It happened. Your best worker has handed in their resignation – the clock is ticking – the countdown is on. You need someone to replace them, but who? Where do you even begin? 

 

The hiring process is a laborious task, depending on your industry, your candidate requirements, and the role; it can range from a week, to seven months for c-level positions. In addition, there is the added issue of it being a candidate-driven market. Candidates call the shots and it is up to you to entice them. 

There are many factors to consider when hiring. You need to be aware of industry salary averages and expectations, you need to think about what kind of candidate you want and, more importantly, for your bottom line – how much time can you dedicate to this process without hindering your company’s workflow and productivity? 

You might turn to a recruitment agency. If we stripped it to its bones, a recruitment agency matches an employee to an employer. That’s in its simplest form, however; a recruitment agency does so much more. The benefits include; time saved, better alignment, competitive edge and reach. 

 

1. Time Saved

To get the best employee, you need to invest your time. As mentioned earlier, time can vary dramatically depending on multiple factors. Whatever end of the spectrum you are on, time is going to be spent – you are in control of how much. The benefit of using a recruitment agency is that they can take that burden off your shoulders. They minimise time spent by you, undertaking the numerous and necessary tasks required to select an ideal candidate. 

A recruiter being a third-party also helps you stay realistic and can act as a time-keeper in a sense, letting you have a higher chance of getting the most qualified candidate. 57% of Australian HR managers concur, stating that a lengthy hiring process has resulted in them losing a qualified candidate to another opportunity. Time and money are inextricably linked. It can be difficult, even impossible, to balance one with the other in the hiring process, without external help.

So how does a recruitment agent help, besides taking on those manual tasks? A way to look at it is that a knight’s quest can at times be no different to a fool’s errand. Clarity is what a recruiter can help you find. There is always going to be a dream employee in your mind. However, if you cannot differentiate between what is essential to your company and what would be an added-bonus, you are going to find yourself in one of two scenarios:

– A candidate who fits all the requirements on paper but does not suit the company culture

– No candidate at all

A recruiter helps you understand what is out there in the market and what is essential to the role, and what isn’t. 

In addition, time is saved in regards to filtering. A recruiter plays as the middle-person who ensures that the candidates you see are closely aligned to what you require. With the average corporate job posting receiving 250 resumes, it’s not surprising that a study by MRI Network found that unqualified, junk resumes from job boards were the most common issue for 23% of employers, when it came to finding qualified talent. 

 

2. Better Alignment

If I asked you to describe yourself, you wouldn’t be alone in struggling just a bit to figure out what to say. However, if I asked you to describe a colleague or a friend, you would more than likely have a much easier time describing them. An external point-of-view can help you identify and conceptualise what you and your company need. Company culture is an incredibly important factor to consider. Someone could have all the requirements, but if they can’t resonate with your company’s ethos or are unable to cooperate or fit in with their team, this will not be a sustaining relationship. 

A misalignment between your brand and a candidate is a serious issue. Values are extremely important, they don’t need to match perfectly between employee and employer, but if they are conflicting – it will be costly. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the cost of a bad hiring decision could be up to 30% of the individual’s yearly potential earnings. A recruitment agency can prevent that misalignment from happening through understanding your company and vetting candidates.

Recruitment agencies interview and assess candidates prior to short-listing them to be viewed by a company. A two-step process involves, firstly, an interview which will let recruiters assess a candidate’s competency for the role based on their previous experience. Secondly, skills tests and psychometric assessments are employed. Psychometric assessments are designed to measure intellectual capability and their personality traits in relation to the position. This type of in-depth vetting exponentially increases the chance of a better company fit.

 

3. Competitive Edge

We are in a candidate-driven market. Candidates have the upper-hand which leads to high competition between companies. The pressure is on, and recruiters can help significantly. According to Zippia, 89% of applicants accept a job faster when contacted by a recruiter. 

Another big benefit of using a recruitment agency is the knowledge and connections they possess. A recruiter’s job hinges on connections and a large candidate pool. A recruiter’s connections can give you a competitive edge when attaining top talent. They can provide you with salary guides and give you market insight so that your company can get the best talent – before other companies.

In addition, C-level hiring is especially difficult without a recruitment agency. C-level candidates are one of the hardest groups to reach and to place. The candidates themselves don’t have time to actively job search, and it’s especially difficult for hirers to find and identify good ‘potential’ c-level executives that aren’t at that level yet. It’s important to hire a candidate based on their history, leadership qualities, personality and their ability to grow into the role. The higher and more niche you go, the smaller the candidate pool becomes, and consequently, the harder it becomes to find the right talent.

Recruitment agencies have the ability to find talent that is not necessarily obvious. Having a candidate that has years of successful experience in the c-level sphere in a different company does not necessarily make them a good fit for yours. This is supported by Ron Johnson’s (former Apple Retail CEO) 17-month tenure at JCPenney. Although on paper Johnson seemed to be what JCPenney needed in regards to revitalising their image, he was wholly unsuccessful. He failed to understand the company’s culture, brand and couldn’t differentiate between his Apple customers and JCPenney consumers. 

A recruitment agency identifies a candidate’s value and can take into account what they can offer as a means of growth for your company. A recruiter has the knowledge and time to consider that. Their connections with senior people in the industry assist significantly in discovering hidden talent – talent that your competitors may not have considered, or even know about!

 

4. Reach

A big problem we have at the moment when it comes to hiring, which is a symptom of a candidate-driven market – is passive talent. So what do I mean by that? Passive talents are those that are currently employed, not looking for work, but would accept a good job offer. Not the easiest to find and they account for a massive 70% of the market. 

However, they provide the most opportunity for you. As they aren’t actively job searching, you won’t have to compete with other companies. A recruiter can significantly help with reaching those hidden talents . As it’s their job to be aware of current and upcoming trends and news within the industry, they will be able to source talent that you may never have even considered. 

In addition, recruiters within the industry have amassed a massive pool of high-quality candidates. As mentioned earlier, a good recruitment agency establishes good, long-lasting relationships. Having someone, in this case a recruiter, who already has a rapport with the candidate, you are more likely to reach them. We as humans don’t like to delve into the unknown; having a mutual acquaintance can be assuring, and makes us more likely to consider and accept an offer or at the very least, a meeting. 

 

Conclusion

I’m not going to lie, the idea of using a recruitment agency is a contentious topic, controversial even. Everyone has an opinion, and usually it’s either one extreme or the other, which is usually spurred on by past experiences.  As with any industry, there are good and there are bad apples.

However, it must be said that recruitment agencies are very powerful tools in attaining talent. They have a wealth of knowledge that can be and should be utilised by your company. Their job is to find what you’re looking for and match it with someone who is a Good Fit for your organisation. They are there to help. To not even consider a recruiter or agency to help you, you are shutting the door to many possibilities – most that could have been an even better option for your company.

About the Author:

With over 15 years’ experience in advisory and leadership positions, William is an accomplished and pragmatic leader. Having helped countless international businesses grow and expand, William has an innate cross-cultural understanding. Passionate about his work, William loves mentoring and sharing with others.
Read more about William Gaguin.