Building Relationships With External Agencies

The impasse between internal recruitment and agencies cannot be ignored. For a long time, there has been an adversarial relationship between the two parties. Both considering the other to be a threat to their existence (or success).

It is rare to find a Talent Manager or Internal Recruiter who has not found themselves on the end of multiple sales calls per week from recruitment agencies claiming to have the “ideal candidate” that appeared on the careers page that week. All too often these wild claims are not backed up with either quality of service or candidate.

It is no surprise that this barrage of calls and claims has led to the use of the PSL as being a shield rather than a genuine tool to help the business develop strategic partnerships with its suppliers.

The world of work and the recruitment landscape has changed significantly throughout 2020. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology and drove a digital transformation that is likely to change how we work forever. Financial pressures created in the economy and volatility in many sectors has meant that recruitment has needed to be more agile.

With the changes set to be the new operating system for 2021 and beyond, it is important that talent teams work closely with their chosen agency partners to develop stronger strategic alliances. Having a partner with whom you’ve shared the goals and objectives for the business and developed a cohesive route to engage with talent on behalf of your brand will give you competitive advantage over other organisations who are seeking to hire the same talent, in the same location.

To get the most out of your agency partners we recommend –

Be Transparent and Agree a Working Framework

Share with your partner the vision for the business and how Talent will support it. Be clear as to the strengths of your team and where you believe a recruitment partner could add value and coverage.

Look at how you can work closer together to develop the external messaging and your employer value proposition. Create an agreed Tone of Voice that both you and your chosen agency will use when communicating with the market. Continuity of the candidate experience from initial conversation with the agency recruiter (and earlier with job advert copy, social media posts and direct marketing communication) through to offer creates commitment and buy-in. The link between agency and internal recruitment ensures talent is not lost in the gap.

Creating Strategic Partnerships for Recruitment

The preferred suppliers list of agencies has, for many years, existed as the crux of the relationship between an Internal Recruitment team the agency market. Many of these PSLs are overly cumbersome, create limited meaningful relationship between the customer and the vendor and rarely have any useful service level agreement beyond commercial terms.

What was once seen as the holy grail for a recruiter is more frequently considered a millstone around the neck.

Be clear on the value of the relationship for both parties. Develop a service level and set expectations early as to what you will provide your agency and what you expect in return. Map your process with them as to how you can work together from initial briefing through to on-boarding. Get the most out of their insight and knowledge of the market place and invite them in to help develop the right person specifications for the key roles in your tech teams. Partner together to co-brand your talent attraction and engagement. Get your agency doing the heavy lifting for you to build and nurture relationships with the right audience.

Give Your Agency Breathing Space

Once you brief your agency it is likely that the role in question have been through the twists and turns of sign off for headcount and budget. The initial internal briefing meeting to discuss the requirement could have been as much as three weeks before you go to market. Give you agency a heads up on what is currently in the sign off process so that ground work can be done to build a campaign. When speed is of the essence, early heads up can help a recruitment consultant serve you better. Confidentiality and discretion are important at this stage, which is why trust and partnership is so valuable.

The relationship between you and your recruitment agency is a two way street. This should be mutually beneficial and closer working arrangements will help ensure the right talent is hired, in the right timescales and delivers against the mission well into the future.

If you’d like to talk to Vivo about how we work in partnership with our customers, feel free to reach out to one of our consultants for a conversation.