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Volume recruiters knowingly hire the wrong people, claims new study

Volume recruiters knowingly hire the wrong people, claims new study

More than a third of volume recruiters knowingly hire unsuitable candidates for frontline roles, according to a new study by assessment specialist Talent Q, which exposes the inadequacies of many selection processes in high volume recruitment.

Talent Q questioned 102 UK organisations that hire 200 frontline staff each year in sales and customer support roles, including retail, service and hospitality companies. It found that a 'vicious circle' exists in high volume recruitment, in which poor selection practices lead to unsuitable candidates being appointed their expectations of the job do not match the reality of the role so they soon leave, creating annual attrition rates of 20-50 percent the circle then starts again, as the employer seeks to hire replacement staff.

The study reveals that 37% of volume recruiters are fully aware that they are hiring the wrong people for frontline positions. 12% of employers are managing 50,001-100,000 applications per year for frontline roles 45% receive 51-100 applications per role. Only 51% use ability tests to help select the right candidates only 47% conduct structured interviews.

"Some volume recruiters compromise on the quality of hire, when it comes to frontline positions, because they are under pressure to fill the roles quickly," said Steve O’Dell, Managing Director, UK, of Talent Q. "Many are caught in a vicious circle of constant recruitment because they are not describing their available frontline roles with sufficient accuracy. As a result, they’re being swamped with applications. They don’t know what traits they should be looking for in applicants and half of them are not assessing candidates for the skills required in the role. They need to break out of this circle."

The study shows that 60% of companies with large numbers of frontline staff have an annual attrition rate of more than 20 percent. 32% experience 31-50 percent staff turnover in frontline roles each year. Talent Q estimates that a 'typical' volume recruiter will spend more than &pound2.8m per year just to recruit for its frontline roles.

"The problem here isn't just the resultant cost, it is also the wider business implications," said Steve O’Dell. "A high level of staff turnover causes untold disruption, it damages the morale of the remaining staff, puts increased pressure on managers and it can adversely affect your employer brand. Worse still, customers will invariably receive bad service if the wrong people are recruited into frontline roles."

The study concludes that attrition rates can be reduced in volume recruitment if selection processes are improved, to allow the right people to be hired at the outset. Talent Q offers four recommendations for volume recruiters: match up the key requirements of the role with a candidate's competencies use realistic job previews and situational judgement tests for frontline roles to ensure that the expectations of new recruits match the reality of the job. Recruiters also need to introduce objective and fair selection methods that can be replicated in every location - and they have to ensure that the entire recruitment process is engaging for candidates.

The great challenge with volume recruitment is always to sift out unsuitable candidates to find the needles in the haystack", said Steve O’Dell. "Once you appoint the right people, it's likely that they'll perform better, they'll stay longer, they'll be more engaged, your customers will be happier, your recruitment costs will reduce and your bottom line will improve."

A free report on the study findings, called 'The vicious circle of volume recruitment', can be downloaded from Talent Q's website For further information, please call Talent Q on 44 (0)1844 218980.


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