Many people aren’t exactly clear as to how a recruiter or recruiting/staffing firm works. In fact, there are many types of agencies, niches and styles to fit every need. This is to give rare insight into a recruiting firm.
Firstly, we are not paid to place candidates; instead, we are hired to fill positions. While we develop close relationships with our candidates, we also develop close rapport with our clients. By doing so, we gain more insight into each other to determine the best fits.
When a staffing firm, whether permanent (like us) or a temp agency is contacted, great care is given as to the potential assignment. Since most agencies do not specialize in a niche, they will take on many types of searches over many different industries. Some are very successful but most are not since they don’t have any specialization in all of the areas for which they are searching. Niche recruiters (like us) utilize specific industry knowledge and real-world experience and expertise which assist in developing reputations over time; especially if they are successful and trustworthy.
As there has to be a fit between a client and candidate, there also has to be a fit between the company and the search firm. We have to be clear as to the client’s wants and needs, time parameters, residency mandates, compensation & benefits issues, amongst many others. In order for us to do a good job, and be able to locate the right candidates, we have to make sure that mutual respect and trust are clear. There are some companies, including distributor, rep and manufacturers that are not good fits for any particular
employment agency for a variety of reasons; some are the same reasons why candidates do not get hired.
These could be trust issues, poor reputation, ethical issues and yes, even cultural fits. Here’s some real news for every job-seeker out there: You may be the most qualified candidate but the employer eventually decides whom they want to hire. Again, it comes down to the best-fit in the eyes of the company. We have been surprised many times when presenting those ‘star’ candidates who were the ‘slamdunks’ and interviewed well during the process. For whatever reason, it really didn’t come down to experience or education; it came down to chemistry or personality.
We have found that companies will make exceptions to their search parameters if someone truly excites them. This is the quandary of every staffing professional; do we go by the book and give clients exactly what they ask for or maybe think out of the box and bring someone in from left field? Unprofessional staffers just send a pile of unresearched résumés and hope that one sticks out. Those people usually don’t last long in this industry.
We need to make sure that our successful candidate that is hired is a great fit. Why? We don’t want to replace them! Behind the scenes, there are guarantees that dictate the minimum time someone has to work for a company. What happens if they leave before a certain time? We have to find someone else who again meets all of the requirements. This is basically conducting the same search twice; only for free. No business in our industry runs their company like a charity and a recruiting firm is no exception.
Search specifications can change on a daily basis. This happens frequently but we all accept change and develop our new strategy based upon the new requirements. It is all a part of the recruiting game. It doesn’t matter that we have already spent two weeks conducting a search based on old information. We just deal with it and move on.
Most searches move more slowly than advertised. The reasons can range to interviewer availability to holidays to vacations, etc. What should have been a two-week interview process can now spread into months. No industry is immune; it happens everywhere. Gone are the days when a client would advise that they wanted to hire our candidate just to get them off the street so the competition wouldn’t get them. Companies today are way more discerning. They are checking backgrounds more thoroughly and checking more references and online communities to find out everything they can before an offer is made. It has been stated in this column in the past: look yourself up on the internet. You may be satisfied or even shocked with what you find. It is the recruiter’s job to be very resourceful.
Can we help everyone? Unfortunately, no. Time is very valuable and few recruiters will take the time to provide résumé and career progression advice. If we know that we can’t help someone, we’ll take some time to provide other options. To those that give a little extra to others, perhaps it will come back in a good way. Call it karma or ethics. People do indeed remember those who helped them along the way.