Interim recruitment - flirting with the short-term

Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 by Venn GroupNo comments

For us millennials, the short-term is supposedly the new black. We live in a world where people just don’t commit to playing the long game; we buy cars on finance to avoid the pains of saving up; we use bicycle-based delivery services to bring us burgers and crepes; we lose weight by yo-yoing between boot camp and binge. Being the industry for the young, recruitment may well be the epitome of this millennial world. Being a recruitment consultancy devoted to interim work and short-term contracts, Venn Group may well be the epitome of the epitome.

In many ways, Venn Group caters perfectly to the millennial short-termism a la mode. While the long-built relationships that the company has developed across markets, industries, and organisations are perhaps the anomalies of our short-term specialism, at core, Venn Group delivers to interim trends simply by matching interim openings with interim candidates. It’s a simple model that delivers well to a gap in the recruitment market, but is not without its hang-ups and myths.

The benefits of engaging in contract and interim work are multiple and far-reaching. For one, contractors fetch far higher rates than do their permanent counterparts. Meanwhile, the ability to move between contracts and positions provides greater opportunity to progress one’s career quickly. A project support officer one year may well find himself as a project manager in the next, and perhaps as a programme manager or lead in the following year.

Particularly through the eyes of clients, however, this quick-progression and career-minded approach to work is associated too closely with a lack of commitment and loyalty. Unwilling clients of the interim market can view themselves as the damsels in distress, constantly being strung along by their unruly temps who simply want to play the proverbial field. In their eyes, temporary candidates can be seen as fickle commitment-phobes who just won’t settle down. And with the inevitable pressures of funding occupying the minds of many hiring managers, it’s easy to view the interim recruitment consultant as nothing more than an irritating and persistent wingman, stopping at nothing to find his candidate a match.

Specialising within healthcare and working specifically within the NHS, I have a particularly hard time persuading line managers that interim staffing is what they need. Responses from line managers are fraught with damning indictments relating to funding squeezes and recruitment freezes. And fair enough: the NHS is in a troubled place at the moment, and persistent calls from recruiters trying to persuade managers to spend more money may not be the most welcome thing ever.

But the point is that very often – and increasingly often – short-term vacancies are occurring in the NHS (and elsewhere) that simply must be filled. In a society that’s (quite rightly) coming to understand long-term physical and mental illness, and increasingly making leave allowances for new mothers and fathers and for recent bereavements, organisations can be stretched to breaking point by trying to absorb absent staff members’ workloads. Put off by myths surrounding unfaithful temps and extortionate agency fees, teams can fall into disarray by the irrational fear of the recruitment agency.

However, the problem may well be one of perception. In my experience, contractors seem more akin to serial monogamists than commitment-phobes; absolutely devoting themselves to their assignments for as long as they last. Granted, one cannot generalise about any industry, but if choosing a quality agency complete with quality candidates (which of course I’m advocating Venn Group to be), then there’s simply no reason for money and time not to be saved by filling short-term vacancies with short-term candidates.

If hiring managers can alter their perception of temporary work away from associations of ‘quick fix’, and if instead they understand it to be a relevant and necessary adaptation to an increasingly short-term world, then engaging with interim staffing starts to make a whole lot more sense. Making flirtations with the short-term may well not be so bad after all.

If you are in need of an interim contractor, or if you are an interim contractor looking for your next contract, get in touch with me on 020 7557 7667, or cbeckett@venngroup.com

 

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