Recruitment Training – Conversation with Ross Clennett


Recruitment trainers play a critical role of championing quality and best-practice methodologies in an industry whose image is often tarnished by lack of proper standards. Trainers are largely at the forefront of improving the productivity, image and overall professionalism of recruiters. Unsurprisingly the demand for training services has increased significantly.

We spoke to Ross Clennett, a personal coach, speaker and recruitment trainer based in Melbourne. Ross sheds some light on the status of the training market, critical skills recruiters lack and the services he provides.

DT: Ross, can you shed some light on your background and what services offers?
I finished an economics degree at the University of Tasmania and in late 1988 went backpacking across China and Russia and finished up in London and started working as a recruiter to pay for my credit card bills. I returned to Australia after 2 years and then worked for 10 years at Recruitment Solutions starting as a temp recruiter in Sydney and finishing up as the Deputy GM for National Recruitment Services. I started my own business in 2003, originally as a personal coach but recruitment was too much in my blood so I moved into recruitment training and then conference speaking. I launched and my weekly ezine, InSight, in October 2007. My services remain coaching, training, and keynote speaking at both internal conferences and public conferences.

DT: Is recruitment an art or a science?
RC: It is most definitely a science. The ‘art’ comes through each recruiter bringing their own personality and style to their job. Most hiring mistakes occur when people ignore the science behind effective recruitment processes.

DT: How important is training for recruiters and what difference does formal training makes?
RC:Training recruiters is as important as training accountants, or any professional. Would you like someone ‘good with numbers’ doing your tax return without the proper training? Effective training in ANY discipline, not just recruitment, enables a person to succeed more quickly than they would through purely ‘trial and error’ self-directed learning.

DT: How big is the market for recruitment training in Australia?
RC: Not as big as it should be! There are about half a dozen full time recruitment trainers/coaches in Australia but the potential market is huge when you consider a very large majority of recruitment companies in this country employ less than 20 people and can’t afford dedicated full-time trainers internally.

DT: In your opinion what are the three main things the recruitment industry (recruiters) need improving? Do you think the recruitment industry have an image problem?
RC: Yes, there is an image problem, caused by a sector that is profitable, high growth, largely self-regulated and with very low barriers to entry. The three most important things for recruiters to improve are their;

– interviewing skills
– ‘talent consulting’ skills with clients rather than being a resume referral service
– brochures and websites

DT: You are passionate about writing good job ads, how important is writing good job ads in sourcing candidates?  What  evidence exists that good written jobs solicit more response?
RC: Writing an effective job ad remains an important recruitment skill even though, over the past 10 years, there has been a significant growth in other sourcing methods. I don’t believe the issue is about generating more response, the aim is to generate a higher quality response. I will take a 5 candidate high-calibre ad response ahead of a 60 candidate average-calibre ad response, any day. I am not aware of any formal research on job ad writing but if it exists I’d love to know about it.

DT: Can you tell us more about your upcoming workshops, how do they work? And why must recruiters sign up for it?
RC: I have a two day, 4 workshop, program in Brisbane on Wednesday 4 February and Thursday 5 February. People can register for the whole program or for just one or more workshops. More details can be found at

My response to why recruiters should sign up is simply to say; if you’re interested in improving your results, then come along, if you aren’t interested in improving then stay away! No matter how long you have been recruiting for I promise you will learn at least one new thing that will help you in 2009.

Ross can be reached at

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