HR on the other side

Last month, the Recruitment Confidence Index from the Cranfield School of Management found employment agencies to be the most popular means of attracting and selecting staff. Almost half of the 850 HR professionals who responded to the quarterly benchmarking survey cited external recruiters as their most-used method.

Yet despite this constant communication between HR and recruitment agencies, it is frequently a love-hate relationship. Many HR professionals report cold calls from recruitment agencies as one of their top office gripes, and often complain that employment consultants “simply don’t understand our business”.

Working in an HR role in a recruitment agency, therefore, must be a real mixed bag. Not only do agency HR directors have to deal with all the employment issues that affect other sectors – such as ever-mounting employment legislation and staff retention – they also have to prove they can practise what they preach as hiring experts, recruiting and developing the very best.

Here Personnel Today profiles three HR professionals in major UK recruitment agencies. They all report challenges with high staff turnover, but are enthusiastic about improving retention through training schemes and career development programmes. And in an industry with such a poor reputation – particularly in HR circles – they’re all keen to become employers of choice and get away from the short-termist image they’re famous for.


  • January 2006 Regional director, responsible for recruitment, training and development, Michael Page
  • 2001 Training and development director, Michael Page
  • 1999 Director, tax and professional practice business, Michael Page
  • 1991 Recruitment consultant, Michael Page


  • April 2004 HR and training director, Reed Personnel Services
  • March 1996 HR director, Chubb
  • October 1991 Section manager, British Steel


  • September 2004 HR director, Badenoch & Clark
  • 2001-2004 Group HR director, Land Securities
  • 1998-2001 Vice-president HR, Europe, Trizechahn (US property company),
  • 1996-1998 Vice-president HR, Coca-Cola Enterprises
  • 1995-1998 HR director, central Europe, Cable and Wireless Plc
  • 1988-1995 HR director, Inchcape (global motor distribution)
  • 1985-1988 Group training manager for the Initial business, Bristol-Myers

    HR’s role in recruitment called into question

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