitment Agents Are Not All Evil. Part One

October 18, 2010 10 comments

There are many groups on Linkedin where all you will read is discussion after discussion on how people ‘hate’ Recruitment Agents (RA’s) and how RA’s do ‘nothing’ and never reply to calls or emails, how many add fake job adverts on the internet to attract candidates and so much more. Constant ‘RA’s are a waste of time’, etc.

It becomes tedious after discussion number 10 in a particular group (Webrecruit), where the Group clearly has an agenda to ensure that these ‘bad news items’ about RA’s get out into the public (as Webrecuit simple run a flat-rate internet recruitment solution, so they WANT people to not like RA’s). I even tried adding a post about supporting RA’s, but it got deleted and I messaged the group owner, who looks at my profile at least once a day, but doesn’t have the courtesy to reply.

Before working in Recruitment, I thought RA’s had it easy. It seemed like all they did was find a CV, get it over to me and I then paid a fee to them. All the RA’s I knew were making £100k+ a year, worked 14 hour days, then 6 hours in the pub, then 4 hours sleep. I moved into recruitment and the reality is very different, especially when I moved into recruitment during a recession. RA’s I knew still worked very long days, making calls to candidates at 7.30am and then again at 7.30pm, meeting 5 candidates a day, interviewing them, then making 50+ cold calls to businesses to see if they were recruiting, etc and 49 of those calls getting a simple  ‘Piss Off!’ from the prospect.

Then the RA’s go home, but they are still ‘on call’ and candidates are calling them at 9pm, 10pm, emailing them even later and expecting a reply asap to help them get a job. Then candidates send an email advising they can’t make an interview (that the RA hs worked VERY hard to get for them in the first place).

The RA then goes into work, turns their PC on and there’s 200 new CV’s overnight from one job ad, lets say for a HR Manager in Manchester. About 20 of the CV’s are from Poland, Nigeria or India. Then 50 or so are from candidates who have never worked in a HR dept, but have ‘sat in a few disciplinaries’. Then there’s, say, 100 candidates left. Most of them are a waste of time, there’s the candidate who knows its a full-time position being advertised, but wants part-time hours and wants to work Monday Afternoon and Wednesday only. But still wants to be put forward so more time can be wasted. Then several candidates make phone calls into the office, usually when they wake up at about 11am and they ‘want to know more about the job’, but the RA won’t reveal anything til they send in a CV.

“I sent my CV last night to you, have you not read it yet? My God, you RA’s are rubbish!”

“Sorry, I have had 200+ applications for the role, I’ve not had time to go through each of them, because all our candidates expect 5-10 minute phone calls, explaining whey they are not suitable for the job. And in that time, my competitor has not replied to the emails or made phone calls to every none-relevant candidate who expects reply. They’ve also got 3 ideal candidates, 1 already registered with them and 2 who I may also have the CV of, but haven’t had a chance to ring them yet because of the Nigerian Fork-Lift Truck driver, who has now sent his CV 33 times to me. Oh, my competitor has two interviews set up as well already.”

“So… Why am I not suitable for the role?” asked the angry candidate.

“Sorry, I haven’t read over your CV just yet, I’ve been working for hours without any break and your CV is a mess, it’s formatted all wrong, there’s spelling mistakes galore and your email address is ‘’. Oh and you were previously an electrician, not a HR Manager, I’m afraid you won’t be suitable for the role.”

‘Well, thanks for wasting my time then you stupid RA!” exclaims the candidate.

The RA then rests his head in his arms, shaking in disbelief. Then the phone rings again, this time, it’s ‘Shirley’ and Shirley is a Cook, but she has read a book about HR, is immediately available and wants nothing less than £45k…