How to Get the Most Out of Partnerships with Recruitment Firms

Many employers experience significant difficulties in finding the best candidates for their specialist positions on their own. This is where recruitment agencies come into play. They take on the role of HR and save you valuable time and money in sourcing the ideal talent for your organization. Recruiting firms, thus, add tremendous value to an organization’s talent acquisition landscape. However, one challenge businesses face when working with a recruiting firm is knowing how to maximize the benefits associated with the partnership. Like in any profession, there are recruitment specialists who work hard to offer value and then there are those who simply fill the vacancy and collect their commission. These unethical client service providers give the entire industry a bad reputation. Fortunately, they are only part of the minority.

Just as you would carefully select an architect to build your house, tactfully choosing a recruiter to build your team is a crucial aspect that you must not overlook. Assuming that you have landed a relationship with one of the better recruiting firms, how do you further cultivate this  relationship and get the most out of the service to be provided?

Ways to Improve Your Recruitment Relationship

#1 – Give All the Necessary and Relevant Information

Working with a recruitment firm means providing them with all the relevant details to find and match the right talent for your vacant position. Make sure to let your recruiter know all of the following information, or sit down and collaborate on putting it together:

  • A relevant and catchy job title that candidates can easily identify with
  • Background information about your company, and any key selling points the recruiter can use to entice candidates to consider working with you. Here you can outline your thoughts on career progression, company culture, perks, training, as well as highlighting company goals and achievements
  • Background information about the role and its overall purpose in your organization
  • Clearly defined areas of responsibilities and duties to be performed
  • A well-defined list of essential and advantageous skills, as well as key attributes and experience you are looking for in a candidate
  • Be sure to have a frank discussion with your recruiter about your budget for the role, and seek their feedback on whether this is competitive in the market and be prepared to adjust, or assess based on market mapping.
  • Outline all of the benefits provided by your company, as well as anything specific for the role
  • Ensure you take the time to orientate the recruiter with your business, your products or services, your website and any other sources of information the recruiter can share with candidates to further secure their interest

Additionally, keep in mind that the first contact is the most crucial. There is no better time to build a strong bond with your recruitment consultant than from the beginning of a relationship. Be sure to make a good first impression on your recruiter, just as they make a positive impression on you.

#2 – Commit to and stick to providing fast feedback to your recruiter

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Image source: Linkedin.com

Providing timely feedback and an open dialogue of communication is absolutely critical for your recruiter. Not only does it show them you are committed to the engagement, but it provides them with opportunities to serve you better.

  • It allows you to deliberate on early candidate profiles that have been identified, and use these to re-calibrate if necessary. In time this will lead to you receiving only the most relevant full endorsements
  • You will foster a sense of urgency and of mutual respect with your recruiter, ensuring you are always at the forefront of their mind, and that they are excited to deliver great results for you
  • Often you will be recruiting in very competitive candidate markets where each candidate must be treated like gold. But regardless of how competitive the market is, the candidate’s experience of dealing with your company is a critical factor in determining if they will accept any offer you may make. Often the recruiter has put a lot of time into cultivating candidate relationships prior to any candidates being endorsed to you. They have sold the opportunity of how great it will be to land a position with your company, and this must be reinforced by the experience the candidate has when dealing with you directly. Aside from the obvious personal treatment of the candidate, the experience is often measured in efficiency. In other words, how quickly can you move the candidate through the interview, feedback and hiring process? If this is slow, unorganized or negative in any other way, this is sure to leave the candidate feeling that other aspects of your business may be run in a similar manner. You run a very real risk of losing exceptional talent under these circumstances. When this happens, it also of great concern to your recruitment partner, and can lead to a recruiter having reservations about endorsing more top talent from within their network.
  • Not only is fast, relevant and constructive feedback vital in keeping candidates interested and engaged, but if your organization is slow in providing feedback to interviewed candidates, the recruiter may completely lose the candidate to a competing company, one who moves candidates quickly through the recruitment process, and provides them with an offer whilst you are still scrambling to provide your recruiter with feedback on endorsed candidates or interviews.   Basically, once you commit to a recruitment drive, you will have to be prepared to prioritize time for hiring and to act fast to snag the ideal candidate before your competitors do.

Failure to communicate on a timely and consistent basis is the quickest way to lose candidates and to become a low recruitment priority. Therefore, be sure to set a timeline at the start of the recruitment campaign, so that expectations for the recruiting firm and the candidate can be clearly communicated and maintained.

#3 – Keep the recruiter immediately updated if anything changes

You need to keep your recruiter in the loop about any adjustments in the original plan,. Whether this is a change at the company level that will impact a recruitment drive, or whether it is something specific to the role itself. Please ensure your recruiter is immediately in the loop. Often these changes are made internally, and if the recruiter is not informed they may not have factored these changes in, and they can be focusing their search on an outdated brief that is missing a key candidate selection criteria, or they may even be putting efforts into a recruitment drive that has been cancelled several days ago, but not communicated.

#4 – Do Not Get Ahead of the Recruiter

Assuming you are partnered with a top firm, the recruiter you are working with is an expert, so he or she knows how to evaluate the candidates against each other and the requirement for the role. Allow time for your recruiter to provide input into strategy and to formulate the best approach. Providing restrictions early on may limit some of the tools that the recruiter requires to attract the caliber of candidate you wish to target. Therefore, allow your recruiter time to consult with you, and to provide advice on what they need from you in order to create a successful recruitment campaign. A campaign that will not only uncover top-notch talent, but one that will entice selected candidates to accept any job offer that you wish to make. The recruiter is at the forefront of the talent market full-time, and they know what it takes to find talent and covert a candidates’ interest into a successfully singed employment agreement that is fair to both parties. Therefore, helping you get off to the right start with your new employee, and fostering a positive outcome and greater potential for long-term retention and commitment from your new hire.

#5 – Ask for Opinions or Advice on Matters Pertaining to the Recruitment Process

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Image source: Entrepreneur.com

A good consultant knows the market like the back of his or her hand and can determine if your requirements are relative to your salary offer. He or she can also give you a heads up when you are about to lose a candidate, pinpoint what it was that led to you losing that candidate, and offer you advice on what could be done to reduce the odds of it happening again in the future.

Simply work together to improve your recruitment campaign. Treat your consultant as your recruitment partner and not just a mere adviser. Seeking advice from your recruiter goes to show that you value their expertise and that you are committed in the search process.

#6 – Clearly define internal processes and share them with your recruiter

When you provide details about your company and the role, also be sure to explicitly state exactly what is involved in internal recruitment procedures.  For instance, if your organization’s approval process is complex and involves multiple members of the management team to interview a candidate and to provide feedback, make sure your consultant fully understands it. Similarly, be honest about the company’s environment, culture, and compensation. Otherwise, your recruiter might put forward the wrong candidates and delay the hiring process.

#7 – Set Aside Some Time to Develop the Relationship

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Image source: chambeau.com

Some employers think that all they have to do to find quality talent is to post a job listing on big career websites and hope for the best. But many times, doing so can just end up wasting resources as you only attract active jobseekers, who are often unemployed or leaving a current employer for questionable reasons. As an employer working with a recruitment consultant who is dealing mainly with a network of fully employed, passive talent (those not actively seeking a new employment opportunity), you particularly need to set aside some extra time to forge a relationship with your recruiting partner. In this way your needs, vision, goals, and timeframes are on the same page.  Since specialized recruiters are dealing with passive talent, the communication of these matters to candidates is absolutely critical, as the recruiter only has one chance to make a great first impression on highly targeted, top candidates for your role.

Keep in mind, recruitment is all about forging good partnerships and long-lasting relationships. While building a solid one  may take a bit of time and effort, it can reap great rewards when you are able to acquire talent who can take your business to the next level. A good recruitment firm will always invest a great deal of time into building supportive, consultative and dialogue driven relationships with their clients. However, the level of service and commitment that can be provided will always be limited by how any particular client supports their recruitment consultant’s efforts with fast and consistent two-way communication and a commitment to a positive candidate experience. If you follow the tips above you will be sure to be doing your best to ultimately help your recruitment firm to do their best when supporting you with your important hiring needs.