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Driving Best Practice!

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 06 June 2013

The Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations (APSO) was established in 1977 and continues to represent its members in their dealings with government and related bodies. APSO promotes and ensures, for the benefit of both clients and candidates, the adherence to high ethical and professional standards of business.

The recruitment industry currently has no, or very low, barriers to entry and this means that clients could find themselves dealing with inexperienced or unprofessional operators. Given that the industry, particularly the temporary employment services (or labour broking as it’s often referred to), is currently under the spotlight, this could be severely detrimental – and costly - to the client.

Many clients are unaware of the fact that, when using a Temporary Employment Service (TES) provider, they are jointly and severally liable in the case of contravention of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Bargaining Council collective agreements, binding arbitration and determinations under the Wage Act, as outlined in Section 198 of the Labour Relations Act.

For this reason, clients should be extra careful when choosing their TES provider and rather choose to deal with an agency that is a member of a professional body such as APSO, or the Confederation Associations in the Private Employment Sector (CAPES).

CAPES is currently heading up the NEDLAC negotiations relating to the proposed regulation for the employment sector and APSO, as a founding member of CAPES, is perfectly positioned to provide our members – and their clients – with accurate, up-to-date information about the impending changes to the industry. It is critical during these uncertain times to have access to reliable information to inform your business decisions.

Setting standards

APSO membership is not automatic and so any staffing company that wishes to join the professional body is required to meet certain minimum criteria before membership is granted. These include among others, legal compliance, professional standards of operation, fair labour practice and adherence to the APSO Code of Ethical & Professional Practice.

This code prescribes the minimum standards, including levels of services to clients and candidates, expected by APSO. It sets clear guidelines on issues such as search and selection, recruitment practices, reference checking, interviewing and fee dispute resolution, in the case of a dispute between two agencies.

APSO is a proud member of the Institute of Ethics of South Africa and our code has been vetted accordingly. The code is aligned to international best practice standards and is recognised by various stakeholders, government and business alike, as the benchmark for professional recruitment in South Africa.

APSO is a proud member of the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (CIETT) and maintains active relationships with other international recruitment bodies to ensure that the South African industry remains on par with our global counterparts.  

Driving professionalism

In addition, APSO is focused on improving the professionalism of the recruitment industry by providing training and continuous professional development opportunities for our members and their employees. All APSO staffing consultants are expected to write the APSO Entrance Exam, a 10-module induction programme, designed to ensure that APSO accredited consultants are empowered to offer professional and compliant recruitment services.

At present APSO is awaiting formal recognition by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as the professional body for the staffing industry and once approved our three professional designations for individual staffing consultants will be ready for launch. APSO understands the importance of currency of knowledge, especially in the field of recruitment where clients and candidates are relying on their consultant to provide guidance. To this end, APSO is thrilled at the prospect of providing clients and candidates the opportunity to choose their consultant by assessing their professional designation and ensuring that they maintain continuous professional development.

Today, many client companies – public and private sector – choose only to deal with APSO member agencies and list this as a requirement for preferred supplier status.

Benefits to clients:

  • Access to advice and information pertaining to the staffing industry;
  • Assistance with fee dispute resolution (between two member agencies);
  • Recourse in the case of unprofessional business practices via the Ethics Arbitration Process;
  • Knowledge that their recruitment partner has been vetted to ensure compliance and best practice.

For more information about APSO or to view the APSO Code of Ethical & Professional Practice, visit our website Contact APSO:

Head Office

Tel:         (011) 615 9417 

APSO Chief Operating Officer

Natalie Singer


APSO Manager: Ethics & Compliance

Attie Botes


Tags:  APSO  best practice  compliance  ethics  membership  preferred supplier listing  risk  standards 

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Performance Managing your Recruitment/Staffing Providers

Posted By Natalie Singer, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

Most companies have structured performance review systems in place for their employees but only a handful have anything to assess their recruitment/staffing provider.

Recruitment costs are significant and whilst many companies have strict tendering requirements and service level agreements in place with their preferred suppliers, too few have a system to accurately assess delivery. After all, what do you measure?

  • Price / Spend?
  • Number of CVs submitted per vacancy?
  • Number of interviews set up with candidates?
  • Number of placements?
  • Success of the placed candidate over a period of time, i.e. 6 months?

People are not products

Applying simple service delivery assessments, as associated with products, doesn’t work. People are by nature flexible, unreliable and open to a myriad of things that can change their circumstances and affect their employment. You can’t say that if "employee A” doesn’t work out the provider should simply substitute with "employee B”, as would be the case with a defective product. 

Most of the staffing industry provides a form a guarantee but companies are cautioned against viewing this as a guarantee on the individual. After all, no one can predict what another person will do in the future. Rather, this guarantee should talk to the delivery of the service that has been agreed between the provider and the client. For instance, it would not be reasonable to expect an agency to replace a candidate who suddenly becomes ill and incapable of doing the job, except if it could be proven that the agency knew about the illness and purposely did not disclose this to the client, knowing full well that the placement would not be successful.

The controllable aspects are the recruitment methodologies and due diligence undertaken by the agency in assessing the candidate, not the decisions of the candidate or employer once the placement has been made.

Avoid comparing apples with oranges

On the surface most recruiters seem to be offering the same service, but don’t be fooled. There are a myriad of different recruitment methodologies and clients should ensure that they fully understand what they’re buying. When assessing a provider, ask the following questions:

  • What is their area of specialisation?
  • Can they prove success?
  • How do they source their applicants?
  • What processes are followed to screen applicants?
  • Method of interview, assessments, verification checks etc
  • What is the experience/expertise of the consultant assigned to manage the account?
  • What kind of success do they have in terms of placement and do their candidates remain in employment for a significant period of time?How much do they know about your business?
  • Will they be able to effectively source people who not only meet the technical requirements but would also be a good "culture fit”

It may be worthwhile to invite interested providers to do a formal presentation to your HR team. This way you can access their level of expertise, question their methodology and determine whether there is a "fit” for a mutually beneficial partnership going forward.

Annual Reviews

There is no point in having a preferred supplier list as long as your arm if the companies on it are not performing. Spend time each year assessing the suppliers against your expectations and their actual delivery and chop those that haven’t made the grade.At the end of the year, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which agencies actually made placements in the past year? Remove any that haven’t.
  • Of those who made placements, what kind of placements did they make? For example, have the tended to excel in placing IT people, finance, or technical? Separate your suppliers into subject-matter experts. Keep these lists separately and only send them specs for relevant positions, rather than the shotgun approach of sending all specs to everyone on the list.
  • Of the candidates who were placed, how many did not make it through the probation (or guarantee) period? Interrogate why this happened? Was it related to poor recruitment, or something else? How often has it happened per agency? If the problems appear to be with the initial recruitment process then consider ditching agencies that consistently don’t perform.
  • How many of the placed candidates have proven to be value-added employees who are contributing to the overall goals of the organisation? These are the agencies you want to work with so invest time in these relationships.

A shorter list of specialised providers is not only easier to manage, but you’ll be surprised at the increased quality levels that will come from providers who are no longer competing with every Joe Soap and who feel they can invest time and effort in developing long-term relationships with you.

Tags:  agency  APSO  assessment  candidate  CV  guarantee period  interview  performance management  placements  preferred supplier listing  recruiter  shortlist  skill  staffing  verification 

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Choosing a TES provider

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

With the current uncertainty around the temporary employment services (TES) regulations, many companies are worried about engaging new TES suppliers or beginning new contracts. And because of the joint and several liability risks that already exist under current legislation, this is a critical decision that businesses should not make lightly.

So how do you know who to choose?

At present there are low or no barriers to entry and this means that companies may find themselves dealing with an operator that is inexperienced or incapable of delivering a compliant service. To mitigate risk, we recommend that companies choose only to deal with TES providers who belong to a recognised professional body, such as the Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations (APSO), where they are required to meet minimum compliance standards and subscribe to a code of ethics and best practice.

APSO membership hinges on compliance of the TES in terms of statutory regulations and meeting minimum operational standards to protect clients, work seekers and the image of the industry as a whole. For more specific detail on the exact compliance requirements, please visit

What questions should you ask?

Whether you choose to work with a company that belongs to a professional body or not, there are a few questions that you should ask every TES provider who you intend to work with including:

  1. Are they registered with the Department of Labour and in possession of a Private Employment Agencies (PEA) certificate?
  2. Are they registered, and in good standing, with SARS in terms of tax, VAT, PAYE, UIF, SDL and other employee deductions?
  3. If you work within a regulated sector, is the TES provider registered, and in good standing, with the applicable Bargaining Council and are their employee contracts and operations compliant with the collective agreements?
  4. Do they have sound internal policies and procedures to ensure fair labour relations practices and have they clearly explained the expectations of your role in the triangular employment relationship?
  5. Are there sufficient resources to ensure that TES employees are paid regularly, on the agreed dates, and that all associated employee administration is managed in accordance with legislation?

Choosing to work with an APSO member agency will provide you with comfort that the agency has undergone the compliance checks and is held accountable to the APSO Code of Ethical & Professional Practice. In the event of a dispute with the member agency, the company can lodge a complaint with APSO and have the matter resolved at no cost. For more information on the benefits of working with an APSO member agency, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 011 615 9417.

Tags:  APSO  compliance  Department of Labour  employee  fees  joint & several liability  preferred supplier listing  risk  SARS  statutory costs  temp  TES 

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Picking a Recruitment Partner

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

Choosing a recruitment agency is an important decision, after all, the agency is an extension of your company in the minds of candidates and you definitely don’t want desirable candidates to be turned off by their interactions with your recruiter.

Partnering with the right agency should save you time, ensure that you’re able to source the best candidates who wouldn’t be accessible to you via other means, and guide and assist you throughout the hiring process.

When one considers that the vast majority of the skilled workforce is not actively looking for a new job, you must ensure that your chosen recruitment partner is able to access the best people in the field, not just those who are unhappy and have sent their CV out everywhere. In order to do this, you have to form a strategic partnership with a well connected, experienced recruiter who can bring in the talent necessary to transform your business.

Because there are currently no, or very low barriers to entry, there are literally thousands of individuals and companies claiming to be recruitment consultants. How do you choose from the myriad of options that all appear to be the same if you listen to their rehearsed telephone sales pitches or read their generic company profiles?

For most businesses, appointing a recruitment agency usually comes down to the following four factors: 

  • Cost
  • Time
  • Quality of candidates
  • Advertising reach, i.e. who is their audience

Whilst these are common factors that should always be considered, the real debate is how you weight the factors – at the end of the day, it should always be about getting results!

An HR Officer recently told me, "Criteria important to me are cost, quality of candidate, turnaround time, and reputation for successfully placing candidates into regular positions.”

Whilst cost is important, you should rather measure your recruitment partner on other factors to more accurately determine the return on investment before simply choosing to do business with the agency that is prepared to charge you the least. Some key factors to be considered include:

Quality Recruitment Consultants

The quality of the individual recruiters working within the recruitment company will directly influence the success rate of finding, and securing, the best talent available. 

Do you feel comfortable talking to the recruiter, do they seem intelligent and do they have a genuine interest in understanding your business to ensure a good fit, not just of technical competence but also of culture fit within your business context?

Do they demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the current job market and do they utilize this information to make suggestions to you on how you can improve your recruitment and selection process to attract the top talent?

How does your recruiter interact with candidates?

Do they have a professional, honest and consistent process for candidate management?

And most importantly, do you believe that your recruiter operates ethically and honestly and will be a good brand ambassador for your company?

Recruitment Methodology

Not all agencies can be compared. Unless you ask what the agency’s recruitment methodology is, you might unfairly be comparing apples with oranges. Many "recruitment agencies” rely heavily on advertising and utilizing job portals to simply source a CV to send directly to the client, but this can be detrimental to clients who are looking to source candidates who are not actively in the market or who have been already been considered by all and sundry, including your competitors.

Ask the agency to fully explain their methodology including advertising, sourcing and networking to find suitable candidates. Do you know for sure how candidates are screened before they’re submitted to you for consideration? Don’t assume that all agencies interview candidates face-to-face, verify information contained on the CV and conduct reference checks. Check that you’re happy with the screening process and the level of information that is being provided to you so that you can effectively ascertain whether or not to bring a candidate in for an interview.

APSO member agencies are bound by the APSO Code of Ethical and Professional Practice which prescribes minimum service levels in terms of client and candidate service. If you choose to work with an APSO member and you’re unhappy with the level of service, you have recourse via the APSO Ethics complaint process.

Specialism & Experience

Does the agency specialise in the area you’re recruiting? It is perfectly reasonable to make use of several agencies for different areas of your business to ensure that you’re dealing with a recruiter who fully understands the environment in which the candidate will be working and who can leverage their networks in this area to source the best talent available for a specific vacancy.

Have they got a proven track record of previous success in placing candidates in this field? Working with a specialist recruiter means that you have a recruitment partner who knows the right people to contact and who can appreciate the technical and business nuances that will contribute to making a successful hire.

"A key criteria for me when choosing a recruitment provider is whether they have the business maturity to interpret the company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and turn that into a compelling dialogue that will attract more of the right sorts of people for us to interview,” says a Marketing Manager responsible for recruitment of staff for his department.

Reputable & Referenceable

A good recruitment agency should be able to provide you, if asked, with strong testimonials from companies in similar industries who have made use of their service. Consider querying your own network about whether they’re aware of the agency’s work and reputation.

Personal Service

Your recruiter should provide you with personal service and this means you should have a designated single point of contact within the agency who you feel is always available and approachable. You should have open channels of communication that are direct and not driven through email. You should feel confident that your recruiter fully understands your business and the associated requirements of the respective positions so that they only send candidates who they know are a match. Furthermore your recruiter should be available to assist you with the full process, including providing guidance on setting up interview questions and even joining in on panel interviews.

A leading corporate Recruitment Manager says, "I tend to prefer external recruitment providers who know how to run an intelligent campaign, who take ownership of the vacancy or project and who I trust will source the right candidates.”

Terms of Business

Utilizing external recruitment providers can be very costly, but there are usually many different fee options available to clients who are willing to work with the agency. Many agencies are willing to offer reduced rates to clients who offer them exclusivity or who work with them on a continued, retained basis.

Above all, companies should remember that they will get the best possible return from their recruitment company if they are treated as partners rather than transactional suppliers. To this end, you should always be sure to invest the time to brief your recruiter to ensure that they have an in-depth understanding of your business and requirement so that you will receive the level of service you want. A close working relationship between recruiter and client has been proven to improve hiring success.

Tags:  advertising  APSO  cost  CV  ethics  preferred supplier listing  quality  recruiter  recruitment methodology  sourcing  verification 

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