Recruitment agencies can help people grow and succeed in their careers

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Worldwide, people are constantly looking for jobs and companies are on the search for new talent. Recruitment agencies are therefore crucial to facilitate these job hunts.

There are several types of recruitment companies catering for various professions ranging from IT to finance, banking, advertising and public relations.

Ad Talent is a recruiting agency that caters for the advertising, marketing, public relations and media markets. It was established in 1971 and later bought by Brenda Bensted- Smith, who had worked there earlier. Brenda started out with three people and now employs 22 people and has a branch based in Cape Town.

"At Ad Talent most of our consultants have worked in advertising, marketing, public relations and media companies.

"Most of them have a tertiary education pertaining to their specialised area of recruitment. However, to be a good recruiter there are critical skills that I require when I am employing," said Brenda Bensted-Smith, managing director of Ad Talent.

"They must also be able to multi-task, have physical endurance to cope with the demanding daily schedules, empathy, the ability to read people, the ability to 'chameleonise', which means adapting different styles of communication, be a risk taker and be independent."

Attracting clients is essential for the business to grow and this is mainly done through word of mouth referrals.

Other methods include keeping up with what is happening in the marketplace, reading material pertaining to the client's portfolios, subscribing to publications, advertising online and in selected publications.

"In advertising, there is a demand for good copywriters, skilled advertising strategic planners and skilled media planners and strategists. In the public relations portfolio, candidates who have consultancy experience want to work in corporates, creating a shortage in consultancies - specifically for those with good writing skills. In the marketing portfolio, the shortage is at the top level, such as the marketing directors. AA candidates have also created a demand," said Bensted-Smith.

Recruiting agencies also have to deal with the skills shortage, which has affected many professions in the country.

"We are faced with several challenges. We are in a candidate-dominated market, so finding candidates who have the skills required for the job is the key challenge. Recruiting agencies also face the challenge of competitors acquiring business by unashamedly cutting their rates," said Bensted-Smith.

"We have to be at the top of our game or else the skills shortage will affect our industry. We update ourselves with what's happening in our industry by managing the careers of many candidates who are not necessarily actively looking, but trust us to manage their careers."