What’s An Expert Worth To You?

Research has consistently shown that experts are not born, but made – but what is recruitment expertise? And why should you invest in  recruitment experts to support your business’ search for the best talent? We’re going to dive into that here…

Has Recruitment Automation Harmed the Recruitment Expert?
There is an argument that experience alone does not make an expert: it is a combination of many factors, “people who build their abilities and become experts spend a great deal of time engaged in either deliberate practice or purposeful practice”*.

Undoubtedly, automation is a reality in part of the market; it can reduce time to hire by saving recruiters the hours spent manually reading CVs, chatbots are intended to enhance the candidate experience by providing sustained, real-time feedback and interview tech can improve job fit by analysing candidate interviews.

However, automation does not replace the recruitment expert. Yes, it potentially has a role to play, especially for volume roles, but as Justin Sleep, Managing Partner at Vocative, explains “specialist roles will always need an expert. I’ve seen the move to automation across my years in the business, but talent acquisition is people focused. Automation technology struggles to read between the lines and see the nuance of an experienced candidate’s capabilities.”

The Role of the Recruitment Expert
How, then, can you tell when you’re dealing with a genuine expert? Real expertise must pass two tests. First, it must lead to performance that is consistently superior to that of the expert’s peers. Secondly, real expertise produces concrete results.

An expert recruiter will be confident in their decisions and provide transparency throughout the recruitment process. Their role will not just be about the quality and size of their talent pool but also about their ability to handle client expectations. Recruitment processes can often be opaque, and to combat that Vocative has built Transparent Search. This service ensures that clients can see the entire talent pipeline from beginning to end.

Transparent Search has become a key way of creating trust between Vocative and its clients because it helps eliminate any anxieties they might have that the market is not being fully exhausted. By being transparent the Vocative team can explain all decisions made in the pooling process. 

The Power of No
Alastair Hacking, Vocative Managing Partner, states “In my recruitment career, understanding client expectations has been critical to successful candidate placement. Often, one of the most challenging details of briefing a client is saying no.”

A true expert can say no. They will be confident to say when a role is ill defined, too junior,  or when the salary is too low. If the role is particularly niche, they may also recommend widening the search criteria. 

The role of the recruitment expert is in knowing and understanding the market, being in tune with client needs, asking the right questions and ultimately finding the right candidate for your business. According to LinkedIn’s own data, 60% of talent acquisition leaders say that quality of hire is their most important KPI…is that not worth engaging with an expert?

Talk to Vocative about Transparent Search and/or to discuss your recruitment needs by emailing contact@vocative.co.uk

Other references used:

10000 hours: Is it true that 10K hours makes you an expert?


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What our Clients & Candidates Say

  • VP People

    Justin and I have worked very closely on a number of particularly challenging and complex campaigns. As a business woman I appreciate the work he puts into the twin perils of senior level recruitment - 1. sourcing quality candidates and 2. ensuring he keeps them interested in our opportunity through what is nearly always a 'long and winding road'! As a person I appreciate Justin's candour, sharp observations and his sense of humour. Through what are often fairly knotty propositions, we have fun and get the job done.

    - VP People

  • Recruitment Director

    Alastair is extremely client focused and always looking for the win-win in every situation. He has considerable experience delivering complex Exec Search, MSP and recruitment campaigns in both the private and public sector. He has exceptional stakeholder management skills, and is an all-round good bloke!

    - Recruitment Director

  • Programme Manager, Client and Contractor

    I have worked with Alastair as both a client and a customer. As a client the service he provided was A1, he listened to my requirements and carefully vetted candidates to ensure they met my needs. He provided great information regarding candidate types and salaries and helped address any concerns I had about individual interviewees. As a customer, he gave me relevant information about the role and ensured I was briefed sufficiently to interview effectively. He sorted contract issues and gave me honest and sage advice. I whole heartedly recommend Alastair and will definitely be using his services again.

    - Programme Manager, Client and Contractor

  • Interim CTO

    Alastair has been easy to work with, professional in what he does and very much on the ball when it comes to placements. I would recommend working with Alastair and look forward to doing so again myself in the not to distant future.

    - Interim CTO

  • CTO candidate

    Alastair demonstrates the perfect mix of a professional and personable approach to drive successful outcomes for both clients and applicants. He spends quality time in understanding the challenge and provides excellent support with a real attention to detail. As a result is he perfectly suited to help navigate complex recruitment scenarios whilst building trusted and long term relationships. An absolute pleasure to deal with!

    - CTO candidate

  • Client (Head of IT)

    I can't say that I enjoy dealing with Recruiters but Justin changed my opinion - honest, follows the client's lead, does the hard work and not a pressure merchant. Will use him again when I need to recruit.

    - Client (Head of IT)

  • Candidate – Placed as Senior Java Developer – Investment Banking, Zurich

    Justin was far more professional than any other headhunter I've worked with.

    - Candidate – Placed as Senior Java Developer – Investment Banking, Zurich

  • HR Director

    Alastair was introduced to us as we had a senior recruitment need. I was really impressed with the time Alastair spent getting to know our business and our culture so that he understood the uniqueness of what we do. This was a new role to us and it was important to get it right. Alastair was able to balance ours and the candidates needs and worked with us not for us which is where other recruiters, I think, go wrong. I felt in control of the process from beginning to end and nothing was too much trouble. I would recommend without hesitation.

    - HR Director

  • Contractor – placed as Project Manager

    The terms under which Justin worked very hard to ensure that my weekly timesheets were processed so quickly, far surpasses all of the other agencies that I have worked for in the last 25years – top marks!

    - Contractor – placed as Project Manager

  • Client (CIO)

    Having worked with Justin on a number of assignments both at my current organisation and a number of those that I have worked at over the past few years I am please to recommend him and his organisation as an excellent provider of quality candidates to fulfil your entire IT sourcing needs. Justin becomes an extension to your organisation when seeking new talent on both a contract and permanent basis as takes the time to understand your organisations workings before searching for and matching the skills you need. Justin balances the technical, cultural and interpersonal skills of each candidates so the fit your requirements very closely and prepares each candidate before they even walk through your door so they have the best possible chance when faced with attending an interview. Justin fast tracks the process of hiring new staff by only putting forward the right sort of candidates first time so you don’t need to go through hundreds of interviews before finding a shortlist of possible candidates that fit.

    - Client (CIO)