Solution Firms - Bridging the Gap

17 February 2014

Recruitment plays a very crucial role in any organisation and basically serves to attract, screen, select and hire qualified candidates for a specific role available within an organisation. For this process to be carried out successfully a lot of time and money is required, therefore it becomes more expensive to hire unqualified candidates than training qualified candidates.

Recruitment forms part of the human capital function, which in itself has many aspects to it. Employers often find it better to focus more on their core business requirements, while the critical human aspect of conducting employee searching and candidate profiling are assigned to recruitment agencies, sometimes called staffing agencies, because they solely focus on the entire recruitment process and the consultants are trained in their field of expertise. I like referring to them as "solutions firms" because we as consultants, at the end of the day, we need to provide solutions to our client's problems.

There are different types of solutions firms. Some niche in one industry, whether it be Finance, IT or whatever the case may be, and some are generalists. In the case of generalist firms, what normally happens is that there will be different consultants who specialize in the areas that the firm provides solutions for. It is of paramount importance that consultants fully comprehend the client's needs, so that the recruitment process can be facilitated quickly and cost effectively. However, every firm has its unique formula for sourcing talent and matching that talent to a job specification, but the basic objectives are shared by most solutions firms.

In most cases, the firm already has an established relationship with the hiring company, so the solutions firm serves as a mediator between the candidate and the hiring company. The recruiters assist in bridging the gap between the hiring company and top calibre candidates in a manner that is profitable to all parties involved, while providing a valuable resource to the hiring company. This is very beneficial to the job seeker because it creates a platform which allows more direct personal attention to whatever it is that he or she may desire for his/her next career move as well as their abilities and weaknesses. When these weaknesses are identified, highly qualified recruitment consultants are able to coach the candidates on better ways to phrase their weaknesses and turn them into strengths before meeting with the hiring company so to increase the chances of being hired.

Like any organisation, there needs to be a governing body in place. Solutions firms are governed by APSO which was founded in 1977. For an organisation to be part of APSO, certain criteria's need to be met before membership can be granted, these include legal compliance, professional standards of operation, fair labour practice and adherence to the APSO code of ethics, to mention but a few.

The APSO code of ethics prescribes the minimum levels of service required by APSO and must be given to clients, candidates and other stakeholders, This code gives clear guidelines on search and selection recruitment practices reference checking interviewing to mention but a few.

APSO serves to uplift and professionalize the recruitment industry in South Africa by providing training and professional development. It promotes and ensures both the benefit of the client and the candidate, while adhering to high ethical and professional standards of business. Nowadays most clients opt to make use of solutions firms that are members of APSO.

One cannot expect to fully make use of any consultant or solutions firm unless they fully comprehend the firm's objectives and processes.

Mbali Msibi

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