How to break the habit of the outside recruiter


When the flow of exciting resumes doesn’t keep pace with the hiring needs of a growing business, many will turn to outside recruiting firms. These companies see a quick and cost effective way to get more resumes, as they have established databases and work on an emergency basis, typically charging between 9% and 33% of the first year’s salary only if a hire is done.

But many casual recruiters play the numbers game, sending out all plausible resumes, hoping some will stick around. This floods hiring managers with a busy job screening low quality candidates and often interviewing people who are not well suited for the company. Already understaffed, hiring managers then deprioritize hiring (as an unnecessary exercise), so that positions are filled even more slowly, compounding the problem. There must be a better way.

The common solution is to try different recruiting firms, hoping for better resumes, or to hire several recruiting firms at the same time. But that rarely improves the situation, because it only widens the numbers game. Other companies put HR in the middle, asking them to filter out bad resumes before going to hiring managers. It can help, but it can also slow down the process, especially if HR is already overloaded. It also requires that HR be trained in how to effectively filter resumes for the specific requirements of different jobs. And that still doesn’t solve the challenge of finding exceptional, well-suited candidates who are particularly interested in the business.

Do it yourself, do it better

The holistic method is to establish a company-wide ethic designed to attract and target enthusiastic and qualified talent. The strategy is to promote the specific culture of the company while bringing the recruitment process in-house and relying on the company’s existing networks to help find the best people. By increasing the organic flow of qualified CVs, it allows companies to wean themselves from ineffective contingent recruiters and rely on a more focused internal HR function to drive the process.

“We thought our first effort should be to make sure we’re a company where people really want to work,” said Kevin Peterson, President and CEO, Long Beach-based P2S Engineering and Design Group. , in California. 4.8 (out of 5) Glassdoor employee satisfaction rating and “Best Place to Work” awards. “Then we strive to connect directly with the right people, relying on an internal process that we are able to drive ourselves. We just felt that the outside recruiters weren’t able to get our message across.

Seven Steps to Biological Recruitment.

  1. Improve your workplace. Fill in the obvious gaps, such as below-market wages, an unattractive company culture, or a poor work-life balance. No organic awareness strategy can work well in a bad workplace, while improving the environment will really pay off.
  2. Project a positive image. Clarify what you think is special about your company culture and talk about it publicly, through communications and social media. Let people know what’s great about working at your company and they’ll be more likely to apply.
  3. Choose a champion. Staff development, including recruitment, must be led from the top. If there is no framework to oversee the excellence of your human capital, consider hiring someone. The aim is to drive a holistic approach, while ensuring that the details – from articulating the positive company culture to staffing and promoting the process internally – are accomplished.
  4. Appoint a recruitment project manager. The main job of this person is to fill vacancies, not by cold calling, but by driving the process aggressively throughout the company and improving the bottom line. Highly organized and determined, the priorities are keeping job postings up to date, filtering resumes effectively and pushing hiring managers to process applicants quickly. If external recruiters are used, this person’s primary role is to coordinate with them and feed their resumes through the system.
  5. Attract CVs independently. Once in place, the new person will start collecting resumes independently and start creating an organic recruiting process. This will focus on writing better jobs and posting them in more places, including sponsored posts on LinkedIn and Glassdoor, targeting hard-to-fill positions first. They should spruce up your recruiting page and consider a candidate management system.
  6. Develop an employee referral program. This only works if there is a positive culture and employees are willing to recommend your business. If so, set an eye-catching referral fee (often different for different roles). But incentives aren’t enough, and many employees don’t realize how they can find good candidates. So, organize one-on-one conversations with employees to help them think about it. It can go way beyond friends and can include raising awareness and industry networking or having them posted directly to social media.
  7. Build your organic resume stream. As your own resume flow increases, keep recruiting. Even during lulls, when there are few or no open positions, don’t stop the process. During slow times, build a list of great candidates to stay in touch with, so that you have a “hot list” to turn to when needed. (See our article As your organic resume flow increases, reduce the number of external recruiters, although they may still be needed for managerial positions or a rare technical hire.
  8. Increase the team. If you still need more recruiting power, consider adding an outbound recruiter. A different skill set from the coordination role, this position is essentially an internal headhunter, whose job it is to pick up the phone to call employee candidates and convince them to quit their current job and join one at your company. . (See our article detailing that.)

Many executives are not convinced that they can make internal recruiting a success. They hired outside firms because they couldn’t do it on their own, so why go back now? In addition, with so many priorities, there is no internal executive champion with the bandwidth to own the initiative. Isn’t outsourcing better than having one more problem to deal with?

Make people your priority

The reality is that organic recruiting works best as part of an overall commitment to creating and maintaining a positive culture and genuinely investing in people as the lifeblood of the business. In fact, most of the best companies place recruiting and retention as one of their highest priorities, and the CEO is directly involved in strategizing in this area, if not in the process itself.

Bringing recruitment in-house and developing candidates organically can pay off, translate into better quality staff who stay longer and help improve business performance. P2S, which has 230 employees, has worked in the past with four external recruiting firms, seeking to fill 6-10 vacancies at any one time. After going organic, in 2016-18, 58% of their new hires came from employee referrals, 34% online (company website, social media and internet advertising) and 8% from a recruiter external. Employee incentives for referrals are significant, with up to $ 10,000 to help fill an engineer position. Yet the whole process costs less, works better, and brings in better candidates.

“Our highly engaged employees are the reason for our success, so we thought it was natural to involve them in recruiting,” says Peterson of P2S. “Taking the process in-house and letting everyone participate has only spread our message more widely, while really helping us continue to grow our great team.”

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