Industry Intel

Property Recruitment: Sign of the Times

Robert Murray


Jul 22, 2022

Back in 2014, when I started in recruitment, if someone had told me I’d still be doing it 6 years later I probably would have laughed at them. If someone had told me I would be doing recruitment through a pandemic, I would have laughed harder.

I have seen a lot of change in the world of Property Recruitment throughout my six years, it’s inevitable, but not quite as much change as we’re experiencing now. The reasons why people are moving have changed, what clients are looking for has changed, and the very way we work has changed. But it’s really just a sign of the times.

It used to be the case where if, as a recruiter, you were working with a recently MRICS Surveyor, you would place them. Now don’t get me wrong it was never easy, it had its hurdles, but it certainly had a lot fewer hurdles than there are today.

Naturally, the happenings of the last 6 months and all things Covid 19 have elevated and heightened the barriers to property recruitment, which is to be expected. There are certain trends that have been developing since long before Covid 19 arrived, but these have really come to the forefront in recent months.

Never before have I heard Last In, First Out more than I have in the past six months. Last in, first out…. This is a phrase I now hear probably 20 times a day, and I don’t envisage that changing any time soon.

It makes sense that there is concern presently around job security, and well, why would you leave a job you’ve been in for years and risk moving to a new company? It’s safer to just stay put. Forget that – the answer is the same as it’s ever been. If you’re unhappy in your current role, see what else is out there.

Now that we are through the initial shock of the pandemic, most firms have put plans in place and will only hire new permanent members of staff if they have a) the funds and b) the project pipeline to support such a hire.

Last in first out will always be a factor to consider when you accept any new job, it doesn’t need a global pandemic to rear its head, the loss of one project or portfolio could result in a company needing to make cutbacks. Forget Last In, First Out – it’s outdated and just not the case.

People move jobs for a variety of reasons, be it for a better work-life balance, a new role closer to home, or a promotion that they can’t get in their current role – perhaps they are being undervalued in some way?

One of the first things a client will want to know before they agree to meet with someone is ‘Rob, why are they leaving their current role?’. As a Recruiter, I jump for joy when I can answer with one of the reasons above, but for a long while, people just wanted more money, or they wanted to see if they could get more from a new firm.

As Recruiters, we are always wary of these kinds of people as 90% of the time, they are purely using the process as a way to negotiate a counter offer from their existing employer (FYI this is not the way to go about it – your employer will never view you in the same light again.

If you want more money, at least give your employer the respect to ask them for it first). However, what the last 6 – 12 months have shown, is that people are starting to realise that It’s Not All About The Money.

More and more now, the people we speak with are in search of so much more; they want to be part of a business that genuinely treats its people with respect.

They want to be part of a business that’s on a journey, that gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Money will always be important, at the end of the day we don’t work for free, but employee perspective is shifting, and those firms that don’t shift with it will, unfortunately, be left behind.

In a similar ilk to those purely seeking a counter offer, we have the Tyre Kicker and the Window Shopper to contend with. They are out in full force. Now look, it’s understandable – everyone likes to have a look around and try before you buy. However, the difference is, in a shop, we are honest about it.

That dreaded moment when the Sales Assistant comes up to you, ‘Excuse me sir, can I help?’, you politely say ‘No thanks, I’m just browsing’. Recruitment, in a sense, is no different. If you get in touch and ask for our help, be honest. That way, everyone is on the same page. We can let our client know that you’re just having a look at what’s out there and at least that way, there are no surprises further down the line.

These trends aren’t just happening with candidates, but with clients – there was a time when all clients wanted to know was if prospective candidates could do the job, and maybe be down for Friday night pints with the team (oh the days before Covid).

In recent times, it seems candidates need to be triple or even quadruple threats because all Clients are beginning to ask; What Else Can They Offer? Is it not enough that they can do the job and fit well into your team? Would you like them to be able to juggle? Tap dance? Do a rubix cube in under a minute?

On a serious note, clients are asking for more – what business or contacts can they bring? Are they First Aid trained? Can they offer anything on the Learning and Development side of things? What companies need to remember if you expect the world from prospective employees then be prepared to offer them the world in return. It has to work both ways.

Recruitment is an ever-changing market and we need to be ready to adapt as and when required. So much has changed in our industry over the years and the last 6 months have brought about more change than some might like.

Home working is now the norm, video calls are the daily routine and flexibility is now at the heart of everything we do. It is important that all sides have realistic expectations of what’s on offer and what’s required. Six months from now, the landscape may be entirely different once more.

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Robert Murray

Like most Drama School Graduates, Rob was working in a restaurant when he was approached by Oyster to come in and interview for a job. And thank goodness he decided to swap his dreams of the stage for Recruitment because just 7.5 years later, Rob has skyrocketed from Recruitment Consultant to Director. Can’t do that dancing in a production of Cats. One of Oyster’s most elusive men, you will never find Rob at his desk. Instead, he’ll be everywhere at once, doing the work of five people, with the energy levels of ten.

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