5 Reasons to Partner With a Recruiter (and How to Get the Most Out of the Relationship)

Here are five tips for attracting a recruiter's undivided attention and getting the most out of the collaboration.

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In recent years, many people have decided to leave their jobs to look for greener pastures or a better work-life balance. At the same time, the Baby Boomer generation is disappearing from the workforce at a rapid pace. This is leaving a lot of companies in a difficult situation.

To add insult to injury, many industries are not as attractive to younger generations — insurance, telecommunications and retail are prime examples. Today, thousands of companies are facing a seemingly countless number of open positions — either because of growth or resignations. Not having the much-needed skill set available can cause serious interruptions — not to mention a tremendous amount of lost revenue — in any business.

What can you do to avoid a staff shortage or to stop the bleeding of money when there is a war for talent? How can you get in front of your competition and hire the best of the best before anybody else? The answer is simple: partner with a specialist recruitment agency that knows your industry inside and out and has an extensive network with connections to the pool of untouchable candidates. It sounds easy, but the ugly truth is that a candidate-driven market means that good recruiters are busier than ever, and can choose which companies they want to partner with and on what conditions.

Here are five tips for attracting a recruiter's undivided attention and getting the most out of the collaboration.

1. Consider Them a Business Partner, Not Just a Vendor

The more you share about your challenges, the more a recruiter can help. Still, many business leaders are reluctant to provide too much information to someone who is not an employee, fearing they might be exposing weakness or giving away trade secrets.

But how can a consultant be expected to provide valuable insights and top-notch service when they do not receive the information they need to do their job? If you're a business leader who hesitates to share more with a recruiter than what is absolutely necessary, there are ways to mitigate the risk. A well-worded NDA (non-disclosure agreement), for example, can put everybody's mind at ease.

2. Do a Reality Check — and Be Honest

Founders, business owners and executives often believe their company culture is one of the best in the business. Sometimes, even something like a high-turnover rate doesn't spark worry that something may be wrong — though it's usually crystal clear to everyone else that people quit their managers, not their jobs.

Recruitment partners are there to help you. They know why people quit, and they have the expertise and resources to help you turn your company around and increase engagement. There is nothing more frustrating to a recruiter than leadership trying to downplay their problems. Good recruiters can read between the lines — challenges motivate them, but BS doesn't.

3. Respect Each Other's Time

Partnering with a consultant will save you many valuable hours, but in return, you should also be responsive and ready to do your due diligence quickly. It is a candidate-driven market and sometimes it takes only a few hours for a talented individual to get hired.

Sure, there is a process that needs to be followed and stakeholders that a potential new hire needs to meet before making a decision. I get it. But I also see that recruiters don't want to partner with hiring managers who don't trust their expertise. Why does your HR department need to interview a candidate when you have already paid for them to be vetted by a consultant? And why can't you schedule panel interviews back-to-back instead of entering into a multi-day scheduling nightmare?

4. Consider a Retainer Agreement

Contingency-based recruitment services still exist, but if your company has burning needs, I highly recommend showing that you have skin in the game. The best way to do this is with a retainer, by which you can expect your recruiter to clear their desks for you on very short notice and go above and beyond to fill your roles.

Just as you might keep a lawyer on retainer, the same can be said for retaining a recruiter for hard-to-fill and urgent hiring needs. Many of the top recruitment firms no longer accept contingency-based assignments because they don't want the risk of not filling the position if the client ends up less than fully committed to the process.

5. Pay Their Fees and Pay on Time

Yes, recruitment firms charge fees for their services. Yes, they can be expensive. But the longer the role is open, the more that opening costs you and your company. While it is okay to negotiate with a potential recruitment firm, it's important to be reasonable and respectful. Recruitment is a hard job, and when clients pay their fees on time, it is considered a sign of appreciation.

Recruitment agencies can be an excellent source of top talent if you treat your recruiters well. When you give a recruiter a proper seat at the table, they can fill positions quickly, even during a candidate-driven market.

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