Why recruiters must think outside the box
Recruitment is an industry that is often mentioned in terms of disruption, although Julie Mills doesn’t like to use the “D” word.

Mills, the managing director of ASPCo Australia, who has been representing the recruitment sector for almost twenty years, instead sees ‘disruption’ as more of an opportunity than a threat to the recruitment industry.

“I believe that every innovation, technology or business model on the horizon can either be seen as foe, or embraced as friend. I see recruitment as one of the most resilient, intuitive and forward-thinking professions anyone can be involved in,” she says.

None-the-less the inevitable march of technology, globalisation of the workforce and the nature of the new generations of workers requires recruitment agencies to innovate and reinvent themselves continually, says Mills.

“This has been happening since the industrial revolution. So nothing new,” she says.

“There is general acceptance that there is a need to maintain and enhance the “human interface” and articulate the importance of that activity in any value proposition.”

Harnessing innovation for the future

Innovation will well and truly be on the agenda at this year’s SEEK Annual Recruitment Awards (SARA), where Mills will sit on the judging panel.

Mills believes that the awards are doing an excellent job in profiling the recruitment profession and setting a high bar for innovative solutions within the sector.

In terms of the entries, Mills says she wants to see that entrants are ‘walking the talk’.  In particular, she would like to find out how agencies are innovating in terms of candidate care.

“How do they nurture their candidates from the start of the process to the end? How do they deal with unsuccessful candidates?  What onboarding, upskilling and career support programs are in place?”

In respect of clients, Mills says it’s about the partnership, the conversation and enhancing the reputation and economic importance of the industry.

“What is the message your company takes to market about what you do? It goes without saying that entries need to provide evidence of involvement with their professional bodies, be it APSCo, RCSA, AHRI, AIIA, NESA.  And I do check.”

Out-of-the-box thinking

At the SARAs, Mills is dazzled by out-of-the-box thinking in entries. “What I am looking forward to seeing at the SARAs is not more of the same, rather a consistency and solid response to the questions, reflected all the way through but with a bit of flair and a sense of having a go.”

And it needs to be more than words.  “If the entry is talking about candidate care I need strong evidence of what they are actually doing.  If entries are not demonstrating that, the submission doesn’t resonate with me.”

Mills says social media and company profiles are great value for checking and reinforcing what’s been stated in submissions.

Mills has dedicated the past twenty years to representing the contracting and recruitment sector as their advocate, the voice for the professionalism of the sector and for raising the benchmarks of business and individual best practice.  As well as currently being Managing Director of APSCo Australia and a Board Director of APSCo Global she has been the CEO of ITCRA and the RCSA.