The Perfect Marriage
Having been an LA Tech Recruiter for many years (and having been a Tech Hiring Manager before I came to The Dark Side), I’ve honed in on the qualities that make an effective relationship between Recruiter and Agency.
- Give and Take – no recruiter will excel without detailed feedback, and great communication. Without it, every resume they submit is a crap shoot. In my ever-humble opinion, no company should work with an agency not willing to take the time to come visit in person (assuming you are local), and no agency should work with a client who won’t make the time to meet them. But it can’t stop there. This relationship, just like any other type, has to evolve over time. If you put the time in to provide feedback, you’ll yield phenomenal results. Saying “Pass” on a candidate serves no purpose.
- Telephone Game – remember that game where you whisper something in someone’s ear, and they whisper it to someone and so on, and the final person states what the first person said? Remember how the last person usually says something completely different from the original statement? Same concept applies to a hiring managers’ requirements. Nothing whatsoever against internal recruiters and HR – they are awesome and most make agencies lives easier. However, even if the process is handled by HR, it’s critical that a hiring manager speak directly to the recruiter. It provides priceless information that will save time, not suck it up. A 10 minute time investment to make sure the recruiter knows what you are looking for is far less than the hours you will waste interviewing the wrong candidates.
- Quality vs. Quantity – If you are the type of company that likes lots of volume from the Dialing For Dollars agencies, high volumes of resume submissions may not be a problem for you. When I was a hiring manager, this drove me crazy! But some companies seem bedazzled by volume, and seem to think that means the agency is working really hard. Volume is easy. Efficacy is the gem.
- Chemistry – you have to jive with the person you are working with, plain and simple. If you feel the agency is good, but you just don’t like the Account Rep, before giving up on the agency, see if you can be assigned a new Rep.
- Being Valued – Though this is thankfully rare, I have run into some clients that truly view agencies as a necessary evil. Do us a favor. If you don’t value the service we provide, don’t call us. Don’t misinterpret our ability to pick the perfect person out of thin air as magic. It takes years of experience to build up a network that can yield that magical candidate. We earn every dollar we make, and just like anyone on earth, our sense of accomplishment comes from feeling valued and appreciated. Doesn’t matter how much money an agency can make with your company – you’ll drop to the bottom of their priority list if make them feel like like they are not providing value.
- Working for Free – Contingency agencies are just that. We only get paid contingent on making a successful placement. Which means we work for free much of the time. And we work a lot. This is a very individual thing, but some agencies absolutely sort to the top. If you think you have done a great job by negotiating a rock bottom fee agreement, be aware that your fabulous negotiation skills may land your recruiting needs at the bottom of the heap. Also be aware that it’s very likely that your company has a lot more money on hand than the individual recruiter that may or may not make money depending on success in a search. One of our clients has a very fluid agreement with us – the fee is based on the urgency of an individual position. It’s worked well for both of us. Think creatively to make a mutually beneficial agreement, and you’ll have better results.
I feel extremely grateful to have many long-term clients. We have been working together for years, and have honed our relationships to a fine tuned machines. It’s to the point where they can give me a requirement, and we will nail it with the first resume. But that not only takes our talent and ability to source, it takes the client’s willingness to partner with us, communicate and trust us (which only comes with time and results). Just like any relationship, with effort, it can excel and exceed expectations.