Standards in Recruitment: assurance in a time of uncertainty

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With recent mixed  reports, some showing UK businesses freezing hiring and investment, others being more upbeat since Brexit, recruitment businesses may be looking at a period of uncertainty in the short and medium term.

So now, more than ever, businesses need to offer assurance to hirers and candidates that they provide the highest quality service. Ensuring your business practices are in order also makes good commercial sense as it helps build the top and bottom line of your P&L.

Independent business improvement programme

Standards in Recruitment (SiR), is the only independent business improvement programme developed specifically for the recruitment sector. The concept and development of the standards and audit arrangements were evolved over a three year period by a stakeholder group that included agencies and hirer end users drawn from a wide range of sectors including education, healthcare, IT, manufacturing, financial services, defence and public sector.

Reassurance for clients and investors

The SiR programme is about helping recruitment businesses not only improve their business practices as painlessly and cost effectively as possible but enhances their brand. As well as addressing the regulatory aspects of the recruitment process, the Standards themselves reflect the rules of engagement that clients and candidates expect, and accreditation under SiR provides assurance to investors particularly in a time of uncertainty.

NAHT welcomes SiR’s education standards

In the education sector for example, it’s probably fair to say that perceptions of recruitment agencies among hirers may be less than the industry would like them to be, despite some excellent services on offer.  NAHT, the largest professional association representing school leaders, reports that it ‘has been concerned for some time over practices such as a lack of clarity of contractual terms, finder’s fees, exclusivity contracts and encouraging a candidate to pull out at the last minute to follow a better offer’.

As policy advisor for Valentine Mulholland says “For some time NAHT has voiced the concerns of its members reporting issues with teacher supply agencies in relation to the recruitment of permanent staff. During the year we have been in discussions with Standards in Recruitment (SiR) in the development of their independent education standards for recruitment agencies to ensure these reflect the needs of schools.  NAHT welcomes the development of those independent standards to raise the quality of services that teacher supply agencies provide to schools”.

This is echoed by Sukwinder Samra, head of school at Elmhurst Primary School, who says “SiR is reassuringly robust for education hirers like us”.

Independent verified measure of quality

Recruitment businesses also see the value of the SiR programme. Mark Jukes, founding partner of city executive search recruiter Elbrus Partners Limited, stresses “In everything we do, we strive to maintain the highest ethical standards and professionalism, treating both candidates and clients with the same care and respect that we would hope to be treated with ourselves. Until now there has been no genuinely independent audit of our processes and operations and that is why we were first attracted to SiR accreditation”.

“The entire process was enormously helpful in identifying areas, internal and external, where we could improve and we felt supported along the way by the knowledgeable SiR team.  Elbrus Partners Limited is extremely proud to be one of the early adopters of this innovative accreditation programme and to have achieved an independently verified measure of quality”.

Clear business value-add

Julie Welford, compliance manager for aerospace specialist Aeropeople, states “SiR goes further; into more depth and because it is specifically for the recruitment sector, the accreditation programme reinforces that we are providing the best service to our clients and our organisation. The standards were easy to understand, straight forward and most importantly relevant. It’s a clear value-add to our business to complete the SiR programme. To any recruitment business serious about wanting improve the way it operates, SiR’s accreditation programme is an excellent management and compliance tool”.

Genuine quality

John Randall, engagement director of SiR, said “the programme is designed to promote excellence in a real practical way. In today’s challenging world capturing the right standards and establishing independent verification is critical. Having created this platform SiR accreditation highlights genuine quality businesses”.

Call: 0845 450 4415 (quoting GR 0816), Visit:

This article was first published in The Global Recruiter on 24th August 2016

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