Today, we at Recruitment Buzz caught up with John Wallace, Divisional Head of Resourcing at RBS. Set to take the stage at the Recruitment Agency Expo this year, John talks to us about everything recruitment. Sharing his opinions on topics such as AI and Brexit, John gives us a great deal of food for thought ahead of the show.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I’ve worked in recruitment for over 20 years and been in senior in-house resourcing leadership roles at RBS, Tesco and Barclays. – working in Edinburgh, London and overseas. Since 2015 I been engaged in consulting work – helping businesses either build out recruitment teams or fix recruitment problems. In 2017 I had my first book published – Hire Power and have done a fair amount of speaking and writing on various recruitment topics. I also own a small family business in Northern Ireland and split my time between there and Scotland.
Can you tell us more about your company?
Fixing in-house recruitment problems. Advice to the recruitment agency world on how to engage better with clients.
Could you give us a sneak preview of your seminar at the expo?
I will be talking about how the in-house team is a major threat to recruitment businesses that don’t evolve. I will talk about the benefits of an in-house team, and what the reasons are for still using agencies. Finally, I will give my view as to what agencies need to do thrive in the future.
Looking to 2019, what do you see as the biggest opportunities for the recruitment Sector?
An economy that continues to strengthen will make it easy for the sector. Inevitably there will also start to be an upward movement on salaries and certain skills markets will be very tight, enabling good agencies to really prosper.
Is there anything on the horizon the recruitment sector should be worried about?
Yes. Lots. The direction of travel is for in-house teams to be the norm. RPO is also a massive threat as well to easy revenue streams. And, if anyone thinks that the economy will continue to grow they aren’t paying attention. Tightening economic conditions and a smarter buying population will make life harder for agencies who rely on transactional business and don’t have lasting and strong relationships.
What are your thoughts on Brexit and its impacts on your space?
I’m bored to death of Brexit, but then again, isn’t everyone? I’ve held the view that the only sensible outcome will be something that looks very like we are still in Europe – free trade and freedom of movement, but with compromises on both sides. It won’t fix what the Brexiteers think it will and it won’t break what Remainers think it will. However, there is the possibility that someone will do something stupid and it chucks us into a period of economic bleakness. That would be very bad. So, in recruitment – either neutral or problematic.
What’s the most important piece of advice you would give a recruiter?
Think of yourself as the candidate.
Automation: friend or foe to recruitment?
Friend if you are a recruiter whose business is based on relationships and planning. Foe if you are transactional and reactionary.
What advice would you give to anyone attending the expo this year?
Ask that question in your head.