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Recruitment Consultants and HR – A Match Made in Heaven?

10 months ago - Mark Ashton

Having worked in the technology recruitment sector for some time, I am always intrigued to hear stories from fellow recruitment consultants, HR advisors and Hiring Managers about their experiences with one another. On both sides of the fence, there are the good, the bad, and the ugly.

In this post, I will elaborate on these experiences, setting out how a HR or Hiring Manager can get the best from a recruitment consultant, in order to achieve a nice zen-like working relationship that will last and stand the test of time.

Preferred Supplier Lists – Are They Worth It?

A PSL is always a good route to take for the HR or Hiring Manager who has got vacancies to fill. Rather than accepting and working with a large number of agencies or individuals, taking the time to carefully select those whom you find it easy to deal with, and those who provide good quality candidates, that are suited and well-matched to the roles you are advertising is essential.

There is nothing more frustrating than spending hour upon hour sifting through CV’s that are sent to you, some of which, bear no resemblance whatsoever regarding the experience or skill-set and relevance to the roles that you are recruiting for. This ‘hit-and-hope’ approach to recruitment is a complete and utter waste of time, for all parties concerned. Choosing your preferred suppliers means selecting the best recruitment consultant or agencies carefully.

Selecting Those Who Value Your Time Is Vital

If you have ever been swamped with phone calls from recruiters wanting to see if you have any vacancies, this can be a real turn-off in the least; it is also quite annoying. Especially, when you are getting called several times a day, or frequently throughout the week, over and over by the same people.  This is another reason why having a preferred supplier, or a number of consultants that you know and trust to work with is key.

Working with a professional recruitment consultant whom you can build a relationship with is important. It is about building a good rapport with the contacts you not only find it easy to talk to but those who deliver good quality candidates.

Understandably more companies are sourcing direct by way of reducing their  costs to hire. Although candidate identification has never been easier with tools such as LinkedIn, online job boards and social media, the recruiter’s skill is converting these prospects into meaningful and committed candidates for a job. Turning that prospect on LinkedIn into a placement takes influence, persuasion and a firm hand to manage the process.

The value of a recruiter is their network, finding the candidate that companies cannot capture via conventional methods. It’s a level playing field with so many candidates visible on the web. It’s not about how much money you have to spend on advertising anymore. Smaller agile recruiters are beating the big advertisers by using social media and building a trusted brand. Ask your recruiters about the channels they use for sourcing. The size of their network, digital sourcing, data mining, phone sourcing, active referrals, and social sourcing.

Once you have found an agency, it is important to place your trust in them and give them the chance to work for you, supporting your objectives and your business. This starts with giving them clear visibility of your open positions, or even giving them a heads-up on any vacancies that you know are in the pipeline.

If a consultant knows they can earn their fee from providing you with good quality candidates, then they will work hard to help you fill the seats in your business with exceptional people. This is definitely a role where relationships are important and communication is key.

Meet with your Contact in Person

Of course, we all know how hard it can be to fit in your normal day-to-day activities, let alone when you are faced with an additional recruitment task. If you are committed to finding an exceptional recruiter to work with, then taking the time to meet with them in person can really pay you dividends.

It is a great way for an HR or Hiring Manager to set the ground rules, and state any expectations clearly. This way, you both know what each expects from one another from the onset. It also gives them a real understanding of the culture within the company; which as HR Managers now all too well, how important this is when evaluating a candidates’ suitability in terms of team fit and company culture.

Another idea is offer exclusivity to an agency for a couple of weeks. Think about if you offer a job to 5 agencies then it’s a race to the finish rather than a quality search. If you are offering 1/5th (20%), commitment to the agency should you expect anything more back? Try placing 100% trust in one agency, and you will be surprised; you should find you get an increase in quality and the candidate enjoys a better experience too, which in turn reflects well on your business.

Working Together, with Respect

It is often the case when a great candidate becomes available; several recruiters will get wind of this. If one consultant has spent time introducing your business to the client and has taken the time to evaluate that person’s suitability for a specific role; and the other has just sent you their CV without spending any time with the candidate, no adding any value to the candidate or the overall process. Then, acting in a fair and respectful way will earn you a great deal of respect, and cement that relationship even more so.

Offering a 50/50 commission split is one option. Another is simply asking the candidate which agency they spoke to first about the vacancy as can go a long way in ascertaining the best way to proceed.

Getting to a point where you have a single, or several recruitment agencies on hand to help you quickly locate and interview prospects that are suited not just to the role, but also to the business is vital.

Once you have confidence in the agency, and the recruiter knows that you trust them to work with you; your brand and business are fully represented in an accurate and fair manner.

Then, you really can have a match made in heaven that works for all parties concerned.

Are there any tips you can add to this that would formulate the perfect concoction for HR and Recruitment that I have not included?

Do you have any suggestions for a HR advisor looking to hire a new recruitment consultant or vice-versa, for a recruitment consultant who is looking to find new businesses to work with?