[Taken from a great comment by Eric Wong on a Linkedin Discussion in answer to a question from Ben Batten, Head of Selection at Kelly Services]
That is a good sign. In the last 12 to 18 months, the market had been tough. So the natural weeding process takes place.
As the saying goes, "Only the fittest survive". There's much truth to that.
Only 3 types of recruiters survived the last 1.5 years.
The first - they are they star performers - managing to find some deals to keep afloat during the tough times
The second - the loyals - sticking with the firm which inturn supported them through the bad time.
The third - "probation" seekers - changing firms the moment probation period's up.
There's no silver bullet to this problem. I'm a firm believer that if you want a star performer, train them up the way they should be trained, and retained like crazy! Only than you can ensure the standard of consultants, which has a direct impact on the results.
Recruitment from an service provider point of view is a number's game.
But the problem is that once you grow horizontally, you lose control of quality.
Take note of how organizations like MacDonalds, Starbucks and even Mindef trains their frontline workforce. It's always a vertical approach - bring them in from the ground; work the stations and move up.You will always find that there is an astonishing level of alignment through out the various level.
A large organization can maneuver freely when it's not being pulled apart in various different directions.
Thus, my solution to the problem is to:
1) Reward the Stars and the Loyals - Give them the grooming required to move them up
2) Move them up slowly but surely - Put 1 or 2 recruits under them
3) Train, measure, reward
4) Stretch them as much as possible - don't break them - do a tug and release, tug and release
5) Get your senior staffs to provide the leadership guidance for these new leaders to grow
6) You will be rewarded with a new team of disciplined recruiters who shares your values and beliefs.
My personal take is that in this trade, the most important skill set is discipline. Don't compromise on quality by hiring consultants that's being "brought up" by competitors who do not share the same set of beliefs.
You'll end up with a very disintegrated team by having different sub-culture.
Hire the right "entry" guys and equip them with the right skills. Give them A development plan and give them a career. And make that the Kelly Brand.
You will soon have an Army of Excellent Recruiters.