As the tech economy in Ireland continues to grow, the needs of companies to recruit volumes of suitable skilled and motivated staff are more significant than ever. Particularly for organisations with no dedicated recruitment or talent-sourcing function, it’s often a necessity even more than a choice to reach out for agency help to find the best people, but with significant fees associated with agency recruitment, and a lot riding on hiring decisions from a business point of view, it’s important to choose the agency that best suits your culture and needs. Below we’ve outlined a number of boxes to tick before beginning a partnership with an agency:
Are they equipped to deal with your particular recruitment needs?
First, the basics. Rather than calling the first agency that pops into your head, or the one that a trusted ex-colleague manages, make sure that the agency is working in, and thus has candidates relating to, the space that you’re hoping to recruit in. An award winning agency recruiting for marketing superstars won’t necessarily have such a great network of IT professionals for instance. Specialist, niche agencies for various business areas tend to have a better insight into the market, better connections and a much more detailed knowledge of the intricacies of various roles.
Can they handle the volume?
While (often smaller) niche operations can be well equipped to understand the roles and make the correct selection decisions, it’s also important to be aware of the sort of numbers you’re looking to recruit, and whether the chosen agency’s capabilities match this. Some larger global recruitment chains have databases of hundreds of thousands, staffs of thousands of recruiters and are well versed in the speed and quick selection needed to turn out high volumes of candidates, so may be better for multiple roles such as in customer service.
What are their screening methods?
Especially in customer- or client-facing roles such as project management or client implementation, the candidates’ communication skills can be equally as, if not more important than what’s on their CV. For this reason, an important motivation many companies in these industries have for enlisting the help of recruiters is that they can take some of the guesswork out of interview, and will prescreen candidates for softer skills before submitting to the client. If this a reason you’re looking for agency help, make sure that pre-screening candidates, whether in-person or by phone, is part of their process.
Does their process match your needs?
Different agencies work in different ways, and to different timelines and KPI’s. Before committing to one, or even a few agencies, it’s essential to find out about their ways of working and whether this aligns with your internal process. For instance, how do they submit candidates? Is it through a portal or by email? And to whom? Every company has processes and procedures that are idiosyncratic to them, so it’s important to ensure the that your chosen agencies processes match yours in as much as is possible, to allow for seamless recruitment.
Does their culture match yours?
You’ll be working very closely with your chosen agency, partnering to develop attractive job specs and ads, and regularly providing feedback to make sure there’s a pipeline of the best candidates, so it’s absolutely key that that your cultures and outlook match, and that you like the consultants. You’ll be much better placed to have frank and sometimes difficult conversations if you gel well with your recruitment partner, and having a similar outlook on what makes a good candidate from a communication point of view means the consultant is able to screen for the types of soft skills that you yourself look for in interview-remember your recruitment partner should be an extension of your management team and so hold similar viewpoints on recruitment matters.
Are the coming up with the goods?
Even if they’re getting the right volume of submissions, seem to gel well with your company culture and are saying all the right things, if your chosen agency isn’t ultimately successful in placing the right candidate (within a reasonable amount of time of course), they might not be the right partner for you. Often, allowing a couple of prospective new agencies one key “test” role to work on can be a good way to see which ones are going to be of value in the long run, then possibly narrowing down the list to cut down on administration of various vendors.
In most industries, it’s now all but essential to work with at least one external recruitment agencies to help with complex and ever-changing recruitment needs, so it’s important to treat them as you would any key vendor-do your research to make sure they can consistently add value to your organisation.
About the author
Eleanor is a senior recruiter in the area of IT and Big Data. Contact here on firstname.lastname@example.org