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We’d like to address the client / recruiter partnership. Most companies find it necessary to augment their recruiting efforts by using third party firms, both contingent and retained. Certainly you expect a very high level of service when you’re working with a retained recruiter. You’re paying the retained recruiter up front to provide the highest level of service and consultation to your organization. With that comes the expectation that they treat your search with the highest priority.

In the real world, however, most of your recruiter interactions will be with contingent firms, where the recruiter is delivering up front services at no charge unless you hire their candidate. How can you get the highest level of service when working with a recruiter on a contingent search?

Successful businesses continually evaluate their pipelines and prioritize their focus and energy based on the likelihood of a successful outcome. The best recruiters are no different. They regularly reassess the search assignments they’re working, determining which they are most likely to fill. They focus their time and energy on these top level search assignments and provide a high level of service to these clients.

With that in mind, here are some strategies to help you get the best results and highest level of service from the recruiters with whom you work:

Be selective.

It is counter intuitive that the more recruiters you use on a search the better the outcome. The reality is that when everybody is working a search, nobody actually works it. Good recruiters are very selective about where they spend their time, focusing on those positions they are most likely to fill. And good candidates are wary of positions that have been plastered all over. Giving a specific search to only one or two good firms will significantly increase the quality of the candidates and service you receive.

Know what you’re looking for.

Before your recruiting partner can effectively source candidates who meet your specifications, all the decision makers need to be in agreement about what makes a good candidate. All need to be in sync regarding the goals and expectations of position, as well as the experience and personality of the candidate most likely to succeed in that position – and this needs to be shared with the recruiter so they can effectively screen potential candidates on your behalf. To do otherwise is counter-productive.

Communicate.

Regular communication with your recruiting partner is key. Provide information – lots of it! Provide feedback. Expect your recruiting partner to do the same. Be upfront about your internal processes so the recruiter can set candidate expectations appropriately. Let the recruiter know what you’ve already done to fill the position so they can augment your efforts, not retrace your steps. This will result in better qualified candidates and a shorter recruiting cycle.

Keep the process moving.

Good candidates don’t remain on the market for long. “A” players will typically have multiple opportunities from which to choose, and companies that drag their feet lose out. Even the much vaunted “passive candidate” will lose interest in an opportunity with a company that can’t manage its hiring process in a timely fashion. Streamlining your hiring process will help ensure that you don’t lose good candidates because of poor timing.

Sell Your Opportunity.

The best candidates have options – they’re actively choosing the next step in their careers. Consult with your recruiter about how to sell the unique aspects of your company and the position. What will draw new hires to your organization? Is it growth, geography, management, products, flexibility, opportunity? Is everyone with whom the candidate interviews also selling the company and opportunity? Your recruiter will be promoting your management, the position, and the company. Help them craft an accurate and enticing value proposition.

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