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Never Mind the Quality?

Never Mind the Quality ?


So currently one of the key projects on my desk is the development of our Quality Management System as we take Inward Revenue towards ISO9001:2008 accreditation and also towards the highly coveted “audited” award from the industries non compulsory governing body the recruitment and employment confederation. A question that a lot of people have asked is why are we doing it? We don’t have to do it. It costs a lot of money. We are a small business and to be fair there is an enormous eye-watering administrative burden to both.

I thought I would give you an answer.

I have a theory and that theory is that the recruitment industry is in a dark dark place that in the fullness of time will only get darker. Many years ago a colleague of mine told our then MD that one day “all the CV’s will be on the internet and we will develop a perfectly competitive market and the price of our service will drop radically. Our MD at the time told him not to be so stupid.”

And here we are not much more than a decade later and the world is a very different place. the CV’s are all online to all intents and purposes but some of us recruiters are still surviving and in fact some of us are thriving. Inward revenue are doing OK, in fact the challenge that keeps me awake the most at night is more about where I am going to source further employees from than how we are going to beat competitor X or find a solution for client Y.

So why go through the bother of ISO9001? Because clients and candidates matter to us and because we are very aware of the importance and significance of what we do in the lives of our clients and candidates. Our advice, our analysis and our understanding of a problem can be the difference between a job working or not. It can be the difference between a company surpassing its numbers and expanding aggressively thus creating jobs or a company not quite hitting target and consolidating and making redundancies. The impact of what we do and say is vast and the responsibility on our industry is even larger. Whilst in essence yes, we provide an introductory recruitment service and the onus of responsibility is on the client to make a hiring decision we want the introductions that we make to be as considered as they can be EVERY time. To do that quality needs to pervade every facet of what we do and touch and the experience that clients and candidates have whilst working with us must be better than any other. Of most significant importance is the need for constant and never ending improvement of what we do and how we do it in an analytical and systemic way. The easy thing to do is to be a “CV Reseller” like everyone else. There is plenty of profit to be made in that business by getting in between the client and the candidate in order to charge a fee and to be fair staff need less training and the business model is infinitely more scale-able. We can’t do that though. In a world where anyone can theoretically find themselves a salesman online the only way we’ll be able to command our premium price is via a premium quality service that delivers results, time saving and great candidates to our clients and great clients to our candidates via a better service than they can get elsewhere. The implementation of stringent quality management above and beyond that which we already have will keep us there and beyond.

So why bother with the recruitment and employment confederation? Our industry isn’t legally regulated.In fact anyone, literally ANYONE can open a recruitment business tomorrow morning and purport to be an expert in whichever area of recruitment they operate in. We don’t have to be members let alone have them come and audit our business (WE have to pay THEM!) and we could just crack on if we choose. And i think that’s the point.

I’ll explain. Our industry is sadly made up of a few good suppliers and others who frankly are disgusting charlatans. I could tell you stories that would make your hair stand on end. Let’s face it, everyone has a recruitment consultant “Horror story” that they can recount at a dinner party. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lawyer or a doctor or a salesman or a care assistant. Everyone has dealt with an ignorant , arrogant obnoxious pompous recruitment consultant. In fact I’m ashamed to admit that in another life I was allowed to be and allowed myself to be that person. Our joining of the REC and journey towards their audited award is our promise to our clients and candidates that we subscribe to the highest level of ethical behaviour, professionalism and industry best practice. It’s our promise that that matters to us culturally and that our clients and candidates are people and that we impact their lives with our work, our analysis and capacity to do the job well or not.

Most importantly there’s one more reason why.

I’m getting old.

I want to sell this business in ten years time.

Michael and I make no attempt to hide the fact that our dream is to have the people that work for us MBO the business in the fullness of time as a reward for them having joined us on our journey to build it. To do that we must have a business that is as polished , slick and valuable as possible so yes quality matters to us. Process matters to us. Providing our clients and candidates with the same great quality of service time and time again matters to us. We want people who themselves are ethical and professional and who care about clients and candidates to want to come and work in our high quality environment.

Is that such a bad thing?


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