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I only meet agencies when I am recruiting...really?!

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by Mark Smith

3 months ago

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If I have heard this once, I have heard it 1000 times in my 25 year recruitment career. “I only meet agencies when I am recruiting, not before”. One of the best indicators of success when recruiting white collar professionals such as accountants, human resources, legal and marketing specialists, is whether the recruiter has first met with the manager who is making the hiring decision, yet in most cases, that manager is extraordinarily reluctant to meet with a recruiter, either internal or agency, beforehand. Why?

Every agency recruiter I know is genuinely surprised when they receive a brief from a hiring manager with plenty of time to fill the role. Normally, the hiring manager is calling the agency as a last resort, having exhausted all of the channels available. This makes sense, as agencies come at a cost and I would encourage hiring managers to make sure they do this before calling us, regardless of the situation. What this means for the recruiter, however, is time is not normally on our side and we need to shortlist quality talent, fast.

To provide the best shortlist, a recruiter needs to understand not only the job description but also the competencies required, the culture of the organisation, the personalities in the team and even the physical location of the job. Gathering all this information at 4pm on a Friday afternoon with the hiring manager wanting (or needing) a shortlist on Monday morning, is impractical, unrealistic and pretty short sighted.

To be able to respond quickly to a vacancy, it is best practice for HR and line managers to brief their talent acquisition teams and external recruitment agency suppliers before they need to hire. With prior knowledge, the recruiter can respond quickly with the knowledge they need to secure the best talent for the vacancy.

For temp staff, the need for this prior knowledge is even more of a priority. It is the experience at people2people, that if a temporary vacancy sits open for more than 24 hours, then the likelihood of the job being filled drops by half. Our minimum requirement is to respond to the hiring manager within an hour. For us to do this, we need to understand our client’s business, which is more than knowing which IT system you use, so that we can provide the best available talent at the shortest possible notice.

So, when you get a call from a recruiter you may consider using for your future recruitment requirements and you haven’t met them, invest half an hour to allow them to better understand your business and possible types of recruitment needs. So when you need to hire, you get the most out of your recruiter and their services. 

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