How to Recruit a Recruiter…
Engaging a recruiter is meant to take the hard work out of the process of finding the best possible candidate for a role. Pressure should be lifted from Management, the HR Department and for senior roles, the Board of Directors – but this doesn’t mean that you can hand over all accountability and sit down to read the newspaper, whilst crossing your fingers and hoping for the best!
Part of what you pay a recruiter for is that ‘heavy lifting’ aspect of recruitment…..the “grunt work” if you like. A good recruiter should know enough about your business and the savings that you will make by not having your HR function, managers and supervisors tied up throughout the interview and selection process and they ‘should’ quote accordingly. The fee covers the recruiter’s attention to detail throughout the selection process and is not simply a payment for the applicant that is ultimately hired – it is also compensation for the many, many candidates that they sifted through to provide you with a suitably matched and therefore employable applicant(s).
However, there are a couple of details that have to be sorted prior to this equation adding up to the magic number! First and foremost, never take anything for granted… Whilst it would be lovely to believe that all of the candidates referred by recruiters are the best of the best, dropping your guard and not being involved throughout the process based on that assumption may well lead to a poor hire.
In fairness, qualified applicants can sometimes be difficult to find, particularly if the recruiter is being giving a mixed-message about ‘precisely’ what you are looking for, which can be further exacerbated by a fractured Board that cannot agree with one another or a desperate management team that just wants to plug a gap in a roster. However, when you are making the decision to recruit a manager at any level and particularly if that manager is going to lead your business into the future through the strategies that you set, then you need to make sure that you do your homework and hire a reputable, honest and consistently successful recruiter. However it doesn’t stop there! You then need to build a RELATIONSHIP with them so that they learn your business from the inside out and therefore be able to find you the applicants that are going to be the best fit.
If you find that things aren’t quite working as they should and that your recruitment firm is consistently sending you undesirable or unqualified candidates, or you feel that they no longer “get you” or the role, then it is time to re-evaluate the relationship. Here are some suggestions on where to start that process:
- Have you been honest with yourself and each other about what it is that you really need and what you really want?
- Are you willing to pay the appropriate price to attract the right candidate – both the remuneration package and the recruitment fee? (You tend to get what you pay for on both fronts!)
- Have you been able to articulate your vision of the perfect candidate – their skills, their academic achievements and most importantly, their cultural fit?
- And are you satisfied that your recruiter can articulate all of the above back to you in their own words as well as yours?
- Do you understand your corporate culture and are you able to demonstrate it to the recruiter?
- Have you been completely honest with the recruiter? Or have you just told them what you think they want to hear?
- Has the “rhinoceros in the corner” been discussed or have you tried to sweep it under the carpet? In other words, tell the recruiter how it really is, not how it should be and if they’re worth their fee, they’ll find you a candidate that fits (almost regardless of the circumstance) *
- Are you aware of the name that your organisation has within the industry and are your expectations set accordingly?
- Are the job descriptions you are providing your recruiting firm completely accurate or are they too general or outdated? More specifically, do they accurately reflect what you want and what you need? More often than not, job descriptions detail skills and qualifications without getting to the core of the person, their values and the job that they will be doing in the environment that they will be doing it in!
* A great recruiter will give perspective candidates a candid summation of the role and the business, knowing full well that painting a rose-coloured picture of the situation will lead to a candidate accepting the job only to resign a month or two down the track. A great recruiter will find a way to wrap up your business, ‘warts and all’, so that perspective candidates are still interested.
If the answer to any of these questions above is a “no”, then you might like to think about addressing the issue before you go out and look for another recruiter. In other words, the problem might be ‘you’ and not your recruiter.
To Become a ‘Great’ Recruiter, You Need Practice………Experience = Practice!
The onus is on you to find the best possible recruitment business for your organisation. This is where we say, “it pays to do your homework” and whilst this is very much the case, it is important to note that you taking a passive approach to your next hire is very different from you having established a relationship with your recruiter resulting in you bring confident in their ability to provide you with the right short list of candidates that meet your specific requirements.
Here are some suggestions on the sorts of things that you can do to make sure that you are choosing the best possible recruitment company to represent your business out there in public. (Remember: candidates, your competition, your shareholders and the general public will be judging your business and its level of candidate care. So ask yourself, “are you comfortable handing over that sort of responsibility to just anyone?”).
- Speak to your peers: word-of-mouth advertising is one thing, but obtaining a nod of approval from someone that you trust is invaluable. Ask around to see who those that you respect have used and if there is a recruiter that is the obvious leader in your particular industry. Then ask yourself “WHY?”. Don’t fight the facts! If there is an obvious leader out there, find out why and talk to them – there’s probably a very legitimate reason that they’re leading the pack and we can guarantee you, it won’t be because of price!
- Ask for testimonials: any company worth its weight should be able to quickly and easily provide you with a comprehensive client list, along with reputable references and testimonials. If they can’t you need to ask yourself why they can’t.
- “Pick up the phone Reg”: once you’ve got a client list and some testimonials, for goodness sake, CALL THEM!!! But prior to doing so, make yourself a list of pertinent questions that you are going to ask so that you get the best value out of the call.
- Avoid “lapdogs”; you are looking for a recruiting firm, not a manicured poodle that will perform circus tricks at the sound of your voice. If a recruiter doesn’t ask questions, dig deeper into the requirements for the position and challenge your thinking, move on as all they are interested in is their fee. And remember: none of us have ALL of the answers, so sometimes, just sometimes, someone else might just have a better (cheaper/more effective/simpler/etc.) solution than you! And it might not always be the most obvious. A great recruiter will walk away from their fee if they can see a cheaper/free result that will better suit the client and knowing full well that the longer-term result for them will be a relationship that is built on trust, honesty and integrity.
- Approach a recruiter that is a specialist in your industry. Someone that knows and understands the specific challenges faced and the skill sets and qualifications that are required. Not to mention the personal qualities and traits that make people successful within the arena in which your business performs. They’ll also likely know those candidates that have erred on the side of the law that makes them a threat to your business or those that are not necessarily looking, but would be ideally suited.
- A quality recruiter will want to know why the position is open or better still, already has a good idea why it is open and they should be able to demonstrate that they have a basic understanding of the requirements for the job and a willingness to learn more.
- A great recruiting firm will communicate regularly, informing you of progress
(or lack of progress); they will return your calls and will be available to receive yours. In other words, they will make time for you and your business and be available when it works for you and not just them. In the hospitality industry, weekends and evenings are often a great time to conduct interviews, so ask the recruiter when and how they would usually conduct this part of the process and what hours they are open from and to.
- BEWARE of recruiters charging a percentage of a salary as their fee ! A great recruiter will charge a flat fee for their recruitment and be confident that the fee charged will cover the full range of work involved for that particular level of recruitment. Be aware that those recruiters charging a percentage of the successful candidate’s salary may attempt to push the candidate’s salary up simply to increase their fee.
Returning to the point under the heading above; Examining Yourself, it is important that an organisation that is relying heavily on a recruiter to source, vet and recommend key staff, should also be willing to make an investment in developing the relationship by inviting that recruiter in to their business. Investing your time in your recruiter is like investing your time in your staff – the better they all get to know your business, the more successful they will be.
Thinking this through further: as organisations we invest hours and hours in to developing relationships with suppliers, vendors, financial institutions and of course our customers. Wouldn’t it therefore make sense to invest the same level, or even a greater effort in to developing a relationship with your recruiter whom you rely so heavily upon to provide staff who will lead your business in to the future (eg. a General Manager or CEO)? So why not encourage a sense of partnership with your recruiter and measure the results of your efforts. Make sure that you keep a constant line of communication open with whomever you are working with and discuss successes and failures as no one learns anything in a void.
This guide has been put together based on a combined 50 years’ worth of recruitment experience. The White Now Team between them have recruited for over 2,500 industry clients, most of whom return again and again; whilst having placed in excess of 6,000 managers and team members across the Club Industry. With testimonials available from venues small, medium and large, White Now has established itself as the leading recruiter within licensed Clubs, Hotel Groups and Casinos and this has been achieved through the relationships that have been forged with its valued customers.
If you are considering any sort of recruitment or would simply like to open up the lines of communication to begin building that unique club-recruiter relationship, please contact Toby Kennett, CEO on 02 9807 186 or mobile 0411 777 329 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit www.whitenow.com.au or follow us on Facebook on www.facebook.com/whitenowwiz