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June 21, 2010 / Mervyn Dinnen

Is Your Recruitment Partner Damaging Your Bottom Line??

I was interested to see reports of a survey last week showing that poor treatment of failed job applicants can damage a consumer brand and seriously affect the bottom line. It’s something that I hear candidates talk about and am always amazed at the number of companies who fail to see the connection.

This doesn’t only apply to direct hiring…it can be just as damaging when a company briefs through a 3rd party recruiter. Trust me, when a candidate applies to an agency for a role with Company ABC and gets poor treatment from the agency, they will take this as a negative experience with Company ABC too.

I know it seems hard to believe, but when you brief a 3rd party recruiter you are entrusting them with representing not just your company, but also your brand, values and culture.

How do you know that they will do you justice? Try this recruitment partner health check:

Do they want to meet you?

If they are happy to take a telephone briefing, without coming to your offices to meet you and other key decision makers in person, and to find out about the environment and conditions, or get a feel for the culture and working atmosphere, then they are unlikely to be able to represent this to potential jobseekers. You will be investing a lot of your time in them; they should be investing theirs in you too.

Can you get references?

Your supplier should be happy to let you know all about the good work that they’ve done before. Ask to speak to 2 other companies (not competitors, businesses from different sectors) that they have recruited for and find out how they performed. Check the Linked In profiles of key people within the recruiter’s business and see what recommendations they have…then ask if you can contact them.

Go to their offices – what impression will they give, how do they work?

Most candidates who apply for your role will meet the recruiter at their offices…so go and see them for yourself! Seriously, anyone visiting their offices will be visiting a company that you have chosen to represent you, so you should see what impression they will give. They don’t need to be large, opulent or swanky…just give a welcoming and professional feel. And have a walk around; see the consultants’ working environment, do they look happy and motivated?

How do they build their talent pool?

Your chosen recruiter should be someone who has access to the best talent in the sector that matters to you, so find out how they build their talent network. Do they have a community who they keep in touch with? Will they rely on advertising or headhunting? Ideally you will want to brief someone who can take your spec and immediately think of potential candidates, so how do they keep their finger on the pulse of their marketplace?

How do they work, how are they targeted and rewarded?

Most recruiters are targeted to make placements…and are rewarded for the placements that they make. You will want to work with consultants who are going to go the extra mile to find the very best person for your role…this may take a lot of time and searching. Ask them how they are targeted and rewarded, what their motivators are. An increasing number of recruitment firms have a feedback element in the reward so you should try and use one of those…at least you know that your recruiter will have a strong interest in the way they service you and not just in closing a deal.

You can never be sure that a time-pressured recruiter, working on a number of assignments, and with an eye on their fee targets, will always give their candidates a great impression of your business, but you can certainly do a lot of groundwork to ensure that you have chosen a recruitment partner who do their best to ensure that this never happens.

It’s not just your good name that’s at stake…it’s your bottom line too!

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4 Comments

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  1. Steve Levy / Jun 22 2010 12:14 AM

    How do they build their talent pool?

    Great question but for me an equally important one is, “How do they cultivate their talent pool?”

    How frequently do they merge/purge, communication, offer helpful information, etc.

    • Mervyn Dinnen / Jun 24 2010 7:04 AM

      Very true Steve, and a key point. I suppose it was hid in ‘how they keep their finger on the pulse’ but you are right to suggest it as a question on it’s own. There’s little point in choosing a recruiter with a pool of contacts they haven’t connected with in ages.

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