Home Features Browse Recruitment Feature ‘Back to the future’ for the IT recruitment industry

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Russell MacDonald brings many years of experience in the recruitment industry to his role as Managing Director of his own, specialist IT recruitment firm, RMA IT Recruitment. In this interview with iTWire, MacDonald give his views on how the industry can survive and thrive in tough economic times, particularly from the unqiue perspective of one of the small to medium sized agencies in the business.

It is a case of “back to the future” in the IT recruitment business for Russell MacDonald, the owner/director of his own Melbourne-based recruitment agency, RMA IT Recruitment, with offices in Sydney and Singapore.

In the current environment, with many agencies in the recruitment sector in Australia feeling the pinch as clients tighten budgets and cut back on hiring of new staff, Russell MacDonald says  agency recruiting is returning to the pre-job board days where a recruitment consultant had to be well networked, able to link high calibre individuals with a range of clients and offer value and “great service.”

By “back to the future” MacDonald is reflecting on the fact that at a time of cost-cutting and a retraction in hiring across both the private and public sectors,  recruiters are having to deliver greater added-value than they might have done in the so-called good times when business was booming and hiring was moving along at a rapid pace.

Add to that the fact that client companies, in some cases, have gone back to doing their own hiring, something they believe can be  done  by employing a good Recruitment Manager and placing ads for new staff on the multitude of job boards which are now very much a feature of the employment and recruitment landscape here in Australia. The largest  job board of them all – Seek – is testimony to the influence of these boards, attracting a large volume of advertisers, and candidates, across many industry sectors, including the IT industry. Social media also plays a part here, as well as do job referral programs.

Russell MacDonald’s recruitment agency, RMA, is one of the many small to medium agencies in Australia servicing various business and industry sectors, and in RMA’s case, specialising in the IT industry.

While MacDonald acknowledges that there’s clearly a place for companies – big and small – to handle their own recruiting, he is of the view that the best approach to hiring for any company is to have good, in-house people manage the process, balanced  by the use of the “experts” in the company’s appointed recruitment agency.

“The ability to be quick to market, provided by job boards, social media and other channels, has created its own set of problems, particularly around volume and quality of candidates,” MacDonald cautions.

“Those organisations with thorough candidate management, interview processes and their own internal databases and networks are best placed to be efficient in the hiring process for their clients.”Public databases are valuable but I wouldn’t want to rely on them,” MacDonald points out when talking about clients who may want to handle their own hiring through the use of job-boards, rather than the specialised internal database of their recruitment agency.

“The other big concern for clients these days is compliance, including workplace safety, inductions, and privacy, and  recruitment firms are geared to handle these challenges.”


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Peter Dinham


Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).