Episode #16 – Employer Best Practices for Working with a Recruiter

Employer Best Practices for Working with a Recruiter

Sharita: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, search consultant Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help organizations acquire top talent, while helping professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about employer best practices for working with a recruiter. Hello, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, I’m glad to be here today.

Sharita: Today’s podcast is the third in a series of podcasts that we’ve done recently about employers and why they use recruiters to help them hire. What specifically will we be talking about?

Stacy: Well, in the first podcast in our series, we discussed why organizations use recruiters. Then we discussed the value that recruiters bring to the hiring process. Now we’re going to talk about the best way that employers should work with recruiters to get the results they want.

Sharita: Now when you say “work with recruiters,” are you saying that employers should work with more than one recruiter or recruiting firm to help fill an open position? From a numbers standpoint, that would seem to make sense. If you have more people working on the search, then that would lead to more candidates and a better chance of filling the job quickly. Is that the case?

Stacy: That is actually NOT the case, and I’ll explain in detail why that is.

The best way to fill an important position is to work with only one recruiting firm. And I have three reasons why an organization should take that approach.

The first reason is higher quality. To illustrate this point, I want to talk a moment about motivation. People do what they’re motivated to do, and I think everybody would agree on that.

If you have multiple recruiting firms working on the same search, that means you’re motivating those search firms to produce candidates as quickly as possible. Why is that? Because they know they’re competing against other firms. Now notice that you’re not motivating them to produce the best possible candidates as quickly as possible. That’s because when you emphasize speed, you de-emphasize quality.

So the solution is to work with just one recruiting firm. When you do that, you’re motivating that firm to present the highest quality candidates, period. That’s because they don’t have to worry about competing against other firms. And of course, they want to do it as quickly as they can because they want to fill the position and meet your need.

Sharita: I had never thought about it like that before. It really does all come down to quality. It doesn’t make sense to hire somebody quickly if they’re wrong for the position.

Stacy: That’s right. The second reason to use one recruiting firm is that there’s less chance of miscommunication.

When you’re working with multiple recruiting firms on a search, you must keep track of everything and everybody. That’s because Recruiting Firm A only cares about Recruiting Firm A and Recruiting Firm B only cares about Recruiting Firm B.

It’s up to YOU as the hiring authority to make sure you don’t cross the streams and that you dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. You have to keep track of which firms have which versions of the job order and which firms have which candidates in play, and who’s interviewing where and when.

When you work exclusively with one recruiting firm, you don’t have any of these problems. There’s just one point of contact for all candidates presented and for all interviews scheduled and completed. That reduces the chances that something will fall through the cracks, and all it takes during the hiring process is one mistake to lose a great candidate.

Sharita: So what’s the third reason that a company should use one recruiting firm to help fill their position?

Stacy: The third reason is that it leads to a better candidate experience.

Let’s say, as a hiring manager, you have three candidates on your short list. All three are working with a different recruiting firm. What are the chances that all three candidates have heard exactly the same things about both the position and your organization? Slim at best.

These days, the candidate experience is very important, especially when we’re talking about the best candidates. And of course, the best candidates are the candidates you want to hire. When you work exclusively with one recruiting firm, especially a firm you know and trust, you know that every candidate presented and every candidate who goes through the process will receive the same experience. This will greatly enhance your employer brand and reputation within the industry.

Sharita: I imagine that some organizations still work with more than one recruiting firm on their searches. Is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right, and that’s something the employer should disclose to the recruiters working on the search.

Remember, working with multiple firms does not mean that you’re going to receive higher quality candidates. However, if you are working with more than one firm, inform the recruiters involved of the situation. More information is always better, and the recruiters will appreciate the fact that you told them.

Sharita: Are there other things that an employer should communicate to their recruiters during the search?

Stacy: There sure are! In fact, I have a list of six other things they should communicate to their recruiters.

The first thing is if they’ve already interviewed candidates. If that’s the case, they should provide the recruiter with their feedback about those interviews. That feedback could also help with the speed and accuracy of the search.

Second, they should tell the recruiter if funding for the job hasn’t been approved yet. Information like this changes the nature and scope of the search significantly, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe the company is being pro-active in anticipation of a hiring need because of an upcoming retirement, for example, and they’d like to have a list of candidates waiting when the time comes. However, the recruiter needs to know about circumstances such as these.

The third thing to communicate is if the employer doesn’t know exactly what they’re looking for. This might be difficult to admit, but one of the many roles that a recruiter fills is that of consultant. They may be able to help the employer articulate their needs, especially in regards to the job description. That way, they can present better candidates and help fill the position quickly.

The fourth thing is if an internal candidate has been identified. Such a person can serve as a benchmark for any outside candidates the recruiter might be able to source and present. This can improve the quality of the search and also the quality of the candidate who eventually fills the position.

The fifth thing is if the recruiter’s candidate or candidates are no longer in the running for the position. Disclosing this information saves time for everybody, including the recruiter, the candidates, and the employer. It allows the employer to focus solely on the candidates still involved in the process and reduces the chances that they’ll be contacted regarding candidates who are not.

Last but not least, the employer should let the recruiter know if and when the position has been filled. Obviously, if this is the case, then there’s no reason to continue with the search.

Sharita: Wow, that is a lot of information! I can see why it’s so important for employers to communicate with recruiters, even before the recruiters do any work.

Stacy: The relationship that an employer has with their recruiter is like any other relationship. The more communication there is, the better it will be for everybody.

Sharita: Is there one particular mistake that employers make when it comes to working with recruiters that stands out from all your years in the profession?

Stacy: Yes, there is, and that mistake comes at the end of the hiring process, during the offer stage.

Sharita: What is it that employers do during that stage?

Stacy: What they do is extend the offer to the candidate themselves.

Sharita: That doesn’t sound like a bad thing to do. But you’re saying that’s a mistake?

Stacy: It is, and I’ve seen the situation play out countless times. The candidate rejects the offer, and the employer then contacts me with the news. They’re often disappointed and confused.

Sharita: So what happens that causes this type of situation?

Stacy: It happens because the company did not “pre-close” the candidate. In other words, it did not ensure that the candidate would accept the offer before extending it, and when you don’t pre-close the candidate, you’re basically “rolling the dice.” It’s actually better for both the employer and the candidate if the recruiter is the one who extends the offer.

Sharita: Why is that?

Stacy: There are a few reasons why it’s better for the employer. First, it eliminates the possibility of a misstep. It’s easy to say or do the wrong thing during the offer stage. All it takes is one slip-up, and the candidate you like the most could be gone.

Second, a recruiter amasses a tremendous amount of information during a typical search, especially about the candidate. That knowledge is crucial to ensuring that the offer is made when and how it should be made, to ensure acceptance.

Third, there’s one less thing to worry about. For some hiring managers, it’s actually a relief to put the task of making the offer in a recruiter’s hands.

Sharita: What about the candidate side? Why is it better for them if the recruiter is the one making the offer?

Stacy: For one thing, if a candidate is working with a recruiter, they expect the recruiter to be the one who brings the offer to them. They have a certain comfort level with the recruiter. They can discuss the offer with them openly and address any concerns they have. They’re not likely to do that directly with the hiring manager.

Second, it relieves some of the pressure associated with the situation. That allows them to approach it with a clearer frame of mind.

Third, when a candidate is working with a recruiter, that recruiter is “pre-closing” them throughout the process. That means the recruiter is making sure they’re still engaged and they’re still 100% interested. If at any stage of the process they lose interest, the recruiter will find out that information and try to save the candidate, the company, and themselves a lot of lost time and energy.

Sharita: Stacy, thanks so much for all of this great information today.

Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!