Your chosen recruitment agency is there to bridge the gap between you as an employer and job-seekers as potential employees.
They may work alongside your internal HR function when sourcing candidates externally, or you may completely outsource your recruitment to the agency. Whichever your situation, you want to ensuring your organisation gets value for money is essential. When you engage a recruitment consultant, you’re entering the relationship for mutual benefit. It’s not a one-way street as I discussed in my previous blog discussing how to create a successful Managed Service Provider partnership.
In contrast to my previous blog, this article is about the step before terminating your recruitment supplier relationship. It’s about ensuring you’re getting value from money from the relationship – ensuring it’s mutually beneficial. This is going to be relevant to most organisations. Generally speaking, everyone’s going to partner with a recruitment agency at some stage. Whether you’re an expanding organisation or have high rates of attrition you need to account for, sometimes partnering with a recruitment agency can be the only way to find the candidates you’re looking for. Recruitment can come in many shapes and sizes - take a look at my previous blog explaining Recruitment Process Outsourcing for more information on that.
Regardless of the situation, there are a number of key drivers behind engaging a recruitment agency. It can be reducing your time to hire, increasing the quality of employees joining your company or sourcing candidates with unique skill sets that few have. Whatever the reason, there’s a price attached, so you want to make sure you’re getting value for money and that the partnership is actually helping to achieve your overall recruitment or business objective.
A Trusted Relationship
Your recruitment agency shouldn’t feel like a third wheel. They should act as an extension to your business or your internal HR department, sitting alongside your permanent employees. This will help them to have in-depth knowledge of your organisations including your employer value proposition, culture and expectations from new hires. This in turn will help them to sell your organisation in an appropriate manner to potential candidates and represent the values your company holds. This will also help to speed up the recruitment process. If your recruitment agency sits alongside you, they know the demand pipeline inside out, can plan accordingly and build up the relationships with HR personnel and hiring managers to ensure a smooth and efficient process – something key to maintaining your employer brand and providing a positive candidate experience.
However, this works both ways. You as a client have to make the effort to build a two-way trusted relationship. You won’t get the most out of your recruitment agency if you treat this as a transactional approach. You get the most out of a recruiter when you bring them on the journey of the recruitment cycle, giving them forewarning of demand to come, spending time with them to help them understand your organisation and the type of individual you need. Having this open two-way communication really does help to build the foundation of a trusted relationship, and without both parties committing you’re unlikely to achieve the mutually beneficial relationship you’re seeking.
Define Your Engagement
The next area to consider is the type of engagement or service your buying. If you are treating this as a transactional relationship, simply buying a product from a recruiter than don’t expect much more. You’re not taking the time to build a relationship and aren’t sharing enough information for a truly consultative approach. However, if you do engage a Recruitment Consultant, you need to expect them to consult. This means providing you with the added value you might have expected! It’s useful to have a list written and shared with your recruitment agency to set boundaries and guidelines. You might include salary bench-marking, implementation of a diversity strategy, job grading, market mapping, market data, thought leadership, joint events and candidate psychometric testing within that. All of these types of services are added value, but it’s something you can expect your recruitment consultant to provide if you’ve built a long-term trusted relationship.
This can add huge business benefit to your organisation. You’ll gather the insight and intelligence to make the right offers to potential candidates to secure them, you’ll understand the latest talent landscape so you know when to start a search for potentially difficult to fill roles, and you can increase the quality of hires through psychometric testing.
Thorough Understanding of Your Business and Market Sector
Linking to my previous point, your recruitment agency needs to fully understand not only your business, but also the market sector in which you operate. Many will claim that they have this, but in practice do they really? Are they coming to you with valuable insight on a weekly basis, telling you things you don’t already know about the market? Are they challenging your thoughts and practices and helping you innovate and improve your recruitment process?
If your recruitment agency really understands you, they’ll be putting forward perfect candidates. That’s because they know your business and what it takes to succeed. But more than that, they know the market in which you operate. They know how to convince candidates that a job at your organisation is better than one at a competitor. They know how to negotiate successfully and they know the market pressures you face and are sensitive to that.
If you want to find out if your recruitment agency has that specialist industry knowledge, start asking them pertinent questions. Find out who else they work with and see how successful they are for them. Test them regularly on market trends. It’s only recruiters who can prove this to you on an ongoing basis that are going to provide you with the value for money you’re looking for. That’s because they’re taking time out of the recruitment process as they know exactly what to look for and can qualify candidates out early on in the process. Ultimately, this is going to save you time and money.
Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
As I mentioned before, you need to build a two-way relationship with your recruiter. That means putting time and effort into the relationship. How are you going to do this if you manage a huge portfolio of suppliers? I understand the need for niche recruitment agencies, but you should choose only a few to partner deeply with. If you’re working with too many you’re not going to have the time nor the inclination to invest in the relationship and work for it to become truly beneficial. This will mean it turns into a purely transactional relationship, and you don’t get the value for money expected.
In today’s economy and fast-paced digital environment, efficiency is a necessity. You can’t afford to waste money on ineffective recruitment partnerships, so it’s essential you get value for money out of your existing recruitment relationships. If you don’t think you’re getting this at the moment, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we could help reignite your confidence in recruiters.