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By Shane Horn, AdMore Recruitment – Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

It is a thankless task, and one that is constantly ridiculed and looked at with derision from ‘the other side of the fence.’ The role of an in-house recruiter is tough, caught between the cross fire managing process, expectations and the worst of all: a hungry bunch of agency recruiters! However, not all is lost, that same bunch of recruiters can be your biggest ally if you manage them well. Some handy hints to get the best out of your PSL can be found here and if you follow the tips below you are on your way to less of a headache!

  • Build your team around you

The agencies you have carefully selected to be on your PSL should be working with you. If they are not, get rid. Agency recruiters are used to hearing bad news, don’t think by not answering their call they will go away. Explain what is not working, and why. Call a meeting, or give them a warning, but don’t let the situation drag on. Those that want to work with you will understand the tough job you have and will be honest with you. Get a team of recruiters that ‘get’ your situation. If you can’t speak to them on a Monday because you are in meetings all day, tell them not to call. If you prefer e-mail, tell them not to call!

  • Knowledge is power

It sounds obvious but recruitment consultants spend a lot of time talking to people – candidates you are looking to hire and clients who have similar needs to you. They will know first hand the challenges in the market. Ask their opinion – recruitment agencies are sitting on a wealth of information about salary expectations, market moves, and competitor challenges. Some of the information will be confidential of course however  you can gain a huge amount of market knowledge which you can then share with hiring managers and your wider resourcing team.

  • No nasty surprises

Be clear with your team of agency recruiters. Yes, terms and conditions have been signed, and it is all in there but be clear if there are points that might cause confusion in the future. If you have a 3 month ownership policy in place, tell the agency. If your payment terms are 120 days, tell the agency. No doubt the terms you have in place will be something you have very little control over so explain that this is what we are working with. The agency has a choice to work with you or not and being upfront will save numerous calls and emails further down the line.

  • Admin is a time killer

If you have limited admin support, why can’t the agency help? If you are booking in a number of interviews, get the agency to book them in your Outlook calendar. Be clear about the available time slots and ask the agency to attach the CV if necessary to make the whole process as easy as possible for you.

  • Banish the unwanted

A constant problem for in-house recruiters is the barrage of cold calls and unwanted speculative emails. They have a huge impact on your ability to do an already time-heavy role. If you use a mobile, put your trusted agency numbers in your contacts list. I always made sure I didn’t answer a call from any number I didn’t know. This would save me hours through a week. Also, if you are getting emails from the same source over and over again set up a rule in Outlook to ensure those unwanted emails go straight to your deleted items.

  • Everyone is on the same side

Share as much as you can with your agency team. If you have engaged an agency then I am sure you want them to fill the role?! Tell them the competencies that will be assessed and the hiring manager’s interview style. If you were prepping your direct candidate you would share as much information as possible, so why not with the agency?

  • Not all jobs to all recruiters

Just because an agency is on your PSL it doesn’t give them a divine right to work on every role you have to hire. There will be roles that you will hire direct so again, be honest with the agency. This will help limit speculative applications and ensure that when you do give a role to an agency, they have an expectation they can fill it! If you are briefing 3 agencies, again tell them who they are competing against. Recruiters are a competitive bunch!

Of course some of these points will be easy to install, where others will be impossible depending on your set up. If I could recommend one thing it would be to be honest, treat recruiters how they want to be treated: fair, with respect and as a partner.  If they don’t want to be part of your team, put them on the subs bench – there are plenty of players keen to be in your starting 11.

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