Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Is Your Relationship with your Recruiter/Recruiting Firm a True Business Partnership?

Interesting experience the other day... There is a company I've done business with for years. This has been the true definition of a business partnership. When they had a key hiring need they’d call me and invite me to come out on site, and then meet with those involved in the hiring decision. I would sit down at a table and we’d go over the particulars of the search. We’d discuss target companies, we’d even discuss specific people they would be interested in. Again, this is how I define a true partnership in a recruiting assignment. I was successful in helping identify and secure their hires for each of those searches.


When I work with a company I really work with them. I will continue all necessary activities, including assisting in coordinating interviews, follow-ups, whatever it takes even when I’m on vacation with my family, etc. I enjoy what I do and I figure that is just part of the job. I have no problem in dedicating whatever it takes to help a client fill their critical needs. I will stay with a search until it is filled as well. I am quite persistent when it comes to that. In one search with this same client I stayed on the search for well over a year, dedicating an enormous amount of time and effort seeing it to successful conclusion. All in a contingency arrangement. Most recruiters would have lost interest a few months into the search.

A couple years or so ago I was informed that this client’s parent company was going to use a different process. I won’t get into specifics, but basically they had a vendor company become somewhat of a go-between, if you could call it that. The local HR staff that I had once so very closely partnered with dove into the new initiative breaking ties with me. These are folks I had worked with so closely before. Meeting face to face on each search. Devoting family time to see that each search kept moving forward. Yes, it was very disappointing.

With the new system/process/procedure several recruiters are put on one search. This company operates in a small niche segment of the industry. So you have nine recruiters, for example, contacting a very small pool of potential candidates. Everyone stumbling over each other. Though the real concern to me is what message is being sent into the industry about this company’s recruiting strategy? I believe it sends the wrong message, personally. And how do you control the message being delivered to the market? Many of the recruiters have no experience even recruiting within this company’s niche, let alone insurance. Again, I ask what is the message being delivered to the community? If your recruiting partners don’t know your business, don’t understand your business, don’t know your product, how can they represent you?

If this system really works for this company and others like them, great. I personally see a lot of holes in it. But I’m not criticizing, only illustrating a point. If you are really wanting a sincere business relationship with a recruiter who is only trying to assist you, let them help you by you helping them. A recruiter should be viewed as a business partner. An extension of your own recruiting department. Their success means your success in making a hire. Withholding information or being non-communicative does not aid towards the successful conclusion of a search.


1 comment:

  1. Scott,

    Well said and I 100% agree with you. I think that as we move back to an applicant driven market, companies need to really re-think their hiring strategy, process, and especially follow up with potential candidates. Many candidates are on the market because they feel that their company has lost touch with their customers and their own staff due to buyouts, mergers, etc, and it is that lack of communication that is causing them to seek new employment.

    Companies need to pay attention to how a potential new employee is treated in the interview process. Candidates often assume that how a client company treats them during the interview will be similar to how they will be treated once employed and rightly so.

    If the candidate is highly desirable, they have many choices in the market place. As recruiters, our job is to sell them on the company initially, but it is also our employer client's job to sell the prospective candidate on their firm. Actions speak far louder than words and unfortunately, inexperienced recruiters that are not familar with the employer client's history and culture can do far more harm than good from both a PR and goodwill basis. As a result of inexperience/knowledge, often poorly skilled candidates are presented. Also if the recruiter is not intimately familiar with the client's niche and competitors, it can be more challenging to attract the attention of the best candidates who are judging the potential new employer through the information presented by the recruiter.

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