working with external recruiters

Engaging an External Recruiter to Fill a Hard-to-Find Job? Make it Win-Win for All!

Got tough positions to fill? Thinking about engaging an outside recruiter to help? Here are a few tried and true tips for developing a successful working relationship with a recruiting firm. FYI – we won’t address fees and contractual arrangements here – just a few key processes.

Whether you are engaging a retained or contingency firm or an independent “contract” recruiter, all parties need to agree on the working processes, communication needs and means, timing, involved parties, decision processes and expectations to be met to achieve a successful hire – the win-win for all.

Here are some key tips for building a successful working relationship with your external recruiters.

1. Know what you’re looking for in your new hire. Identify your talent gaps. Have a well-written job description with requirements and responsibilities laid out.

2. Know which requirements are “must haves” and which ones are “nice to have”. Be flexible – if every requirement is a must have, you may never find all those qualifications in one human being.

3. Be prepared to sell candidates on your company and opportunity. In any employment market, (including a recession) candidates in the hottest professions like engineering, IT, sales and healthcare, have many choices – they go with the company that they believe is most attractive, or if they are still employed, they will likely choose to stay where they’re at for the sake of security and stability.

4. Keep your interviewing process moving quickly, even if there are multiple interviews and multiple parties involved. You’ll lose the best candidates to your competition if your process is protracted.

5. Communication, information flow and feedback with your recruiter is essential. Successful placements occur when everyone is on the same page. Recruiters rely on the candid information a hiring authority exchanges with them – good or bad. Clients should expect the same type of candor from their recruiter as well. Often, search strategies need to be tweaked to generate the best results. This doesn’t happen through guesswork or wondering what the other party is doing or thinking. This type of crucial back and forth communication drives direction and timing and can make a real difference in the outcomes.

6. In a competitive market, recruiters can’t “pre-recruit” candidates and expect them to wait. We can build pipelines of passive candidates, but even they have a “shelf life” that is unpredictable. If you need to hire now or soon, and you engage a recruiter, be prepared to make a hiring decision. If you’re not ready to hire right now, but want to contact recruiters and “interview” them for future recruiting projects, any recruiter would welcome the opportunity to get to know you, your company and your future hiring needs. If you don’t have the time to interview recruiters, I advise that you hold off calling them until your hiring needs are on a near horizon.

For further insights or to discuss your hiring needs, call Linda Nicholls at 630-637-6200.