Q: How am I supposed to use a recruiter when my company had a horrible experience with a firm?
A: A great question and an excellent starting point for my advice on working with third-party recruiters. I’ve been in the staffing industry for 13 years. I know the good and bad of this business. In any relationship there’s accountability on both sides. The key phrase here is ‘relationship’. Do you see a recruiter as:
a) A valuable resource for your business and a strategic, knowledgeable partner
b) A headhunter who’s a necessary evil with large fees and bad faith guarantees
Your viewpoint has produced your history with recruiters. That future can change. Here are five ways to improve your experience working with recruiters.
It’s All About Engagement
1. Time Has a Direct Effect on Success. The recruiter never referred any candidates, but perhaps you waited too long to phone a friend. Call recruiters no later than 30-days from the start of a search. More time to do their thing — research, solicitation and candidate vetting — means more referrals for you.
2. Contracts Are Not ‘One Size Fits All’. Insurance recruiting agreements come in many forms — contingency, engaged, retained, contained and RPO. Did your recruiter educate you on the differences? Terms, conditions, guarantees and fees are negotiable. Find out your options. Then make the choice knowing you get what you pay for.
3. Create Complementary Boundaries. Have a conversation that defines Right of Referral. Talk about where you and the recruiter will source candidates. There’s no reason to trip over each other or recreate the sourcing wheel. Understanding one another’s resources sets basic rules of engagement.
Communication and Transparency
4. Representation Matters. Recruiters are an extension of your company brand. Job advertisements, social posts and calls with candidates should be your words coming from their lips. Ask to review job advertisements. Hear their elevator speech. Be in control of your narrative.
5. Feedback Is Next to Godliness. Glassdoor’s 2019 survey through The Harris Poll found 58% of job seekers listed “clear and regular communication” as most important to a positive search experience. Recruiters care about the same issues. Give feedback within 24-hours of referrals and interviews. Provide specific reasons for rejecting applicants. Otherwise they turn their attention elsewhere just like candidates.
Food For Thought:
Recruiters are your most valuable interpersonal hiring tool. According to Glassdoor’s 50 HR & Recruiting Stats for 2019, “Recruiting and HR success in 2019 and beyond will be about understanding candidate and employee needs and crafting experiences to meet them.” Don’t rely exclusively on commoditized recruiting tools — Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, Facebook and so forth. Who better to craft experience to meet candidates than a human being who understands your business and advocates for it? Let a recruiter become that for your business.
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