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The rise of specialised recruitment

Josef Said, managing director and Hazel Sultana, head of operations at Konnekt, outline the developments within the recruitment sector.

Direct recruitment can be a burden to businesses. What is the role of a recruitment company in helping organisations find the right staff for the right roles?

Recruitment agencies have a multiple role to play in supporting organisations with their recruitment needs. Being focused strictly on recruitment, agencies have the expertise to identify the best candidate profiles in terms of technical and behavioural competencies. At Konnekt we are obsessed with quality and we filter only the best matches for any particular position. Also, agencies manage the volumes, thanks to structured and efficient systems used to organise communication with candidates throughout the recruitment process.

Candidates too find it a burden to find the right opportunity. Candidates, both local and foreign, often look to agencies for guidance on what options they have, based on their skills, expertise and qualifications.

Agencies can also identify talent for companies and jobs for people. This is often a result of them having a deep understanding of who their clients are. It is not uncommon that they help candidates find unadvertised jobs or help companies identify passive talent.

Given the central role agencies have, has your business expanded?

In 2012 the team consisted of six persons and today we are 28. In fact, Konnekt is Malta’s largest recruitment agency, as classified by headcount (source: Linkedin employees based in Malta).

Our growth has been primarily fuelled by our unorthodox way of running an agency. In a sector dominated by sales people we are totally customer centric and by this we mean we advise on what is best for the company and candidate. Furthermore we don’t pay commissions to team members.

When outsourcing staffing to recruitment companies, do organisations still maintain control of who to employ?

More than an issue of control, it is about who best to employ for a particular role. The suitability of a candidate in terms of the requirements of a job is the primary motivator in selecting the right candidate. The recruitment process is a collaborative one between the business and the agency. It is ultimately the company’s decision who to employ – however agencies have a valid part to play in the process as often they would have supplementary information beyond the interview and CV.

How are recruitment companies perceived in the local business scenario?

Based on a study that Konnekt ran recently among businesses based in Malta, recruitment companies are considered to be one of the main channels for sourcing future employees. In fact, when looking for their next employee, just under 50 per cent of respondent businesses claimed that they generally approach recruitment agencies while simultaneously carrying out their own recruitment drive. The quality of candidates chosen (56 per cent) and the efficiency with which they are chosen (54 per cent) were the two most important attributes mentioned in the choice of recruitment agency. The recruiter’s knowledge of the job and the industry (30 per cent) was also highly important when choosing a recruitment agency to work with.

This study was carried out by market research company Esprimi by means of online and telephone interviewing, among 119 businesses in Malta. Respondent companies ranged from those employing from two to more than 500 employees. Respondents included mostly individuals in senior management or business owners.

What other findings did your study show?

Respondents also showed an inclination towards specialist recruitment agencies: 58 per cent of them are likely to resort to a specialist recruitment agency (one which specialises and focuses on a specific industry) rather than a generalist one. Earlier this year Konnekt set up specialised teams for recruitment solutions within the finance and legal and IT and gaming industries, driven by the increase in demand for expert selection in these sectors. However, Konnekt has also retained its generalist recruitment arm, handling a broader range of positions in manufacturing, engineering, human resources, marketing, digital media, administration, sales and business development.

Interestingly, the study also showed that although advertising channels have evolved into the online sphere, they still run in tandem with the more traditional press advertising.

Do you handle the entire recruiting process?

Apart from managing the whole recruitment drive from a technical perspective, we play an active part in getting to know each organisation intimately, liaising closely with key persons to ensure a relationship based on collaboration rather than that of customer-supplier. Our process in fact encompasses initial and regular follow-up meetings throughout the lifecycle of each recruitment project. We consider constant communication with the client to be of utmost importance, even after a candidate has been successfully placed.

Because we believe in the quality of service that Konnekt provides, we also offer a full 100 day money back guarantee, where clients can actually claim back the fees due should the person not be the right fit to the organisation.

What is the deciding factor between sourcing local and international candidates?

This depends on the requirements of each role. A situation which we are encountering often is companies attracting talent from abroad to fill local vacancies. Employers are resorting to looking for talent outside of Malta, in some cases extending the search outside the European Union, due either to lack of skill or lack of supply locally.

Moreover we have recently seen an influx of foreign candidates approaching us for opportunities in Malta. In the last 12 months the percentage of foreign candidates on our database increased significantly. Our assessment is based purely on finding the right talent for each particular position, regardless of nationality and country of residence. Needless to say, we supplement our assessment process when dealing with foreign candidates in order to understand the motivations and expectations behind moving to a new country.

Do you also offer other related services?

We offer a full service to connect companies to the best talent. Apart from the classic talent search where we source and select the right person for the job and company culture, we also provide supplementary services. These include recruitment campaign advertising, psychometric assessments, payroll, HR out-sourcing and training in recruitment.

Konnekt is also affiliated with a number of other tools which provide insight and make recruitment simpler and quicker for companies.

These include payrollmalta.com, salariesinmalta.com, jobsinmalta.com and careerpassport.co.uk.

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