I recently read HRMatters Ottawa’s blog titled “Relationship Advice For You and a 3rd Party Recruiter” and I felt compelled to write a response of sorts.  I enjoyed the post and I wanted to add a few thoughts of my own.  Carolyn Perkins provides advice and shares some experiences she has had working with 3rd party recruiters.    In short, I agree with her advice and think she is well positioned to provide it but I’d like to add to a few of her points and provide you with a recruiter’s perspective.

Let’s get started.

I absolutely agree with her first point; “Having someone reliable and who truly understands my hiring needs and challenges is invaluable.”.  From a recruiter’s perspective, we love when a client actually opens up to us and shares their needs, challenges,  providing us a better understanding of the organization and the people that make it run.  From time to time HR professionals keep their guard up and shut out the recruiters they hired.  I actually understand why they would be guarded at times and less than forthcoming with information.  I’ve heard horror stories of dysfunctional relationships between HR departments and 3rd party recruiters and it is usually because the recruiting firm is not looking at the relationship as a long-term engagement but rather a quick candidate placement.  I have to say that some recruiting firms are in it for themselves and are not thinking of their client’s long term success.  That leads to the second point.

The second point: “You are not looking for a quick fix here; you are looking for a long term, mutually beneficial relationship”.  Let me ask you a few questions:

  • Do you interview recruiting firms?
  • Do you check their references?
  • Do you speak with the recruiter(s) that will be assigned to your account?
  • Does hiring a 3rd party recruiter sound an awful lot like hiring an employee?  It should!

Your recruiter firm of choice should absolutely be a part of your strategic team and an extension of your organization, just like an employee should be.  That’s what a strong partnership should look like.  The best advice that I can give is to reach out to your network of contacts and industry peers and find out who they work with and why.   Based on the references you receive you’ll be able to narrow down your list of potential recruiting partners to invite for an interview.

Finally, although Carolyn does have a point about exclusive recruitment relationships seldom working I feel that I need to shed light on the downside of non-exclusive relationships.  Before I do, I should clarify one minor thing: in this instance I’m referring to a non-exclusive relationship or competitive situations between niche recruiting firms like ours and that of the large recruitment agencies.  Where we and other firms similar to ours pride ourselves on the quality of our process and candidates we submit, larger firms may not.  For instance, prior to submitting a candidate we have been through a screening process, at least one interview and we have checked one or more of their references.  This means we may not be submitting candidates until the second or third week of the search but when we do, they are hireable and we have done much of the legwork for you.  All because we have made the effort to learn about your organization and its needs.  This isn’t always the case with large agencies.  Often, their goal is to produce revenue ASAP and they submit as many candidate resumes as possible as quickly as possible hoping one will “stick”.  Under this scenario there’s rarely a net benefit for the client as they end up having to wade through scores or unqualified candidates wasting their time and resources along the way.

Let me get to the actual point: When multiple recruiting firms are working on the same role make certain that you’re comparing apples to apples and that you choose to engage with those firms on the basis of their track record, the value they’re providing and their understanding of your organization.

That was my two cents.  Thanks again to Carolyn for the advice.