Guest Post from Colin Harris of VIP Recruitment

Now let me preface this with a very clear statement – these views are completely my own and in no way do I consider myself to be the overall expert on the subject, but after 15 years working in the sector, I do feel that what I have learned is valid and I would like to share a few thoughts and concerns with you here.

Recruitment has changed exponentially in the short 15 years that I have worked in the industry and unfortunately, I can’t say it is all for the better. Don’t get me wrong, advancements in technology when used in conjunction with “old school” methods “such as actually talking to candidates” are great and do make a big difference, but this simplicity of personal contact cannot be forgotten. We are turning to a world of data analytics where we allow a computer program to decide if a person should pass the initial screening process, which of course may work some of the time, but we are also missing out on incredibly talented candidates by not taking the time to learn who the person is behind the CV.

Company culture has become a key factor in talent selection, and hiring people that align to your company’s values is so important; the phrase “hire for attitude, train for skill” really strikes a chord. But how do we know that we aren’t missing out on such individuals unless we actually take the time to speak to candidates in person?

As a recruitment agency, it is our job to find the best candidates that are both capable of doing the job and fit within our client’s organisation. Yet every day I hear of agencies just firing CV’s over to companies without meeting candidates and, even scarier, without ever having even spoken with them. Using a recruitment agency is not cheap and those who do the job properly offer a complete service and as such offer value for money. But those that take all these shortcuts are ruining the credibility of the industry and unfortunately, we are already skating on thin ice. We have a duty of care to both candidates and clients and the only way we can ensure this is by getting to know both parties. How can I tell a candidate that my client is “a great company to work for” if I have not been in their offices and spoken with their current staff and seen the business for myself? And in turn, how can I tell a client that “I have an excellent candidate” when all I have done is scan the CV for 2 minutes and conducted a basic 5-minute screening call?

The answer is I can’t and I will not. If a potential new client is not willing to meet with me then I’m sorry I cannot help you, as I would be doing you and any candidates I have a disservice. In the same boat, if a candidate cannot take some time to meet with me, (I do travel to meet candidates if necessary, so no excuse there), then how can I confidently represent that candidate to my clients whom I value?

The argument that it is not possible for some large multinationals to review every CV in person that they receive should be refuted by one simple point; if people are a company’s most valuable asset, then how can you afford to miss out on that one candidate that may just be the person who could make the difference between your company’s success or failure? Yes, that one right person can make a massive difference…

I know I am not the only recruitment consultant that thinks this way and there are some who are amazing at what they do, but unfortunately it is not the majority. When consultants are managed with strict KPI’s and rewarded with a commission structure that pushes them to be ruthless killers, what do we expect? Some are scared to think outside the box and perhaps try to fit the square peg in the round hole. We hear a lot about adaptability so why don’t we have the relationships with clients to allow us to ask those questions, to break from the norm and perhaps make a big difference in someone’s life, all while benefiting the company they work with?

A number of years ago I watched a movie – Jerry Maguire – and while it’s not the most thought provoking movie of all time, it really stirred something in me and was something to which I could relate. In the beginning of the movie, Jerry has an epiphany and decides to write a mission statement; here is an excerpt from the first few pages which really stands true to me:

“The answer is fewer clients. Less dancing. More truth. We must crack open the tightly clenched fist of commerce and give a little back for the greater good. Eventually revenues will be the same, and that goodness will be infectious. We will have taken our number oneness and turned it into something greater. And eventually smaller will become bigger, in every way, and especially in our hearts.

Forget the dance.


Learn who these people are. That is the stuff of your relationship. That is what will matter. It is inevitable, at our current size, to keep many athletes from leaving anyway. People always respond best to personal attention, it is the simplest and easiest truth to forget.

Love the job. Be the job.

The phone calls will still come in at 2 AM, but on the other end of that phone at 2 AM will be someone deserving of your time, and you will be honored to share their time. And that will be what the road to greatness feels like. A little rocky at first. But think how good it will feel to wake up in the morning and know that when the phone rings, it is not Client X demanding the tapdance. It will be Client K, whose life we know and share in.

Let us be honest with ourselves.

Let us be honest with them.

Forget the dance.


In building VIP Recruitment, I’ve had my own epiphany about the type of firm I want to create and the relationship I want my clients to expect when working with me. Sadly, life throws us all curveballs and the past 4 months have proven quite challenging as my father-in-law became quite ill and recently passed away. It’s made it challenging to keep on top of a young business, but it’s also reinforced my commitment to these values I’ve touched on above – having conversations, building long term relationships, and truly putting people first.

I would like to meet with both candidates looking for the next step in their career and companies who want to find the best candidates. The only condition I have is that you want to commit to working together, to be honest and upfront and to be open to change.

If you or anyone you know could be interested, then please get in touch directly or pass on my contact details which are as follows.

Email – [email protected]

Mobile / WhatsApp – +353-89-4695983

LinkedIn –

Website –

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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