Recently I read and commented on what I think is an intelligent and very amusing blog – ‘Recruiters are the modern slave traders’ by Craig Watson. Describing his experience at a party where a fellow guest rudely referred to him as a slave trader, Craig’s blog broadly makes the point that generalisations about any profession are inappropriate and unfair.
Having commented I now receive an email when someone else comments… WOW! People can be so rude and aggressive. Far from what I was expecting some have taken the opportunity to vent their frustrations with the recruitment industry. The total lack of balance in some comments but also the strength of emotion expressed has inspired me to write today’s blog.
First it is important to acknowledge that many of the leaders I work with also lack confidence in the recruitment industry. Among the most common complaints are the cost of services, failure to present candidates aligned with the brief, over promising and under delivering on service standards and ultimately adding little value. It’s also common for me to meet candidates who are disappointed with the way they have been treated by recruiters.
While I have also experienced these issues, equally I have worked with exceptional recruitment professionals who add enormous value. The best recruiters I work with are experienced and knowledgeable and care deeply about the value they add. In my second book The People Manager’s Toolkit I dedicate a chapter to Recruitment and provide guidance on getting the best from recruitment consultants. Here is a summary version – including key measures of success and important priorities.
The most important measures of a recruiter’s success are:
- Thorough understanding of your business, culture and the role you are looking to fill
- Intimate understanding of the market and where to find quality candidates
- Recommendation of candidates that meet your selection criteria
- Sincere commitment to placing the best possible candidate for every role
- Delivery of time- and cost-effective recruitment solutions
- An open and honesty approach in dealing with you and candidates
- High standards of candidate care
Important priorities that will underpin your success in working with recruitment consultants include:
- Priority 1: select the right agency; refer to success measures above.
- Priority 2: build your relationship and work in partnership. As in any relationship, success is influenced by the commitment of both parties.
- Priority 3: value advice. Expect and allow recruiters to provide more than a résumé referral service. Invite and listen to the advice offered.
- Priority 4: dedicate the time needed. Be reasonable in your expectations and allow recruiters the time they need to do the best possible job for you.
- Priority 5: expect drive and commitment. Ensure those you work with are committed to an active search process and are able to sell the benefits of working for your business.
- Priority 6: candidate care. Every candidate deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy. Engage recruiters who are considerate, ethical and professional.