Sunday 8 March 2009

Choosing Recruitment Agents

Every now and again you'll go through that compulsory "we use too many agencies and we need to rationalize" process. As part of that, you'll be working out a few criteria for evaluating recruiters and putting them on some sort of preferred supplied list.

The typical approach to this pretty much involves coming up with some lower rates than you currently pay (cost control is usually the motivation behind the PSL exercise) and seeing who wants to sign up. Not a bad start, especially if you come up with some tiers which (for example) encourage recruiters to take a lower fee for a period of exclusivity, but you should probably add some metrics to ensure quality.

Firstly, think about why you use an agency. Hiring strangers is the worst recruitment strategy ever, so when you use an agency, you are basically using their network as a replacement for yours.

So how about finding out some other stuff too; do they meet candidates in person before they put them forward? How long do they typically have a relationship with a candidate for before they start to place them? How often do they place the same candidate in consecutive roles? Anything you can come up with to give you confidence that their network is going to be a passable proxy for yours is going to be a worthwhile comparison point.


Anonymous said...

Hi Eachan

I have taken a look at your Blog and I think that a number of your Idea’s in terms of choosing recruitment agents are a little short sighted not meaning to offend. Though I can understand why you would choose these methods. “This Blog reply representative of my personal point of view and my point of view as recruiter and does not reflect the thoughts of my peers at my company in any way”

I believe that cost effectiveness often is held too highly in terms of consideration when choosing a supplier.

As in the first instance you only get what you pay for!

So if you choose to look at cost as apposed to quality you will naturally find it much harder to get what you want. The time spent going through CV’s coupled with the impact on time/budgets of the projects you seek resource for, will in fact cost you more pence and pounds in the long run.

I am a recruiter and have been for many years, I understand that getting exclusivity on a position often is a priority for us recruiters.

Does this really get you the “Client” the quality and value for money you desire from the said recruiters?

I personally do not think so! As recruiters are sales people and they are driven by margins and money generated by placing people, more often than not you are competing for candidates with your very own recruiters who you trust to do the job properly with solely your needs in mind.

The Recruiters you mention are looking to make placements with high margins so unless you retain the recruiters services and pay up front, you will not get their full attention and commitment to get you each and every profile you need.(e.g)how many candidates do you think you do not get to meet because one recruiter thinks one is better than the other should you not be the judge?

Recruiters who do agree to work with you on a sole basis will essentially look to sell the candidate they have sourced for your role to your competitors as well.... this is there job!.

These competitors probably are paying better Margins/Fee’s. I feel that with sole supplier agreements even for a short amount of time will hinder your abilities to acquire talent in the long run
I know from experience that you will fill the role in the end one way or another! I am guessing often you have opened up to new recruiters at least once or twice and they have filled the position, (If this is not the case you are one of the lucky ones).

So how much did pinching the pennies and limiting your market exposure really affect the overall outcome of the recruitment drive?

The quality issue is a very grey area and I think that quality comes from a mutual respect and professional understanding between client and recruiters. In a “good market” these relationships can be fruitful.

The market however has changed and clients need to understand there are a lot more people looking for work at the moment and this is a cause for concern for “you” the client! As these recruiters you are using are inundated with CV’s/Applications and more often than not the recruiters get to a point where they feel the work is being done for them! This breeds complacency thus the recruiters will not put the leg work into getting the right people for you “ultimately” quality suffers!

Kind Regards

Unknown said...

Thanks for leaving a comment Pedro - appreciate your interest.

I can't help but think that you might have missed the point of my post slightly. I'm not in favor of simply slashing recruitment fees - I think getting the right people on board is too important not to invest in - I am simply suggesting that there needs to be more metrics involved in choosing suppliers than just cost.

The recruitment supplier list exercise is almost always instigated with cost reduction in mind, and I think that IT teams which do not take an active role in the exercise and put forward their own criteria for choosing partners (i.e. things other than cost, as I suggest in the post) will likely discover the best agencies are no longer available to them and what they're left to work with are the ones willing to cut the price down the lowest.