The Institute of Recruiters (IOR) is meant to be launching today. Instead they are publishing a video on their site and working towards a slower launch in the next few weeks.
Looking from the outside you might think that a website not launching on time is hardly breaking news. However, the IOR (and their LinkedIn group) has caused a lot of debate and discussion over the past couple of weeks. If you’ve missed this can catch up on my earlier blog post, one from TheHRD and one from RecruitGal; as well as checking out what Steve Huxham at the Recruitment Society has to say on the subject within his own LinkedIn group.
I think, in a nutshell, what has happened is that the IOR thought they’d enter the market with a bang and that bang has rather backfired. They wanted to create a lot of buzz and anticipation prior to their launch but definitely weren’t prepared for the cynicism and probing they’ve been subjected to. To create this buzz they have established a LinkedIn group with a not-insignificant 4000+ membership, they have been talking big around their qualifications (Harvard University has been named as a potential partner) and they’ve created an air of mystery with an unnamed, but well know, Chief Executive. I’ve also heard they have plans for recruitment-body-world domination; they’ve not said it to me but I know that individuals inside the IOR have spoken of the Institute blowing the REC and APSCO out of the water.
The backfiring? Well, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the recruitment industry has many cynics as dodgy recruiters and that at the merest sniff of the later the former is on the hunt.
A lack of straightforward clarity around the “institute” status has been a major issue. The complexities of this particular issue are in my original blog post and comments. However, having received (second hand I ought to add) advice from a barrister I understand that the IOR are legally able to use the term institute due to having a “US HQ”. That’s not enough for many people who think that an institute with UK origins should have UK institute status. So, legally the IOR are in the right, although I understand some people still debate this, but nevertheless it doesn’t feel quite as right as it should.
Then there is the LinkedIn group; which is currently their primary route to market. Firstly, the case of fake administrator profiles which muddied the waters and generated quite a number of concerns. These were apparently set up by their PR company (who I understand are not working for/with them anymore). Then they started to exclude from the group of a number of people who were apparently asking the wrong sort of questions.
The IOR has perfectly reasonable responses to both of these issues (it’s not my job to defend them so if you want the full story contact them directly) and you can’t deny that it’s up to them who to let into their group.
Another fly in the ointment is that of recruitment to recruitment involvement. Dave Barber has been seen as a major player within the IOR (it was him and Azmat who first came up with the idea of making a better industry body). Dave is a R2R consultant. I understand that other board members/Directors are also R2Rs. If you ran a recruitment business would you want your staff joining an institute with R2Rs on the main board? Azmat assures me that none of the board will have access to any additional details on members that other members will have. But as the LinkedIn group isn’t a forum for asking these types of questions I doubt he’s been able to allay many other’s fears on the subject.
I ought to also mention the strange activity around blog post comments. On mine, TheHRDs and RecruitGal’s there have been a number of occasions when similar posts are made by differently named contributors. They can’t be directly linked to the IOR but I strongly believe that someone within the organisation is attempting to defend them with these anonymous (and sometimes quite offensive) posts.
Where are we now?
On Friday The Executive Grapevine took down a press release about their association with the IOR (I understand they are considering their position). The new Chief Executive of the IOR (who is meant to be anonymous for now) has been repeatedly contacted and quizzed about his involvement. I’m not sure how his name was first leaked but he can’t be too surprised at the calls as his CV is one of the first results returned by Google – and it includes his home address and phone number !
As I said at the start, the IOR won’t be launching today. They will be taking stock of the situation and hopefully thinking of a way to allow the industry to openly communicate with them. It’s not enough for the founders to say “anyone can call me”; people want to comment on blogs, twitter and on LinkedIn – make yourselves available to talk where they are!
So what have we learnt?
A group of people don’t think that the REC has teeth and/or that ASPCO serves the needs of the whole industry
Not everyone thinks we need an alternative to the existing governing bodies/associations
Lots of people join LinkedIn groups to see what’s going
Some people care a great deal about honesty and integrity in this industry
Some recruiters are a bit shady
There are some powerful players in the social media world who are well connected the are listened to.
People don’t like spin
If there’s a bandwagon some people will jump on it
I could go on…. but the interesting thing is – do you really think we are seeing anything new in the situation here? We have a probably genuine, but poorly executed, plan to improve the recruitment industry which leads to backlash and debate. Recruitment is, without doubt, a tough industry to operate in!!
I suspect The IOR will still launch. If they can provide full clarity on the issues which are of concern then they have a chance of regaining some integrity. They probably need to wise up on who the influencers are in the industry ands perhaps build some bridges with them.
My personal opinion is that we don’t actually need another governing body for the industry; I like what APSCO do and I would love for the REC to find a way to meet the needs of the industry. In order to do that they’re going to have to confront some issues head on, wise up on every day recruitment issues and get a bit more ballsy!
If they don’t and if the IOR can sort out their “teething problems” then we could have a bit of healthy competition in the confederation/association/institute marketplace!