Collaborating with a recruitment agency

9 mistakes to avoid

Recruitment is a crucial process for any company, as the quality of the talent recruited has a direct impact on its performance and growth. In this quest for the ideal candidate, collaborating effectively with a recruitment agency can be a real asset.  

However, there’s more to successful collaboration than delegating the recruitment task to a third party. To maximize your chances of success, it’s essential to establish a strong partnership with your recruitment agency. This requires transparent communication, a mutual understanding of needs and close collaboration throughout the process.  

collaborating with a recruitment agency

Commissioning a recruitment agency without collaboration and communication is like going to war with a toothpick (or running a marathon in flip-flops, your choice 🩴).   

In this article, I reveal all the best practices for collaborating optimally with a recruitment agency (any resemblance to existing characters would be purely coincidental 🤫). 

Mistake #1: Your request is vague/irrealistic  

“You find me the same profile as two years ago, he was perfect!”   

… Except that since then, the market has evolved and Bernard’s double no longer exists. Because you didn’t consider all the possibilities beforehand, your recruitment is three months behind schedule, and the impact on your business is already being felt. Spending time in a recruitment office maximizes your chances of success in the future. Starting out on the same footing as before, or without adequate preparation, means denying the importance of the profile you’re looking for, as well as the changes in the market. 

💡 Brief your partner as best you can. Envision the perfect profile, differentiate the “must-have” from the “nice-to-have”. Define a sourcing strategy, don’t let your supplier dictate the rules, but co-construct with them an approach that will guarantee results. You know your industry and your partner knows the recruitment market, so share your views and listen carefully. 

Mistake #2: You’ve e-mailed your job description to all your partners   

Suddenly, you’re bombarded with phone calls, your LinkedIn inbox and email are overflowing, the reception phone never stops ringing, and a long-toothed salesman shows up at reception with “the perfect candidate”.   

Miraculously, you’ve found the pearl among the fifty or so CVs received, thanks to a reliable partner. Unfortunately, another supplier has put forward the same candidate and is demanding astronomical compensation. You have to call your legal department to the rescue, and the mess goes all the way back to your management.  

At Profile Group, we like our quotes a little intellectual, so, as Machiavelli says: “He who excels at solving difficulties avoids them before they arise.” 

💡 Successful recruitment is based on a well-thought-out organization and sourcing strategy, including the choice of one or more partners. Exclusivity, though restrictive, also guarantees that a partner of choice will present you in the best possible light to candidates, and can help you avoid numerous contractual problems later on.   

For the recruitment agency, it’s also proof of trust and the ability to deliver qualitative results. Your company is named and described with care and precision in the job description, which is not always possible with a non-exclusive contract. 

Mistake #3: You don’t have much time to devote to recruitment   

Of course, the reason you hire a recruitment agency is to save time. But the ultimate decision-maker is not the recruiter, but your company. With busy schedules, whether for the HR department or for hiring managers, it’s not always easy to keep in regular contact. On the other hand, the recruiter engages several candidates in the process, who also have limited time and possibly other opportunities.   

By communicating off and on with your partner, you run the risk of losing candidates along the way and wasting the recruiter’s working hours, which you have paid for, according to the established contract.   

💡 Show yourself to be available and responsive. Ideally, you should have a weekly update on recruitment progress and the state of the market. In addition to providing rapid feedback to candidates, you’ll refine your search together. Your requirements may evolve as you consult CVs and meet candidates. Thanks to these regular exchanges, neither you nor your partner waste time on out-of-scope candidates. 

Mistake #4: You go ahead with recruitment on your own, without informing your partner.

You’ve given a recruitment agency an exclusive mandate, but you still want to keep a hand in sourcing. The problem is that at this point, both parties are wasting time or money.   

You’re likely to receive some direct applications. Indeed, some candidates feel reassured by the idea of direct dialogue with the hiring company. But a recruitment agency’s expertise doesn’t stop at sourcing. The recruiter conducts phone screenings with a dozen or so candidates, interviews them and then sends you the crème de la crème in terms of talent. There’s a whole pre-selection process upstream. The recruiter carefully analyzes the candidates’ profiles, assessing their skills, experience, achievements and suitability for the position to be filled. A time-consuming, energy-intensive stage. 

💡 Share all applications with your recruitment consultant. This ensures that all candidates pass through the same filter and are evaluated based on the same criteria. By operating in this way, you also facilitate collaboration and information sharing, which can lead to constructive discussions and better decision-making when selecting top talent. 

Mistake #5: You want to involve your entire team in the decision-making process  

Your team of 6 employees lives in perfect harmony, everything is lovely and rosy. As a result, everyone has to validate the candidates – the symbiosis that has developed within the team must not be disrupted! Six months later, your partner doesn’t want to do any more research after presenting you with half a dozen shortlists.  

💡 Validate a coherent process with a limited number of stakeholders. Empower your managers and invite them to make a decision for themselves. The process should be as smooth as possible, which means a limited number of interviews (2 or 3) in succession. The perfect candidate won’t wait two weeks without hearing from you – your competitor will already have made progress with him or her. 

Mistake #6: You didn’t get everyone around the table beforehand   

You present your 4th candidate to your director, who dismisses the CV out of hand, and your human resources manager outbids you by pointing out that the profile is far too expensive in relation to the rest of the team.   

You realize far too late that the various parties involved are not in agreement when it comes to analyzing the profiles presented, whether in terms of the budget allocated, the skills sought or the proposed working environment. Too late, your partner is working in instalments, and you’ve already spent several thousand euros on this recruitment, your supplier has already exhausted himself in the search.  

💡 Validate the profile and sourcing strategy with all stakeholders. If your CEO or director validates the profiles, make sure he or she is positively involved in the recruitment so that everyone analyzes the applications received on the basis of a common skills grid. 

Mistake #7: You’ve got the perfect technical profile, he knows all your technologies inside out…   

You’re in a traditional halo effect. His technical expertise has taken over in your analysis, and you haven’t taken the time to assess his soft skills. Two months after his arrival, Jean-Pierre doesn’t fit into the corporate culture, you haven’t listened to his expectations in terms of development, and a heavy atmosphere is setting in among the teams. Your projects are falling behind schedule, and you’ve lost your key customer. You didn’t listen to your partner’s warnings, too late.  

💡 Make sure you define your expectations in terms of soft skills, and the company culture matches up for the candidate too. Share with them the difficulties they might encounter, the advantages and disadvantages of their position. If you have the opportunity, evaluate these aspects using psycho-technical tests, or make an objective assessment of the skills acquired and to be developed by your future candidate. 

Mistake #8: You’ve forgotten that it’s 2023   

Your ideal candidate grew up in the area and proved his worth in the SME next door before joining your company. In fact, your cousin David knows him too! You don’t want to risk meeting the foreign candidate recommended by your recruitment agency. After all, what does he really have to offer?   

💡 Quality candidates are mobile and ready to relocate for a new professional adventure. Having an international, multicultural talent acquisition strategy fosters innovation, cross-cultural understanding and talent attraction, which can contribute to overall company growth and success. 

Mistake #9: You send an incomplete salary proposal by e-mail to the recruitment office 

And the discussions that follow take forever, only to be turned down at the last minute. You haven’t taken the time to explain and document your proposal. The candidate comes back to you with dozens of questions: how much is the group insurance? Are outpatient expenses covered by hospitalization insurance? Is the fuel card Belgian or European? Worse still, a candidate who doesn’t receive the correct information about their remuneration prior to hiring may feel misled once the first payslip is received, and your collaboration begins in disaster.  

💡 Take the time to accompany your partner so that they pass on the right information or get directly involved in handing over the salary proposal. Be sure to document all information in writing to ensure total transparency and guarantee a collaboration that gets off to the best possible start. 

Collaborating with a recruitment agency, a major lever for talent acquisition

In conclusion, working with a competent recruitment agency can be a real lever for finding the best talent and ensuring the long-term future of your company. However, to maximize the results of this collaboration, it is essential to follow certain best practices.   

Don’t let recruitment be a brake on your growth. Choose to collaborate effectively with a recruitment agency you can trust. Whether you’re looking for sharp technical profiles, inspirational leaders or experts in your field, we’re here to help you find the talent that will make a difference to your business.  

Contact us today and give your recruitment strategy a decisive boost. 

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