Hiring is an extensive and rewarding process, but it’s not immune to stagnancy. From long stretches without any fresh candidates to getting turned down when using outreach marketing to advertise your role, many obstacles present themselves in the task of hiring new employees. Sometimes there’s only so much you can do and you need someone else to lend a hand. In these types of situations, it’s often wise to bring in the expertise and support of a third party staffing resource to get the role filled.
Selecting the right recruiter is extraordinarily similar to choosing the right candidate; there are aspects of both technical and cultural fit to consider. In a highly competitive market, many staffing agencies, firms, and companies will do anything possible to place themselves on a preferred vendors list. So, bringing in the right partner is a critical step to not only fill an open position but also to incorporate sustainable growth for your company. But, how do you go about doing so in an honest, efficient, and value-based manner?
Look for honesty.
We’ve all met recruiters who say, “Of course, I can get this filled for you in a week!” or “Everyone I send over will be perfect.” As enticing as these promises may be, accepting such temporary relief will often lead to more stress and long-term headaches. Sourcing for talent is not a step-by-step lab experiment but rather an abstract puzzle; since there isn’t one right answer, you’re often left with many alternate solutions. During the initial introduction call, poor recruiters will emphasize false beliefs so as to impress you and gain your trust. Not to invoke a cliché, but trust should be earned.
Talented and efficient recruiters often walk you through their methodology and approach and discuss how to integrate those with your preferences and your company’s process. Keep an ear out for questions such as, “What have been your pain points in finding competitive candidates?” and “To be frank, there is currently no one in my active pool who fits this role, but I will reach out to my network which has always helped point me in the right direction.”
Find out what their niche is.
Often times, a recruiter will state “Sure, I can work on any role that comes my way!” during their first conversation with you, and in some cases, this could actually serve as a huge benefit if hiring is across multiple departments. For more specialized circumstances, however, that same recruiter may not provide effective resolutions. So, don’t be shy in asking a recruiter specifics regarding their recent and related placements.
When a recruiter has built up a talent pool with direct contacts, they have a natural jump start, which often lends to impressive referrals – a jackpot in our industry. For example, let’s say you have a Senior Medical Science Liaison role that targets an individual with not only a doctorate degree and at least five years of experience, but also hands-on research experience in epilepsy and the flexibility to travel to Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. Recruiters who have never worked in Medical Affairs roles may have a tough time stepping in and efficiently sourcing for this position. Don’t write them off yet! Rather, inquire about their background in neurological Medical Affairs and their approach for this search. If they mention referring back to a previous search/pool or colleagues who have a related network, then that’s a good start and a potentially good partner for this position!
Set expectations up front.
Possibly, the most antagonizing aspect of hiring is not during ruts, but when issues arise in the contract/agreement phase that puts everything to a grinding halt. When a problem crops up so late in the process, it can be related to a misstep or oversight during early communication efforts. Again, look for honesty. You need to find recruiters who not only value, but also practice it. In the initial call, such issues can be deftly navigated before it proceeds to review. Even after the discussion, ask for paperwork regarding agreements and contracts to be sent over and have your legal team review it.
Moreover, to avoid constant rescheduling and unqualified or non-ideal candidates, be sure to set up a weekly meeting with your recruiter. Hiring will always be an addition to your day-to-day responsibilities, but ten minutes each week of clear communication with your recruiter could save hours later.
At the end of the day, do not let hiring create an unwarranted burden on your business. Staffing resources are vital because finding the right addition to your team will impact how the company grows and even how you develop as a leader.