How to successfully recruit using agencies

Mon 30 Oct

When I speak with clients for the first time they often say to me “Skye, we don’t use recruitment agencies”. Their intention is to do the recruitment process themselves and why wouldn’t you? If you can find the right candidate without paying a fee it is a no-brainer. 

Back in my accounting days, I used to think the same thing, why would I pay an agency fee when I can get a candidate from my own advertising? Since working in recruitment, I have such a different opinion; I now see the value in using agencies.

I see time and time again candidates who are found via advertising who were qualified for the role but who might not have been the best person for the role. There may have been a passive candidate (ie already in a job who is open to opportunities) whose values, career goals and work style were more aligned with the organisation rather than the one who was hired.

Why should you use a recruitment agency?

Economies of Scale 

As a specialist qualified accounting recruiter, I only talk to qualified accounting candidates.  This may differ to an internal recruitment team who may be working on several types of roles at any one time.  They might go from recruiting an engineer one day to a receptionist the next, to an accountant another day.

Get to the bottom of candidates’ motivations

When you use an agency, you will hopefully get to the bottom of candidates’ motivations.  So many times, a candidate will tell me what they think I want to hear when I am talking to them about a particular role.  When I tell them that I have more than one opportunity to talk to them about, it then allows them to tell me what they are really looking for rather than what they think I want to hear. 

Access to the passive market

You get to tap into the passive market.  As consultants, we are speaking to candidates all day, every day.  Sometimes it is a client who is a potential candidate.  So many people say to me "Skye, if something like this came up every time, I would be interested."

Save your time

It takes time to run a recruitment process.  You are usually recruiting someone when you are extremely busy.  There are many levels to the recruitment process including sorting through applications, phone screening, interviewing and reference checking.  If you partner with the right agency, they will get to know your business and you will save time in most of the process. 

Fill a temporary role quickly

For a temporary role where you need to move quickly and as an agency we have numerous people on our various databases we can contact and have candidates ready to start in a short space of time.

Market knowledge

If you have strategic partnerships with recruitment agencies, this can keep you on top of salary rates.  We often generate salary benchmarking for our clients which can help with salary reviews etc.

How should you partner with an agency if you do use one?

Be mindful when using agencies as they are an extension of your brand.  You want the agency to represent you as a manager and the organisation you work for in the right way.  Often this isn’t done well and this can cause many perceptions in the market that are not correct.  Perception is everything.  If the process is too long, candidates don’t get feedback. If candidates are called multiple times for the same role, then this can sometimes create a negative perception about the organisation. 

Partner with someone you can trust

You want to work with a recruiter you can trust and one who wants to get you the best person for your organisation. Try and work with recruiters who are not just transactional (ie only care about the fee), who want to partner with you in the long term, and who want to get you the best person for the role, team fit and organisation.

I often get feedback from candidates saying that the way the role was sold to them was totally different to when they started so they are often looking after 3 months.

Don’t use too many agencies

Often organisations thing going to multiple agencies will attract more candidates, this sometimes can have an adverse effect.

Going to multiple agencies can cause confusion in the market.  I recently ran a role where a number of agencies were working on the same job.  The candidates started to question the organisation as they had been called a number of times about the same role. 

Keep everyone informed

If you are a line manager and you have an internal HR team, keep them informed that you have reached out to agencies.  We understand that you have an internal recruitment team and we want to work with them to provide you with the best possible outcome. 

The worst thing that can happen is that candidates get to the interview stage only to have the role pulled because the internal processes were not followed.  This wastes everyone’s time and doesn’t provide a pleasant experience for the candidate.

Keep the process timely

More often than not, clients miss out on good candidates if they don’t move quick enough. If a candidate is a viable candidate, then they will be snapped up quickly. 

Give feedback to candidates

The beauty of going to an agency is that you only have to interview a select few candidates.  We have already done the hard work by creating an extensive list and then a short list so you will only need to give feedback to the candidates you interview. 

You want to ensure that every candidate has a great interview experience with you, even if they are unsuccessful. The biggest complaint candidates have about the recruitment process is that they don’t get feedback. 

At Davidson, we are focused on workplace performance and I like to have long-term partnerships with clients.  I don’t want to compete with your advertising, I want to supplement your candidate pool and work with you to provide the best outcome for your process.

Skye Veivers, Principal Consultant Accounting - Davidson