Are your recruiters failing to deliver results?
Whether you are a small business owner, an internal recruiter, or a procurement director for a multinational corporation, if you use recruitment agencies to fill your vacancies, I would guess that when asked what you want from your recruitment team, that you would all say the same thing.
Whether you are looking to recruit temporary, permanent or contract workers into your business, all you really want is a professional recruitment service that is value for money… Right?
Now there are a lot of companies and individuals out there that will say they have had bad experiences with recruitment agencies. Maybe you are one of them. Maybe you have been struggling to get quality candidates to fill your vacancies despite a plethora of recruiters promising you the world…
But, without meaning to sound controversial, have you ever considered that your working practices might be contributing to your problems? That maybe, despite having the best interests of your company at heart when they were first created and introduced, that they no longer work in the current market?
Here are a few things that you might want to consider if you want to get the best results when engaging a recruiter or a recruitment agency:
Consider Exclusivity (or only using a couple of trusted suppliers)
Imagine you have an urgent vacancy to fill and you don’t have the time or resources to fill it yourself. What are your options? You may already have a PSL of 5-10 agencies in place, or you might be tempted to go to your pin board and call everyone that has contacted you over the last 12 months and get them all working on your vacancy. Surely that will get it filled quickly with minimal fuss? Well believe it or not but this might not be the best strategy:
- Firstly, good recruiters will be aware of what their competitors are working on, and as the number of recruiters working on a vacancy increases, so does the risk that the recruiter is working for nothing. As you can imagine this tends to put even the best of us off, and we will inevitably invest less time in your vacancy and more time on the vacancies that give us a higher chance of making money and earning a living.
- Secondly, knowing that you are up against other agencies means you are in a race. Speed becomes more important as every agency is fishing in the same candidate pool. This can result in less time being spent on matching and qualifying the candidates to your specific requirements. In the end, you might end up spending a good deal of time rejecting CVs and wishing you had just done it yourself.
Exclusivity however will give an agency a much greater chance of filling a vacancy and as a result they are likely to, not only offer better terms but also allocate much more of their time to you and your role. Knowing they are not in a race will mean the screening and qualifying process can be lengthier and you are more likely to see a higher calibre of CV but a much smaller number.
Remember “value for money” doesn’t mean cheap
So you are nearly ready to go. All that you need to do now is agree terms. You may be tempted to tell your chosen suppliers that JoeBloggsRecruitment.com has agreed to work at 10% and that they will have to match it if they want to work on the vacancy.
Again, this could be a mistake… We are all currently working in a candidate driven market (certainly in West Oxfordshire and throughout the Cotswolds) which means each candidate is likely to have several opportunities available to them.
Consider for a minute that a recruiter has two Project Manager roles with companies paying the same salary in West Oxfordshire. Company A from Witney has terms at 10% and Company B from Stow has terms at 18%. The recruiter sources a great PM. Which job do you think they sell to the candidate first? and which company sees the CV first?
By trying to save a couple of hundred pounds and avoiding paying market rate you could miss out on the best candidates. Worse still your vacancy might remain open for a greater period of time which comes with its own costs to your business.
If you really want value for money and not just the cheapest price, ask what service you will get for your money and negotiate your terms based on what you need from your recruitment partner.
…remember you can only pick two!
Treat your agency supplier like a business partner
Now it stands to reason that the more a recruiter knows about the client, the team, the role, the better placed they are to fully inform the candidate, and the better job they can do at matching candidates to a company’s culture.
So, if your agency partner asks for a visit, or asks to meet the hiring manager, make every effort to facilitate that request. If you don’t, then you shouldn’t be surprised when the first few CVs are not exactly what you were looking for.
It’s also a good idea to adopt a relationship based on “full disclosure”. If your position is vacant because the department leader is “difficult to deal with”, or the location is a “yet to be converted” barn then it is best to be honest about this from the beginning. Your Recruitment partner has a better chance of finding someone that can deal with these challenges if they know about them in advance and the likelihood of a candidate dropping out in the first few months will be greatly reduced.
Treat your candidates with respect
As I outlined earlier in this blog, if you are responsible for hiring or interviewing for your organisation, you need to understand that the way the market currently sits means that good candidates are likely to have a number of opportunities available to them. Unemployment rates and low and there are more jobs than qualified candidates to fill them.
If you are not flexible in your approach, if you take too long, have too many stages, insist on irrelevant additional tests and forms (because you’ve always done them), and if you don’t understand that the candidates are interviewing you too, then you will lose out to your competitors, and it doesn’t matter how good your recruiters (internal or external) are.
Recruitment is a two-way street, and from the moment that a candidate’s CV is submitted you are being judged. Be prepared to give feedback on CVs and interviews in a timely manner, and make sure your interviewers are confident and competent. Your recruiter should let you know what a candidate’s motivation for changing jobs is prior to the interview so that you can cover these points off. If you do like them, you can tell them you like them. You don’t have to keep it a secret and keep them on edge. A positive ending to an interview could be the difference between accepting your offer or someone else’s.
If you do lack experience in interviewing and you don’t have an HR team to support you, your agency should be able to give you some help and many will sit in with you and help conduct the interview if you need that help.
I hope that you find this useful and something to think about when you next choose to employ a recruitment agency.
The Burford Recruitment Company
At the Burford Recruitment Company, we strive to work with clients who understand the value of a good recruitment partner. Should you need any assistance in recruiting across the Cotswolds we would happily have a chat about the best way to help you. We believe we can offer a solution that is “value for money”, just don’t be surprised when we ask for a visit!