I won’t be the only recruiter out there to tell you that times are changing and the market is picking up. After a few years of a slightly slower market, 2015 has seen some of the highest order flows from both Government and Commercial employers in a long time. This has been pushed out to the market and high quality candidates are now regularly receiving 2-3 offers of employment, inevitably leaving some managers (and recruiters) disappointed. This is a regular discussion point for all recruiters and hiring managers: “How do we find the right candidates, and how do we make sure they will accept our offer over any other?”. While reflecting on this, it also led me to consider how employers can get the best of their recruiters, ensuring recruitment success.
- Partnership… This is surely one of the most over-used and under-actualised words in any business to business environment. Realistically most recruitment agencies are an external entity that hiring managers or HR departments liaise with when all other avenues have been exhausted. If you don’t need them, you aren’t going to call and see how their week has been. My experience is that the most successful and painless recruitment transactions come from building relationships based on transparency and trust over time. I still have clients for whom I no longer officially recruit, but we still catch up regularly, both certain in the knowledge that at some point in the future when the stars are in alignment we will work together again. This is Partnership.
- Rates… All I can say here is pay fair recruitment rates, and as with anything if you want better results you have to pay a premium. If you are a large player in the market you are able to stand firm on your rates and negotiate a good deal, because 500 contractors at single-digit margins can be profitable for a recruiter with the right delivery model. Your medium size businesses need to remember that they don’t have that kind of volume so would expect to pay more. Perhaps the strongest example is your small business that only hires a handful of people a year, but where the impact of a single hire is much greater on the organisation (in a good or bad way, depending on the success of the recruitment exercise). These business owners need to expect to pay a premium; the extra few thousand dollars up front will repay itself a hundred-fold on a truly good quality hire.
Remember that recruitment is sales. I am going to sell my best candidates to the companies that give me the best price first. These are also usually the businesses that think long term, don’t shy away from an upfront cost, and place high value on their staff and ongoing development.
- Be available… A chef wouldn’t send out food without being able to taste it first, a musician wouldn’t release an album without first listening to it, but I am supposed to sell a position to a candidate without having a discussion about it? As the market picks up, hiring managers need to be available to give their recruiters as detailed a brief as possible. Make them understand your business and the role you are looking to fill. You should think of your recruiter as an outsourced member of your company who is going to be your brand ambassador – they should be able to talk about your vacancy as though they’ve worked for you for years. This allows your recruiter to pass on this information to the candidates in the best way, and increase the chances of finding the right person. It also decreases the chance of issues arising… Or you could be like some hiring managers: send a 5 line email, not answer the phone, and then act annoyed/surprised when your candidate takes another role or you don’t interview anyone you really like.
- Provide feedback… Do you remember that time you applied for a role and received no feedback, or went to that interview and just got a “sorry but they went with another candidate, I will chase for more feedback for you”? Didn’t feel great did it? Whilst I’m not passing all the blame for this away from recruiters, as we have been known to be pretty bad as providing feedback, our clients can sometimes fall very short in this area. Not providing feedback makes you, and me, look unprofessional, and ultimately it impacts your organisation’s brand in all the wrong ways.
- Exclusivity… I know it’s so tempting to go out to a number of recruiters at the same time, thinking you will get much better coverage of the market, but I can assure you this is not the case. In recruitment an exclusive role is the much preferred method of working. The recruiter knows that the fee is going to be paid to them, so they really invest a huge amount of time and effort into finding the right candidate, representing the employer as well as they possibly can, and leaving all concerned with a fairy-tale ending. By opting for a contingent recruitment exercise (listing the vacancy with multiple agencies), you greatly reduce the recruiter’s chance of filling the role. 4 agencies means each agency has a 25% chance of filling the role, so they have to work 4 times as many roles, spending ¼ of their time on each, to try and achieve the same revenue. The best recruiters I have seen work on 4-6 roles per month, fill them all and everyone is happy. I have seen others that work 30 contingent roles for the same 6 placements. When working a small number of roles your search gets a lot deeper. When you work a vast volume you can only go so deep into a search before you have to move on.
Exclusive vs Contingent Recruitment: How much time is your recruiter spending on your roles?
- Agree a timeline and stick to it… Whilst I understand that recruiting people is probably not your day job and can sometimes fall second to other tasks, having the right people in your organisation is important, and many say critical to your success. So you need to place importance on recruiting and your recruitment process. In the initial call with your recruiter, agree a path to hire and a timeline that sets out when they will provide you an update/shortlist, when resumes will be reviewed, when you can discuss these resumes and when interviews will take place. Then stick to it. The recruiter will have shared the timeline with the applicants to manage their expectations and encourage them to hold off on any other employment offers being accepted. To throw a few clichés out there…”You Snooze you lose”, “time kills all deals”.
- Use Clicks 😉
As always I’d love to hear what strategies you and your recruiter have in place to get the best results. As always, war stories of when things have gone pear shaped are equally welcome. If you want to keep it between us or have any ideas on how Clicks could improve please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org