Dave talks to… Richard Essex – Talent Matters Podcast

Essential Employ

Dave Jenkins talks to Richard Essex about the ever-evolving nature of successful recruitment, the vital importance of the candidate experience, how seamless integrations are key to an outstanding recruitment stack, why communication will bring rewards, whatever the market, and What Richard is most looking forward to in his new role as Wave CRO.

The One Where They Talk About…

In Episode 6, Wave CEO Dave Jenkins talks to industry legend and newly appointed Waver Richard Essex.

Richard joins Wave as Chief Revenue Officer and will be using the huge bank of knowledge gained during his decades of experience in the recruitment space to help steer us as we navigate a journey of huge growth. Richard has experienced recruitment from both sides, having started out as a successful recruiter before moving into recruitment technology. He worked at Broadbean for 12 years, before joining cloud-based communications company CloudCall and then job board builders JOBIQO.

Richard chats to Dave about how recruitment has evolved over the past two decades, the pain points of the modern recruiter, how recruitment technology can help, the importance of building the right tech stack, how recruiters can continue to be successful during turbulent times, and offers a few insights into his new role as Wave’s CRO.

We highly recommend listening to the full podcast for the breadth of advice Richard offers but in the meantime we’ve compiled the key points for a quick read.

Recruitment is ever-evolving – and we all need to keep up!

Recruitment is a tough gig. It always has been but in a candidate-driven market, with thousands of other recruitment agencies out there all competing to find and place the most talented candidates, it’s tougher than it’s ever been. The key is to evolve to survive and thrive. Many recruitment agencies are diversifying their businesses by making the most of the myriad ways of making money from different recruitment processes out there, whether that’s RPO, managed services, contingency, and so on.

You’ve got to do more, offer more to survive, and understanding and utilising all the different ways of placing candidates in a job isn’t easy. It’s a minefield and always will be as recruitment is such a competitive industry. But for those that do evolve, diversify, adapt, it’s also an incredibly rewarding and lucrative industry.

A candidate-driven market necessitates an improved candidate experience

The market we are currently in is 100% candidate-driven and yet candidates can still have a hard time applying for jobs. The candidate experience can be pretty shocking. 20 years ago candidates were filling out lengthy application forms and not much has changed today, despite the huge advances in technology. All that differs now is that those long forms are on application tracking systems on recruitment websites and career sites. So what’s the tech actually doing? How is it helping? Commerce does it right and Amazon is a great example of this – everything on those websites is set up to make things easy for their customers. It’s why people use Amazon.

The reality is that recruitment technology can massively help the entire candidate journey if used in the right way. Quick apply, easy to upload CV functions, straightforward forms, and using the tech to make it easier to get back to candidates. And the latter point is key – speaking to candidates immediately improves the entire experience. Use the tech you have to provide a quality experience. Over the years the focus has been on volume activity rather than quality activity but using tech for better searching and better candidate profiling is what is needed.

Good integrations are key to a successful tech stack

It seems that there is a piece of recruitment technology for every possible stage of the process and each one is trying to talk to the next piece of technology, which it may not be set up to do. It can sometimes feel like we are over-complicating something that shouldn’t be complicated. Ultimately, technology is supposed to help make things easier, more straightforward, less complicated. What lis vital is that the layers of tech (your tech stack) are working with each other. There are technologies that can complicate, largely due to a lack of compatibility, but using the right stack, with the right compatibility, will always be of benefit.

Any recruitment agency that can measure the performance of its recruiters or the performance of the job boards and other channels they’re using will have an advantage –

whoever has the best data will win the race. The good news is there are more jobs than ever before in history and jobs that haven’t even been invented yet will come to market in the next 5-10 years, many driven by tech. Skills shortages will be the major challenge but that is where using candidate attraction technologies and really working on building the right tech stack will make all the difference.

Whatever the market, first-class communication will win you candidates and clients

If you only ever listened to the news you’d think we were all doomed. The world constantly spends time listening to bad news. There are undoubtedly many challenges right now – the cost of living crisis, the war in Ukraine, it’s tough out there. However, people are fluid and learning how to deal with different situations is so important. At the end of the day, people are still getting new jobs every day, the unemployment rate is as low as it has been since the early ‘70s. There are always ups and downs in the economy and in the world of recruitment.

Following the austerity measures of 2008, we did more deals at Broadbean than ever before, it was an incredibly successful time. Ultimately, you’ve got to get on the phone and speak to the people you need to speak to. Speak to candidates and employers, build networks and trust. People will always be out there making money so be good at what you do and you will keep getting jobs and keep finding candidates. Use all the avenues and all the tech available to you – develop a first-class recruitment website, use a CV database search, look at how you’re posting jobs. And get advice.

What I’m most looking forward to in my new role as Wave CRO…

It may sound like a cliché but I thrive on getting out there and helping people. I can’t wait to speak to the market and hear about what our partners and clients are doing. I’m in this job to impart my knowledge and help clients to work in a better, happier way, to educate, teach and train. If we can simplify the process, make it easier and more efficient, help recruiters to get back to recruitment, to do the people part, the finding candidates, talking to them, nurturing them and placing them in great jobs, that’s exactly what we’re here for. Our entire ethos is to make the recruitment process more seamless, to reduce time to placement. And I can’t wait to get stuck in!

Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming Talent Matters podcasts where you can expect more insights and advice from an incredibly diverse line-up of figures from the world of recruitment. Next up… Dave chats to the CEO of Totaljobs, Jon Wilson. One not to be missed!