Back office recruitment solutions aim to deliver the right candidates for the tasks that support a client business. This is a distinct enterprise from front office recruitment, which requires candidates capable of performing the business of the client; that is, candidates whose exceptional skills ensure that they are suited to act as ambassadors for the client in its own business dealings.
Back office employment traditionally draws on a pool of transferable skills – HR, admin, IT and accounting. Any skill required to keep a company working internally is a back office skill.
The term “back office” is an archaic one, dated to the early 20th Century when the administrative support for any public facing business was literally in its back office. So, a haberdasher, for example, would sell bolts of silk to customers in the front office whilst his clerks would work in the back office, making orders and keeping the books.
This recruitment, then, is about finding the right candidate in terms of skills and experience with those skills rather than necessarily finding candidates with experience in a specific industry. An outstanding accountant is an outstanding accountant no matter where he or she has been before. Plus, of course, when you have experience in other industry fields, you might be able to bring something to the table of another industry those people, who have only worked within it, will lack.
This isn’t always true, of course. Sometimes, the perfect candidate for a back office position within a specific industry is the person, who has done similar things in the same industry, elsewhere. Sometimes, the ideal candidate for a back office role in a very exceptional industry is a person, who has experience of that industry on the “shop floor”, the kind of hands-on experience that makes making informed decisions so much easier.
The above examples are enough to show that a good piece of back office recruitment might use different criteria or look harder at different bits of a candidate’s experience, depending on the requirements of the candidate and the expressed needs of the role.
So, how is back office employment currently conducted? Well, recruitment agencies keep large databases of potential candidates and might often buy into communally interrogated databases with particular application to certain industries as well. Their recruitment software is able to parse the relevant information at a much more intuitive level than before, too; returning the surprising matches that are the basis of high quality recruitment and often the springboard to a reputation for being innovative and flexible.
Some recruitment agencies follow a very unique path, performing this recruitment for only one kind of industry. In these cases, industry knowledge accretes within the firm, enabling its consultants to provide the personal service needed to make those important decisions. Other agencies offer a much broader palette of employment solutions and need to foster various experts within their complement of consultants.
Back office recruitment requires knowledge of how skills might transfer between roles, both in terms of skills learned through a specific industry and of skills learned as a result of a specific type of job.