McAdam King Recruitment features in The Herald

Herald graphic Geraldine Abrahams reports on a new company which aims to offer a particular expertise.

THERE is something about big milestones that inspire people to make changes in their lives, to take decisions that they might not have considered at another time of the year.

This new year, at the dawning of the millennium, there are bound to be new businesses springing up all over, full of hope and belief in the future. As though is preparation, many people will already have set in motion the changes that they want to make.

For some, safety will be the major factor, making sure that everything is in place before any millennium bugs can bite into their embryonic infrastructures.

For others, the motivation is likely to be a desire to take more control over their lives so that they can start Y2K and the years to follow in confidence.

Colin McAdam and Maureen (King) Blenkharn felt that the time was absolutely right for them when they set up their new recruitment and HR company McAdam King at Kirkintilloch just one month ago.
"The time is right now for the market-place," says McAdam. "and we felt that we had developed as much as we could in previous companies, that it was time to move out and offer a new service to clients. We are trying to focus on a few clients to whom we can offer a complete service, not just recruitment."

McAdam has spent more than 20 years in recruitment, particularly in the manufacturing and high tech sectors, covering a spectrum from IT software engineers to finance, but principally in manufacturing. Blenkharn graduated with a business degree which incorporated a manufacturing specialism and has worked in recruitment for the past five years. Their vision for the new company is based on providing what McAdam calls "an added value service".

"We want to offer more," he says. "Most agencies will provide a CV, for example, but our service could include psychometric profiling, sitting in with the clients on the first interview where desired. We can give more time to a project because we are probably more project driven, and that pretty much guarantees success. We make that time because it is our business."

Like the workplace in general, the new organisation's timetable is flexible, reflecting the fact that most people are likely to be working between 8am and 5pm, operating on manufacturing lines or in open plan offices which makes it almost impossible to take time out of work to talk.

"They need an after hour service either by phone or face to face" said McAdam. "So while basic contact is made during the day, to drill down into what someone's main aspirations are has to be done in the privacy of the home or in our office."

The approach, as with recruitment agencies, is tailored to meet the needs of individuals who move at different paces, in different directions with different needs.

The need to use recruitment agencies varies from organisation to organisation. Often, larger organisations will have their own human resources departments, but with the more complex needs of employees today many are forced to focus on other human resource issues.

In the case of smaller companies with no human resource functions, there is a need for greater objectivity in the selection of staff, a role more suited to recruitment agencies. According to McAdam, it should be much more than just a matching exercise.

"Setting up a database, sifting through that, matching candidates to a job specification and sending off the CV is a co-coordinating process, and because market-places tend to be very specifically targeted, many companies know where needs arise just from being part of the network," he says.

"We do a lot within the human resources function, dealing with senior people or HR people in an organisation who are looking for their own staff and trying to find someone within their company.

"They often need to talk about personal needs, preferably with someone with whom they have a good relationship out with the immediate work environment.

"We offer demographic-based information where companies are looking for particular types of individuals in certain parts of Scotland, and salary surveys, which are generally tailored specifically to what individual companies are looking for.

"We could tell them what it would take to get a certain type of discipline within their particular area, and also about the influencing factors." CLIENTS are generally Scottish and are most likely to come to McAdam King through the referral system, but the Internet is seen as a great source of candidate information as well as company information which can be accessed from anywhere.

"Candidates are as important to us as clients," says McAdam. "Candidates turn into clients and vice versa, that is the market-place. The people we deal with were candidates at one point and probably will be again, so it is all about relationship building.

"Candidates need to know as much as we know about the clients so before we talk to them and do a client search, we find out their motivational factors.

"It is not bums on seats, or throwing CV's out to the world. It is very targeted and we will only talk to a client on behalf of a candidate if that candidate knows everything about that client and wants to move forward.

"But of course, all that is based on trust and with a new company, that trust has to be built up. New companies can use you once and if they trust you and if they are satisfied they use you again."

He considers that recruitment companies today have to be prepared to be specialists, and while the new company offers some HR functions such as the identification of training needs and of the kind of skills available in the market-place, the core business will always be manufacturing-based. "The days of the general agency are in the past," said McAdam.

"I go to the specialist or expert for my mortgage, so I go to a specialist recruitment company to get the right person for a manufacturing post, not someone who is handling accountants one minute and then trying to get me an engineering director the next."

The Herald, Tuesday, December 14, 1999.

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