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Should You Partner With a Recruiting Agency?

After retiring in 2022, I started a new career as a Technical Recruiter with FIT Staffing having spent the prior 43 years as an Information Technology Manager and IT Executive.  For many years, I was responsible for hiring technical talent and I felt I could make an impact at FIT having both technical skills and experience in hiring.  I thought the recruiter role would be enjoyable; meeting people, coaching talent, and helping companies fill their important roles!

As a hiring manager, I spent a lot of time reviewing resumes, talking to potential talent and, oftentimes, being bewildered at the resumes I received from my internal recruiting staff. “How could they possibly have sent me this resume for that job?”, I’d ask myself.  Certainly, I felt I could do better and make an impact for the companies FIT helps find talent.

In general, hiring is needs based – maybe a reorganization created a skills gap or perhaps a key team member resigned that’s causing work not to be accomplished.  Often, it can simply be that a project is approved which triggers a need to hire talent to deliver on a new idea.  Missing key talent causes pain and the Technical Manager must hire QUALITY candidates and QUALIFIED candidates QUICKLY!

Technical Managers are constantly under pressure to respond to management questions:

  • “If we gave you more money, could you deliver it faster?”
  • Then after a few weeks, “Why haven’t you filled these key roles yet?”
  • Which turns into, “If you don’t hire in 30 days, then we will cancel the requisition – you clearly didn’t need the role to be filled!”
  • Eventually, “Are you being too selective in your hiring?”

Oh, the life of a Technical Manager!   At some of my favorite larger companies I worked for, the process was managed by workflow software that automated the HR approval system; routing approval to key stakeholders for comment, wording and approvals. This serial process was painful. The automated workflow caused significant delays due to colleagues on vacation, heavy meeting periods or even because of the absent-minded colleague. Sometimes, the delays were associated edits to simple wording on the job description. A “work-day” often felt more like a “work-month”.

On the other hand, external technical recruiters are not bound by these sort of approval processes and the usual long wait for paperwork and comments to find its way out of this approval “corn maze”!

In my experience, the larger the company, the longer the time delay as management, HR, and legal, wrangle on “important words”.   Finally, days later the job can be posted, but we now need candidates to find it, read it and be interested in applying!

We get a lot of feedback about how working with external recruiters like us is a nimble and swift experience. We can move quickly to fill your role!  In fact, you could engage the external recruiter at the beginning of the hiring process and probably be interviewing candidates before you’ve even posted the job on your website.

The Waiting:

Once the role is posted on the company hiring web page, you start the process of hoping someone finds the ad and is interested in what was posted.  Generally, the job description ends up looking very little like the person you requested, but it now contains extra items like the amount of weight the person could potentially be required to carry or the amount of time expected to sit or squat.  As a hiring manager, I was rarely concerned that a Software Engineer could lift 15 pounds of weight or be capable of squatting and were able to sit for three hours at a time!

Questions to ask yourself about your job posting:

·       Are applicants looking at your website?  If you are a smaller firm, do they even know your company exists?

·       Are the right people you want to hire even in a job hunt?  It requires someone to look at the job boards, digest the job description and then to apply.  Recruiters access people who are talented and perhaps not actively looking.

·       Will your job posting get the attention of the people you want to hire? Or will the posting simply attract the unemployed?

·       People who need a job may be unemployed because they are not the best talent on the market.  In a reduction of workforce or downsizing, firms tend to hold onto the best talent.

·       Is your potential pool of candidates large enough, or talented enough?

·       Is your job posting appealing and to the point or is it bloated with too many words?

·       Once they apply, is there a 60 to 90-minute Q&A process that will discourage the casual job hunter? Usually, we coach companies away from these sorts of things.

·       The recruiting industry calls the process of posting a job and hoping the right candidates applies “Post and Pray”.   

In my experience, an external recruiting firm builds its own specific and targeted job description tailored for the exact role that you desire, and, typically, the description is quite appealing to candidates.   As a result, they start the outreach more quickly and target candidates by searching and reaching out to qualified talent.  Recruiters find talent quickly through a variety of sources and not a passive process that waits for candidates to find, read, and apply to your ad.  Recruiters search for “the best talent” to match your job.  These are generally people who are often NOT currently looking for a job.  External recruiters are people of action!

Passive or Direct Outreach:

Most external recruiters can not only start sooner but they actively reach out to find candidates – those who are looking for jobs, those who might be looking for a job in the near future and those candidates who might be enticed away from their current job to join you.  In my experience, external recruiters find a much larger group of potential employees!  External recruiters know how to search explicitly using tools – known candidates from their past, an internal candidate database, popular recruiting sites, referrals and even their own redacted ads. Internal recruiters often wait, while external recruiters act!

In one of my last managerial roles (not listed as a job on my LinkedIn profile), I was assigned an internal recruiter to assist me on quickly finding a QA Leader.  My job description was approved, and the role was posted on our company web site.  The role requirements were for agile experience and at least two years of people leadership skills.  I needed someone with automation experience and ability to use tracking tools like Jira or Rally.  I needed someone with the ability to give governance updates.  A person with experience and maturity.

After a few weeks, I received a resume!  My internal recruiter told me the candidate had graduated from school six months earlier, was an English major and had just completed a contract assignment where they were performing final end-user acceptance “manual” testing.  They read the requirements and determined they were met.  However, the person had no technical training, had never lead a group, had no agile experience, and no automation experience.  My internal recruiter told me it was “the best” resume that we had received, BUT that the candidate was truly a nice person.

I immediately asked to see all the applications from our web site job posting and when I saw just how few candidates our posting produced, I partitioned to give the job specs to an external recruiter.

The rejection of my external recruiter idea as well as several other factors made me think retirement sounded a whole lot better than continuing to be Sisyphus and push that rock up hill. Maybe at FIT I could help other managers bring in outstanding talent – More Quantity! More Quickly, and with More Quality!

Feel free to Email Us with any questions or if you want to learn more about how partnering with an external recruiting firm could be the right FIT for you.

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