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I quit REC because they just stopped loving me...

i quit
i quit

…although now I think about I’m not sure they ever did. I wrote this post about two years ago.  That says something about me I suspect. I did send it over to Deedee Doke at the recruiter as a ‘bloggers with bite’ back page article, only it wasn’t good enough.  I have edited, reedited and deleted several times.

My hesitancy is that somehow I feel by writing this I am being disloyal, biting the hand that feeds me and other clichés, yet I can’t let it lie and need to call it today. Having publicly stated how personal I made my membership of the IRP (see original post here) I felt it was equally fair to say why I no longer want to be part of it.  Yes I will look at membership of other trade bodies and yes I would welcome the opportunity to play an active part in their makeup, management or contribute in some way but as it stands today none of those opportunities are on the table and that is because I committed myself to REC in isolation.

So what is the problem?

Before I start.  REC, I do care.  I did make it personal. But in return you have shown me very little in return. No phone call, no “how’s it going?” email, so little attention that I had to check on the website to see if it was still live and I was listed.

It is (here).

I am.

So in life this isn’t the worst thing that could happen to me and it won’t be the worst thing that happens to REC and I have learned something from the experience and how a membership organisation can operate but overall it has also left me feeling sad. I want this industry to clean up, rid itself of the maligned opinion that it is made up of sharks, cowboys and people after a quick buck.

Whilst there are definite signs of improvement from the direct or in house side of the industry the great mass of agencies, consultancies and ‘consultants’ continue at best flounder, at worse operate shoddy practices that destroy candidates personal brand, hit organisations with unnecessary cost and continue to drive the industry in the wrong direction.   REC and organisations like them could do something about it. They have the power. Where membership means something and losing the right to entry can damage your bottom line.

But this is about REC and it is my belief that they have lost their way. From my ivory tower within a corporate talent acquisition function I am starting to think that if the industry trade body cannot engage with me as a regional director, what hope have we got that they will engage with the individual recruiter or agency.

I was in the club.  The inner circle if you will and yet feel more on the sidelines than if I wasn’t a member at all. When REC announced that it wants to merge for survival then maybe it is the opportunity to call time on a lobbying based trade body.

But what, if anything, should we replace it with? REC may well have lost their way and I fear it may be too late for them to recover. As an active member of the recruitment community, I feel disappointed that I haven’t found a way to unite the industry with its broad base of agencies, consultants and in house recruiters.  There are alternatives, many of which don’t look that much better or in many cases are niche and don’t cater for what is a very broad industry. Maybe it is time for REC, APSCO and even dare I say it the IOR, to get around a table and talk about their hopes for the industry.  If I am honest when I originally wrote this I didn’t think the FIRM and Recruitment Society would be able to join that table but having spent time with their members suspect that both groups would have an awful lot to add. As a collective they might be able to develop a cunning plan, in isolation I can only see failure which none of us in this industry would be pleased to see.

And in true money where your mouth is style I would even be willing to facilitate that, pay for the coffees, bring the cakes or get the beers in, whatever it takes. You see in my naive view of our industry I believe that collaboration is the only way for us to sort out our industry once and for all.   All it needs is one of those organisations to stick their hands up and make the first move.

If you are listening REC, look at the scene in braveheart where William Wallace tells Robert the Bruce that the people would follow him, if only he wasn’t so hung up in the past, the clans and the need for power. We would follow a trade body that meant something, that had some teeth, that could improve the skill levels of recruiters, that would give paying customers some confidence in an industry littered with disappointment.

In the mean time I have a resignation email to complete...

“Dear Kevin”...

About

I have a background in executive search and selection, headhunting and senior level recruitment combined with people and business management experiences. My focus has always been on the IT services, technology and management consultancy sectors on a permanent and interim basis where I have developed a personal portfolio that covers areas such as EVP, social recruitment and the successful creation of talent pools as well the management and leadership of corporate talent acquisition teams.

I am an avid blogger, writer, public speaker and traveller of trains across the UK.

Follow me here or twitter @MDangerfield, and have a look at http://www.linkedin.com/in/martindangerfield for more details.

martin