It seems an odd question to ask. Why would you be calling an agency recruiter if you have an internal recruitment team within your organisation? However, it happens very frequently. It some instances, there are no consequences for the business, but in other circumstances, a lot of time and energy can be expended unnecessarily. My post today is to give some guidance as to when to make the call and how to manage both the internal and external recruiters. The reason for making the call to an agency is important. A recent trend has seen many line managers and internal recruiters alike use agency recruiters to benchmark their own sourcing. The objective of this is to 'just check to see if anyone better is out there' or, in more sinister situations, to see if the agency recruiter can come up with people who are already listed on their internal database.
The agency recruiter finds the candidate, but the organisation then refuses to pay a fee, as they were 'known' to them previously. I have written another post on this topic if you would like to explore this in more detail.
If the purpose of engaging an agency is to benchmark, then best practice is to alert the agency to your objective. Give the agency a strict timetable, with the knowledge that you have your own shortlist and are looking to hire within a certain timeframe and will only hire agency candidates if they are substantially better than your shortlist. This is the key. You need to let them know exactly what skill or competency will make the agency candidate clearly better than your own shortlist. The second most common reason that an agency is engaged is the performance of the internal recruitment team. Put simply, the internal team is not coming up with goods. Line managers are frustrated and then reach out to an agency.
Of course, the agency recruiter is delighted to take the brief, but problems arise when the internal recruitment team are unaware that the agency has been engaged. Candidates can become confused and apply for the role directly.
The way the role is presented to the market can be confused with different messages. To avoid these problems, the advice is simple: make sure that the internal recruiters are aware of the fact that an agency recruiter is on the case. The best time to call in an agency recruiter if you have an internal team is when the internal team has completed their own process without success.
Communicate with the internal team that you are using an agency, and make sure your preferred recruiter is aware of what recruitment work has been completed previously.