The role of an effective government is that it acts as facilitator, and motivator for upcoming as well as running businesses. Owing to its reach and understanding it also directs growth and progress in certain directions. All this is done through formulating relevant policies. In Pakistan, we suffer in this area because our elected policy makers are not qualified to undertake this task and other stake holders are not invited. Or, some people with vested interests influence policy making to their advantage while hurting others.

Another issue is that we are not convinced of doing research and planning before starting a business. We go by hunches, others’ feedback and our own thinking. The result is that people aspiring for getting into business look around, see what is happening and tend to follow suit. This is the reason we see lot of people getting into the same business within a short span of time.

One recent fad is getting into recruiting business, or Head Hunting as is popularly known.

Headhunters have been around for a long time, but they worked mostly at individual level. Presently, the situation has changed and many outfits have come into being for handling bulk recruiting. The individual headhunters have upgraded themselves to do “Executive Search’ signifying they are only helping in recruiting senior executives. This area is also more rewarding financially.

Job Portals like rozee and rightjobs and rightmoves also started but has not shown great results. Problems are common; lack of relevant candidates.

The premise here is that the hiring managers have become very busy and do not have time to screen hundreds of applications received against any advertisement. Why not ask an agency and they will shortlist and send a selective bunch for choosing from?

Let us examine the upside and the downside.

The upside is that it saves time, which is always scarce, and it saves effort as well. It gives more time to the hiring managers to concentrate on the small number of candidates, evaluate them well and go for good hiring.

What is the flip side?

To begin with, we have not developed a system where working people like to get registered with a recruiter. This makes the universe available to any recruiting consultant, very small and insignificant. How do the recruiting companies overcome it? They try and encourage free registration for candidates who upload their resume to the data bank. My personal experience with internet-based recruiting companies is that they only have large number of CVs in IT related professionals. The reason is obvious. These people are frequent users of internet and it is easy and logical for them to use this medium. However, there is a large majority in other trades who have lack of access or familiarity or both issues. The recruiters therefore are unable to approach them. This is extremely relevant in our situation where computer illiteracy, lack of means to own a PC, load shedding and cost of connectivity do not support use of computer/internet to the desired level. Lately, these issues have been somewhat surmounted by the use of WhatsApp messaging.

Another related but serious issue is confidentiality. Managers and above usually wish to switch jobs confidentially. They do not want to drop CVs here and there. They do not allow that their CV be sent anywhere without their explicit permission. People have faced serious consequences caused by simple, silly lapses of confidentiality.  

The second major concern is the experience, caliber and ‘eye’ of the recruiting consultant most of whom have assumed the position either because they have some work experience (of a different kind) or they just believe they can do it. These consultants by no means are a match for the seasoned professionals they are trying to screen. The result is that the hiring manager receives only a tunnel view and is seriously restricted in her/his choices.

The third problem is lack of professionalism in some recruiting agencies. The response is poor, inconsistent and certainly not matching the status of the candidate. Couple of times when I tried to use this service, I was thoroughly disappointed by the unprofessional behavior even at some very well-known and apparently ‘doing well’ companies.

For hiring managers, another situation that has emerged is that recruiting companies are relying more on contacts and less on quality and service. They would go far in wooing you and keeping you on their customer list.

Again, for hiring managers, should they not think once a while, interviewing a broad array of candidates? It will give new insight into what is happening in the job market.

So here we are.

The hiring managers of can certainly make good use of recruitment consultants’ work. The recruiting companies can really become a great source and support for improving the hiring process. Jim Collins (Good to Great) said that in order to pursue greatness, you need to put right people on the bus (and wrong people off the bus). Right hiring is the only win-win situation for all parties; the hiring company, hiring manager, candidate and the recruiting company. Let us all work toward continuous improvement in this field.


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