When I first started in the recruitment industry, it was expected that when a hiring manager had a vacancy to fill and they were listing it with a recruiter, the process would start with a meeting to take the brief. When the shortlist was completed, the recruiter would then visit the hiring manager's offices again to present the shortlist and confirm interviews... So what has happened? Changes to technology have facilitated the commoditisation of the recruitment process, and now the process normally consists of an email from a hiring manager, with or without a job description, followed by several voicemail messages from the recruiter to confirm details, which is later confirmed via email. Shortlists are rare, and resumes are ‘submitted’ to hiring managers via email or an online applicant tracking system. The main ingredient missing is effective communication between the recruitment supplier and the hiring manager. There are many reasons for this, which I will write about at a later date, but today I would like to explore the reasons why an investment of 45 minutes with a recruiter at the beginning of a hiring process can be time very well spent.
More than a list of skills
Taking a job description is more than a list of skills, and hiring the best person for the job is more than getting someone with the skills. A recruiter wants to explore the competencies or behaviours demonstrated by your top performers. Every environment is unique, and a good fit for your team may not be the best for another.
Where is your office?
It seems trivial, but having a meeting onsite in your office enables the recruiter to understand the physical location and transport options available for any prospective employee. Many prospective employees have an idea of exactly what environment they want to work in, and good recruiters understand this when they are discussing options with candidates.
Selling a job not a job description
How many people would say their job description truly reflects what they do every day? Not many! So by describing both the skills and competencies and some of those intangible qualities that work well in your team, you will be rewarded with a more relevant shortlist. Similarly, by meeting in your office, the recruiter can sell your opportunity based on what the office and people are like, i.e. the ‘culture’. Just like employers, prospective employees or talent are also considering a variety of intangible qualities when choosing their next opportunity. The best people are looking for more than just a job.
Understand the fees
The best way to negotiate is face to face. Understand how the fee is calculated and explore options with your consultant.
Relationships are powerful
If you have a good working relationship with your recruiter, they are more likely to invest more time and effort in you. Remember that recruiters are in the job of providing a service for hiring managers and are always looking for the best people to fill roles. In the future, you may not always be the person hiring; you yourself may be looking for your next opportunity. By investing a few minutes with a consultant face to face in your office, you will be rewarded with a more relevant shortlist, a consultant who can communicate and sell your opportunity more clearly, and an opportunity to be totally upfront regarding fees. Most importantly, you will develop a relationship with a recruiter who values you and your business higher than the faceless hiring manager who just sends an email.