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10 Tips for a Better Relationship With Your Recruiter

Working with a recruiter

Finding the perfect employee

The pressure is on. You’ve got a staff opening and you’ve got to get it filled – fast. If you are leaning toward working with a recruiter or staffing firm, but you’re not sure how to proceed, here are 10 tips to help ensure a successful outcome for everyone involved.

  1. Ask questions and be ready to answer their questions ­­– questions around how they operate, what you can expect, why they do the things they do, and what do you need to do to make the process as pain free as possible. Even if your best friend referred them, ask for references. Then check them out.
  1. Be open and honest – Explain fully why position is open. Is it growth? The last person in the slot left under a cloud? No internal candidates are acceptable?Be clear about the positions requirements as well as about workplace environment, challenges and opportunities. If it’s important, explain the temperament you’re looking for but be open to possibilities you may not have thought of.
  1. Talk to more than one recruiter. Just as in other work activities (and in your personal life), the relationship is important. You are essentially hiring them to do a job for you so, just as you would any prospective employee, interview the recruiter. You will hopefully be working closely, so make sure the chemistry is good.
  1. Work with a reputable recruiting firm, one that specializes in your industry, if possible. Most recruiters don’t get paid if they don’t make a placement, so watch out for the ones who will try to persuade you that someone who’s only an okay fit is really good enough.
  1. Choose a firm that specializes in your industry. We at Morton Consulting specialize in filling IT technician and management positions. Even if we have a great relationship with a client, if they ask us to help them fill a marketing or customer service job, for instance, we would likely refer them to someone with more expertise in that area.
  1. Set expectations – This may be a subset of the open and honest requirement, but be sure everyone is on the same page about expected outcomes and the path to reach those goals. Be sure everyone is clear on how fees are structured and when they are to be paid.
  1. Be clear on what you are looking for – the job description is only part of it. Temperament, attitude, energy levels, tolerance for the ambient noise level – any of these things can affect job performance. To get a good fit give a good list of requirements. Ross Campbell, a Toronto Financial Services & Insurance Recruiter, and blogger on IQ Partners, an executive search and recruiting firm, suggests sending a confirmation email that reiterates your discussion points.
  1. Listen to your recruiter’s advice – Take advantage of their expertise – they see lots of employers and even more candidates. Respect their input. If your qualification requirements are unrealistic, if they say your salary offer is unrealistic, or they point out some other issue, believe them. They aren’t just in it for a bigger commission.
  1. Provide feedback – When you’ve interviewed the candidates we’ve sent you, let us know what’s next. Did you like them? Will they be invited back for another interview? Are we getting close? Are you open to talking to more candidates?If you aren’t happy with any aspect of your relationship with the recruiter, whether it’s the candidates, the timing or any aspect of the process, it’s up to you to communicate. We’re not mind readers.Even though a lot of business takes place on the phone, an occasional meeting face to face can have dividends – airing of minor problems before they become big issues, for instance, or strengthening rapport with the rep. The rep can absorb the corporate vibe and may feel more comfortable providing insights face to face. Stuff that is too unimportant to bring up in a phone conversation, but can fester over time, is more easily talked over in person.
  1. Follow-up is a two-way street – According to LinkedIn, citing a study by Deloitte, 80 percent of recruiters believe they have a good understanding of the jobs they’re recruiting for, yet only 61 percent of hiring managers disagree with this. Making it worse, the most important factor for a successful hire is the relationship between the hiring manager and the recruiter, according to that same study by Deloitte. In fact, this single factor was found to be four times more important than any other. So, keep in close communication. Talk to each other.

Recruiters are successful only if they make their clients happy. So, keep the lines of communication open, let us know where we fall down and where we’ve succeeded. Listen when we offer advice. Be open about what you and your company need. Let a relationship develop over time. We can all be successful when we work together.