Medical Recruitment in Ireland is going through some changes at the moment. The economic disaster that the country is plunging into is not hitting Medical and Healthcare sectors with the same veracity as it is with other areas like Finance.
That is not to say that Medical companies are not feeling the effects of the change in economic climate. We have seen some “rationalisations” taking place. HSE pay looks a bit uncertain along with the rest of the public sector. Medical Recruitment has slowed down in a few areas but fluctuations are not yet outside normal variances when you take the sector as a whole.
One of the outcomes of the medical sector remaining more buoyant is that recruitment agencies that previously specialised in other areas are now doing their best to get into medical recruitment. In some ways it is amusing to see a company that specialised in Catering for example, now specialising in Catering and Medical Recruitment. The reasons for the shift is plain. Recruitment agencies are shutting down. 25% of recruitment consultants employed in 2007 are now working in other jobs if they are working at all. Shifting to better markets is vital for some recruitment agencies survival.
There is a downside to this shift though. I could decide to be a Financial Recruiter tomorrow. The trouble is that I wouldn’t be a very good financial recruiter. I am a medical recruiter because my background is medical. I understand the industry. I know what my clients are looking for and I know what to look out for in my candidates. I do not have to rely on flinging out as many CV’s as I can find in the hopes that one of them is right. I only send out a few well targeted CV’s of people that I know stand a good chance of getting the job. This works well for both the Client hiring companies and my job seeking candidates. From the candidates point of view, I am not going to waste their time with jobs that they will not be suitable for. If I get them an interview it will be because they are right for the job. I will have conviction in their abilities and suitability which will help me to sell them to the Client company.
From the Client companies perspective they are not being deluged with a lot of CV’s, a lot of which are not suitable or barely suitable. This cuts down the work load of the HR staff in the client company. It also gives me a competitive advantage over other medical recruitment agencies that do not rigorously screen their candidates: The client companies tend to pay more attention to my CV’s because they know they are likely to be what they are looking for.
The bottom line is that my knowledge allows me to provide a better service than my competitors.
For a recruitment agency to make the switch into medical recruitment, there are inevitably one or two pitfalls. They can either try to recruit themselves in an area they don’t know well and therefor provide a less than perfect service, or they can take on new personnel with the right background. There are a finite number of Medical recruitment consultants in the country so it is most likely that they will have to hire somebody without any recruitment/commercial experience. These people will be able to communicate well with their peers but will have a tough learning curve on the recruitment process.
Every recruitment consultant needs to be aware of the legalities of their job and best practice policies. Unfortunately training is often one of the first casualties in times of economic downturn. This is false economy.
Our consultants undergo both internal and external training in general recruitment and their specialist areas. The cost of training pays for itself. A recruitment consultant, and particularly a Medical Recruitment consultant needs to be an expert on the industry. We have to be able to advise both clients and candidates armed with enough knowledge to allow them to make life changing decisions.
Competition is vital to business. It keeps companies healthy by forcing better standards. Unfortunately the recent trend towards companies from other sectors entering medical recruitment is likely to result in some poor performances. I am sure that this will not be the case in all instances. To those recruitment agencies who make the transition while maintaining standards: Welcome to the market. We will enjoy the competition!