Top 3 tips to build lasting recruiter-client relationships

• Article 4 •
15 March 2022

Last week, we discussed the relationship between IT SMEs and recruiting agencies. 

We asked them about examples of good recruiting agencies they worked with and what they were doing right. The most common things will make the top 3 list below.

1 - Recruiting agencies should integrate easily into the existing workflow of the TA team 

Usually, companies hire external recruiting agencies to supplement their existing TA team. 
The two most common reasons to hire a recruiting agency are:

  • the lack of expertise in finding a specific role
  • bulk-hiring, when companies need to expand aggressively and don't have the manpower. 

To understand how and where you integrate into their process, make sure you get to know the process. 
The sourcing process varies from company to company, but here are some of the basic stages:

  • Hiring manager role description
  • Internal candidate sourcing system  
  • ATS (Applicant tracking system) check out lever and greenhouse

Typically, companies ask agencies to deliver candidates directly into the flow at the right stage, which is normally the ATS stage.

The companies we talked to gave us an example that one of the recruiting agencies was sending them CVs by email, even though they specifically asked several times to upload them directly into the ATS. This would be a disruption of the existing workflow that probably 10 people already follow, including other recruiting agencies. 

If you fail to integrate into their workflow, you will be excluded from the begging because instead of helping them cut on the workload, you are adding to it. 
It was mentioned that even if the candidates are great, if they fail to see them in the right setting, they will never be able to decide.
A big part of integrating into the workflow is the communication channels. Ask for slack channels, ask for their calendars (check out calendly) and try to make a real effort to get to know the basics of every channel. 
Put real effort into learning the "HR tech stack" they are using because the chances are that many other companies are using the same, and this could even become your advantage.

2 - Quality over Volume

This is obvious, but you can't imagine how many times this is a problem. Many recruiting agencies are putting forwards so many poor or avg. fit candidates that TA teams feel overwhelmed and see as a time-consuming process that is not worth it. 

We were told that hiring an external agency many times means some kind of pre-screening and a good intro to the company and what it does. This will make a big difference in the first interviews and the hiring manager's perception, which is ultimately the decision-maker. 

If you are not doing this and instead are spamming companies with candidates hoping that some of them will stick, you will lose reputation very quickly.

We were given two examples of good recruiting agencies: 

  • Agency A delivered good candidates and a high volume 
  • Agency B delivered "one hit, one hire" type of candidates (low volume, high quality)  

Even though they had good relationships with both companies and delivered good candidates, they preferred the one that delivered high quality and low volume, mainly because it meant that they did not have to review as many candidates and did not have to sell the company as much. 
They open emails with excitement from Company B even though they come once every month or so.

3 - Listen and apply the feedback

Listening to feedback is a skill everyone should have and develop. The best is to create a feedback loop in the communication process actively. There are many tools and best practices out there, find one that suits your type of relationship. 

Talk with your clients regularly and ask for both positive and negative input on how things are going. 

There are two main things you need to pay attention to: 

  • Process feedback (i.e. are you placing the candidates in the right place, filling in all the needed information, etc.)
  • Candidate feedback (i.e. this person lacks many of the required skills, is not aware of our company culture, etc.) 

Having a feedback system in place will show long-term commitment to the company and will put your agency in a good light. 

Finally, ask to see if they want to receive constructive feedback about communication/process as well, in the end, the goal of this cooperation is to get as many good-fit hires as possible, and sometimes both parties need to improve.

Follow these three simple tips and build a lasting relationship with your client base.

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