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Scottish Recruitment Consultancy of the Year

By The Drum | Administrator

November 6, 2002 | 8 min read

In recent months, recruitment agencies will have, no doubt, been busy. Industry, unfortunately, has embraced downsizing as the catch phrase of the moment. In any case, the vast array of recruitment consultancies may not be far from front of mind for many employees.

However, it may not just be the staff that are looking to utilise the recruitment strong-arms.

The question isn’t just “who can bring satisfaction and a better income?” – it is often “who can save the marketing and HR budgets?” too. Who, in a time of uncertainty, can act as the Cilla Black of the game of life and find the perfect partner for both recruiter and recruitee alike.

Well, that is what The Drum set out to find in this year’s recruitment review, which is now in its second outing.

Last year First People Solutions scooped the award, this year it was the turn of someone else.

With the P45 being last season’s unfashionable, yet common, accessory, recruitment agencies have had their work cut out to cost-effectively fill the gaps and find new openings. On studying the outcome of the results, they have coped admirably.

The Science Bit

First The Drum invited all of Scotland’s recruitment consultancies to give the contact details of 20 client companies with which they work on a regular basis.

A rather disappointing ten consultancies in all returned completed client lists which gave Market Research UK a sample of 200 clients to interview. Achieving a one in two hit rate meant that around 100 Scottish recruitment clients were interveiwed in total.

Every client contacted during the research was asked to rank each consultancy out of 10, with 1 being poor and 10 being near perfect.

The issues covered were the consultancy’s understanding of your business, their ability to match a CV to your requirements, the preparation of the candidates put forward, the suitability of the candidates, the professionalism of the consultancy and the overall service displayed by the consultancy as a whole.

After the research was complete, MRUK analysed and compiled the results, using SPSS, and from the aforementioned process The Drum was then able to identify the Scottish Recruitment Agency of The Year, whilst highlighting the areas in which other recruitment consultancies really came into their own.

So, with the science bit out of the way, we can now uncover Scotland’s top recruitment consultancies and reveal just whom you should be speaking to to avoid your appointments turning into disappointments.

Recruitment Consultancy of the Year

With less than two points separating top of the table from bottom, this year’s review was always going to be highly contested.

Peering down from the top of both the “Suitability of Candidates” and “Professionalism” polls, Stafffinders’ consistent high performance in these (and other) areas ensured that they took the crown from last year’s winner, First People Solutions.

Stafffinders has been operating for 32 years and has built its local empire into one of Scotland’s largest independent consultancies. With four offices across the central belt, Stafffinders remains focused on its Scottish market, perhaps explaining its uniformly high-ranking performance in this year’s review.

In second place was a new entry. Adecco, a consultancy with more than 6,000 offices in 59 different countries throughout the world, muscled itself into the runner-up slot.

In the UK alone Adecco has over 200 offices, many within its clients’ premises. It places 250 people in new permanent positions each week and it hosts a team of 1,200 permanent staff of its own. Adecco was at the top of four out of the six categories. However, it was poor performances – relative to the high standards that it set in other categories – in the Preparation and Suitability of Candidates’ sections that meant Adecco missed out on the overall top slot.

In third place was last year’s winner, First People Solutions. Despite not topping any of the categories this year, a solid performance in every section ensured a good overall placing.

Understanding of Clients’ Business

Adecco and Best sit together at the top of the first category ... with perfect tens, showing that their understanding of their clients’ businesses really is second to none.

Best International was formed in 1997 and now operates five offices across the UK, the Scottish office being based in Edinburgh. The agency specialises in IT recruitment and its knowledge of its industry looks to have paid off.

First People Solutions drops one place from last year’s position to third, while overall winners Stafffinders prop up the leaders with a respectable fourth and a score of 8.67 out of 10.

Matching Criteria to CV

Again, there was a tie for first position. Again Adecco was one of the consultancies. However, this time the poll-topping score couldn’t reach the perfections of 10 out of 10 – still, 9 is pretty impressive.

Select was the agency to partner Adecco at the top in the second poll, proving that its ability to match the candidate’s CV to the client’s recruitment criteria is first class.

However, as with all categories in the review, the results were very close, with only 2 points separating all the consultancies. Closest to Select and Adecco was First People with a score of 8.93. Following was Stafffinders and Quantum tying for fourth place.

Candidates’ Business Knowledge

Change, Select and Best fought a three-way fight to land the position of top dog when it comes to preparing their candidates for interview. They were not to be separated though, and all three won with pleasing 9.5 scores.

Select was established in 1980 and houses 60 offices throughout the UK, while Change operates now from offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh with a team of 60, having started life as DLA more than 30 years ago.

Showing its suitability in this area also was First People Solutions, with a score of 8.5 in fourth place.

Suitability of Candidates

Again, three companies were vying for the top spot, in their supply of suitable candidates to clients, with overall winners Stafffinders challenging Select and Best. Yet again they could not be pulled apart. Select and Best showed good resolve when it comes to putting suitable candidates forward, having also done well in the previous category. Again, 9.5 was the score.

Also imitating the previous category, First People Solutions come in fourth place with a score of 8.79.

Level of Professionalism

Stafffinders and Adecco obviously impressed the clients with the level of professionalism displayed, both scoring an excellent 10 out of 10.

Right behind came Edinburgh’s ID Recruitment, an agency that will be familiar to readers of The Drum, as it has picked up a number of awards for its creative advertising campaign, conceived by 1576, and for providing a strong marketing recruitment platform. Although founder partner Nikki Denholm has now departed to launch a new consultancy, and ID has branched out into broader areas, it’s still held in high esteem by many as Linda Park, Denholm’s founding partner, continues the consultancy’s development.

In fourth place came First People Solutions.

Overall Service and Conduct

The final category in the 2002 Recruitment Review scrutinised how the clients rated the overall service provided by the agency and their conduct as they go about it.

First in this category was Adecco, again with an impressive 10 points. Hot on the heels of Adecco was Stafffinders with a solid score of 9.33 and ID was closer again with a score of 9.30. Quantum pipped First People to fourth place with 9.17.

Person Worthy of a Special Mention

The Drum, through Market Research UK, asked the clients who – if anyone – deserved special merit. The praise was quick in coming, and wide in its reach, with over thirty different names being put forward by the clients.

Linda Park, co-founder and director at ID Recruitment came in for most praise with “good”, “efficient” and “helpful” being just three of the words that clients used to describe her.

Second, with only one fewer vote than her peer, was Alison Grayson, also of ID Recruitment, with one admiring client flattering: “Always happy to help.”

In third place were three individuals, Jill Gilchrist of Quantum, Kevin Cruikshank and John Duffus, both of First People Solutions.

Jill topped the poll last year and continues to reap praise for her “good understanding of our business” and “her flexibility”.

John Duffus was described as “an attentive listener who provides exactly what we are looking for”, while his colleague Kevin Cruikshank’s admiring clients said: “He has gone out of his way to try and build a relationship with us, he tries to understand what we need and he matches our CV requirements 100 per cent.”


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