Top 5 Tips to getting the best out of Recruitment Agencies
Dealing with recruitment agencies can be a real minefield. When you hear some of the horror stories it is no surprise that business owners and hiring managers tread very carefully and often keep recruiters firmly at arm’s length. However there is an alternative.
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Here are my Top 5 Tips to making sure you leverage the full potential of working with a recruiter.
Choose your Recruiter Carefully – Some companies will work with any agency that cold calls them on the premise that the more the merrier and it will help them to fill the role quicker. This is rarely the case as it often results in friction between competing agencies and the odd surprise invoice because the hiring manager has skimmed over the T’s & C’s. It is always worth investing the time to identify an agency that aligns with your company’s objectives, culture, values and that has a ‘service NOT sales’ approach.
Taking clear and measurable steps to identify the best recruitment agencies for local business and ensuring their approach fits in with the preferred recruitment strategies takes time and effort. In the same way as setting out expectations for new employees, businesses should set and agree to clear expectations with the agency in advance. Measures of success can be both direct and implied, such as by offering the potential benefit of a longer term relationship if expectations are met, and sharing outline plans for recruiting solutions.
Look out for Sector Knowledge – When it comes to niche roles it pays to work with recruiters that know their bits from their bytes! Not only will they understand the jargon but they are much more likely to have access to the top talent that you are seeking.
When engaging a recruitment agency, busy MDs and hiring managers often launch straight into detailed explanations of the role they are seeking to fill, and giving insights into their business and current challenges. Whilst this is necessary information to enable the agency to work towards the requested recruiting solution, the mistake on the manager’s part is in not taking due time and effort to assess whether or not the particular agency is well placed to deliver the optimum results.
Take Time to Brief Properly – The more time you invest in briefing the recruitment agency the better. This will show that you mean business and it will further help them sell the role to potential candidates. If you have engaged a good recruiter then you should only receive candidates that match the brief thus saving you time wading through a mixed pile of CV’s.
Hiring managers are often more diligent with these briefings with a new recruitment agency relationship, but do not spend as much time in delivering clear briefings when working on subsequent roles. Even when working with what may be considered to be the best recruitment agency for your business, which has delivered excellent results regularly, hiring managers are advised to treat each briefing for each role as if it was the first one for which the agency has been engaged.
Communicate Regularly – Like any healthy relationship, communication is key. Making sure that you take the time to get back quickly on CVs and keep your recruiter updated on any developments is one sure way of maintaining engagement. When you go quiet there is a risk that the recruiter will see this as a sign that it is not a priority and they may well refocus their attention accordingly.
When feeding back on candidates’ CVs to the recruitment agency, take the time to give specific feedback relating to the candidate’s suitability for the role. This applies both the candidates you wish to take forward to interview or turn down. By treating the feedback as an opportunity to remind the recruiter of the key areas of skills and experience you are looking for, and explaining why a candidate does or does not meet expectations, this enhances the recruiters’ understanding of what is really important to the role. Hiring managers and recruiters should take such feedback as an opportunity to review whether or not the Job Description and advert have the correct focus on the key areas.
Consider an Exclusive Engagement –Quality driven professional recruiters will also be apprehensive to invest their precious time on searches where they will be pressured to grab and throw the first half decent CVs they find. They will be much more motivated to work with clients that fully appreciate the benefits of letting them conduct a deep and thorough search where they can qualify and brief candidates fully. This takes time to do well, but benefits the process immensely and enables the recruiter to save the business time by ensuring they only submit well qualified candidates for review. It goes without saying that you will always be better off hiring the right candidate rather than the first half decent one that comes along!
Hiring managers are advised to review the outcomes at the end of any recruitment process, which should include measures relating to the number of unsuitable candidates submitted, responsiveness of the recruiter, ease of working with them, and of course satisfaction with the final outcome. The level of satisfaction against the criteria deemed important to the business should be used to make an informed decision regarding engagement for future recruiting solutions, and potential exclusivity.
As it is often said, you get out what you put in. There are plenty of honest and professional recruiters out there looking to partner with companies for mutual benefit. The art is being able to spot the ‘smash and grab’ recruiters from the true professionals who are passionate about adding value to the talent acquisition process.
Careerz Limited, based in Canterbury, specialise in technology and marketing recruitment and talent acquisition services across Kent and London.
For further information, please contact John Adams on 07881 623119 or 01227 656 888