In-house recruiters are relying less and less on recruitment agencies, but staffing agencies are still posting strong results, whilst the REC’s report on jobs shows vacancy levels are rising on a monthly basis. Many industry experts have long been forecasting the decline of agencies, in the face of growing competition from job boards, internal recruitment teams and social networking, but the industry continues to grow, and offers an important route for sourcing the best talent.
Historically companies always used to see agencies as advisers, their eyes and ears in the market place. As a recruitment consultant your value proposition was usually the candidates that you could find, or that you knew of, and your overall market intelligence regarding shifting trends and pay scales as well as competitor activity. More recently staffing agencies have been identified as necessary evils or damn right nuisances but even in this modern age staffing agencies can still have their advantages.
Cost needs to be proportioned to two things: price associated with advertising the vacancy and the time spent by employees trying to find that correct match. The majority of staffing agencies will not cost a company a penny until that perfect candidate has not only accepted an offer but successfully started. A recruitment agency is also there to help negotiate the best salary, giving guidance and advice on what is fair and appropriate, but also what will need to be done to guarantee that top candidate that everyone else is after too!
Good candidates are incredibly hard to find, weather they are passive or selective. If they aren’t responding to job adverts then they cannot be seen as part of a company’s talent pool. A lot of candidates are equally very busy especially to search full time for a new position, the chances are that they have solid relationships with trusted specialist recruiters within their sector. When recruiting a challenging position, there’s a strong chance that a good recruiter will already know and be aware of the suitable candidate and most importantly will know how to reach them. Agencies have many networks – each consultant, candidate, client or collaborator has the potential to leverage their networks to help connect to people with a range of skills and experiences, many of whom would be off the radar of an in-house team or hiring manager.
Candidates not applicants
The majority of talent attraction is aimed at drawing applicants, whether they are replying to an advert, applying on spec, or through a website. A lot of these applicants will not be good matches for the role hence a lot of time will be spent in filtering, assessing, matching and communicating with them. Time and resources means that internal recruitment teams may not be able to run a thorough matching process. Using a staffing agency will mean that you see only candidates who have been pre-selected to match all the criteria required and who are worthy of consideration and interview.
Using a recruitment agency is a time saver! It will save time because they take care of the beginning steps of the hiring process. Finding the right applicants to interview will take a great amount of time and effort. If posting a job on traditional job boards, there is a strong chance of receiving hundreds of CV’s and applications for every position. Out of the hundreds of applicants, a significant amount will not be qualified or will simply not be right for the job.
Once a successful and mutually beneficial relationship has been developed with a recruitment agency that is trustworthy, any future hiring will go even more smoothly. The agency will be aware of the qualities that it takes to make the right fit within the company and what to expect from them. The next time a position is vacant, it can be filled quickly and satisfactorily. A recruitment partner is an advocate, a specialist soundboard and an extension of a company’s brand.
The best recruiters will have their finger on the pulse of their specialist markets. They can give the hiring team insight in to what is happening. They will know the available talent, where they are and how to reach out to them, salary rates, career expectations, available skill-sets and current hiring complexities. If other businesses are struggling to find the same people they should be able to advise on alternative solutions.
Large companies invest a lot of time and money in developing and marketing their employer brand. However, many SME and smaller businesses don’t have the same resources. If a company chooses an agency wisely then they can give potential candidates a real insight in to a business. For example, what it’s like to work there, benefits, career openings available and a feel for the culture. If you are partnered closely with agencies, they can get to know the internal recruitment team and some key managers. Then they should be able to represent the company as an employer of choice.
A good recruitment agency is going to be specialist in their field. They will have a proven track record of finding the right employees for the job. When meeting with their selection of shortlisted candidates, you can feel more confident with the final hiring decision. Working with a recruitment agency will help to make a more assured decision.
Ultimately most business will have their own reasons for using or not using recruitment agencies. For some it may be a short term need. For others they offer a major route to access the strong talent that they would otherwise miss out on.