Getting the best out of your recruitment provider

Is your recruitment agency not delivering the results you want? Or are you reluctant to even consider using their services?

Not all recruitment agencies provide a bad service, we’re not all the same but you have to do a bit of work too to get the best out of your recruitment provider.

Why does the industry have a bad rep?

I have worked in the recruitment industry as a Managing Director for nearly 30 years. A lot has changed in these years but in most recent times, the number of recruitment companies has increased dramatically. In fact, 84% of all recruitment agencies registered since 1990 have been within the last decade and in 2018 there was a 46% increase in newly registered agencies since the year before.

computer on desk

In my opinion, the increase is due to the ease of entry to the market. You can recruit from your bedroom, a laptop, phone, and website is all you need. However, I feel this has led to a rise in falling service levels and bad practice within recruitment which has unfortunately tarnished the reputation of the industry.

Focus on the good not the bad…

I feel sometimes companies focus too much on the bad experiences rather than looking at the value a good agency can add. In my view this can lead to a number of scenarios:

  1. You try and negotiate very low fees
  2. You don’t spend time with the agency to give them a good understanding of your company and the role
  3. You use lots of agencies believing they are all the same and this will lead to more candidates

What happens in these scenarios is you feel like you’re not getting the level of service you need and thus, your trust in recruitment agencies diminishes. On top of this, the lack of service then costs you money, time and your productivity and profits are impacted.

Why does this happen?

You may wonder why? Well, would you work as hard for a client who didn’t believe in you and wanted to pay you less than you’re worth? Would you be able to provide a product or service with half a brief?

Working with lots of agencies actually makes it harder for you, not easier. So many different processes, fees and not to mention the duplication of CVs. It will be difficult to tell the good from the bad. Working with a maximum of 3-4 is best or work with an agency who offer a managed service. They will deal with other agencies so you don’t have to, trust me it will make your life much easier.

Good recruitment agencies do exist

However, amongst the cowboys out there, there are a number of very good agencies that can add real value to your business. But, you have to trust, believe and have respect for each other for it to work. We are not miracle workers and do need you to put the time in with us so we can give you what you need.

An Ipad with a CV word cloud image.

Good recruitment agencies are not just CV churners and interview arrangers, they offer a consultative service so use this to your advantage to get ahead of the competition. Take guidance from them on your recruitment process, your candidate expectations and salary/package on offer.

Too often, I’ve seen great candidates lose interest in a role because of the length of time it takes to agree to see them for an interview or make a decision on an offer. We’re in a candidate shortage market. If a candidate pulls out, maybe review your processes and if they are too long, take advice from the agency on how to improve it.

When deciding if to interview a candidate or not when perusing a CV, look for the reasons why you should interview them as opposed to why not. A good reputable agency will have spent time talking to that candidate and made sure they are the right fit for you. Look at why you would hire them and not just the skillset but the overview of their personality and how they would fit in which is just as important.  

I’m really not ranting…. Honest!

Now I might sound like I’m having a rant but actually I just want to outline how not to work with recruitment agencies. In all of the scenarios above, a business relationship starts off on the wrong foot because it starts with no confidence. If you do not believe in your recruitment provider to start with, your service level will not be met.

I understand this can be hard if you’ve had a bad experience in the past but if you take the right steps initially, listen to advice and see a recruitment agency as a partner, not a supplier, you will find an agency that is the right one for you.

Our best clients are the ones we meet and communicate with regularly, who dedicate time to support us to understand their business, what they need and help them improve their recruitment and retention strategies. These clients have not used other agencies as they haven’t needed to. They also trust us enough to book candidates in for an interview without seeing their CV first.

So, how do you find the right recruitment partner?

a highlighter ticking boxes on a checklist printed off on white paper

Firstly, don’t view all recruitment agencies in the same way. All will vary in the way they recruit and the services they offer. With so much choice I can understand why it can be difficult to find the right one for you, so here are some tips:

  • Choose an agency that specialises in your sector.
  • Where possible, select an agency within a 50 miles radius of your location so you can easily organise meetings.
  • Meet with the agency.
  • Ask how often they would like to meet with you. For temporary assignments, every 1-2 weeks is best but for permanent 1-2 times a year is fine.
  • Ask for testimonials and case studies.
  • Look for how long they’ve been established and if they have a good reputation.
  • Are they aligned with a professional body?
  • Ask lots of questions, don’t assume an agency can do something, ask.
  • Find out how detailed their process is and how they screen candidates – passing you CVs without speaking to a candidate first is a definite no-no.
  • How much are they asking you about your company and the role, it’s important they find out as much as possible about you too.  
  • Don’t base your decision on fees alone.

There is honestly a very good case for working with an agency that has your best interests at heart.

What Next?

If you’re on the lookout for a new recruitment agency or thinking about using one, get in touch with us for an informal chat.

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