Employer Branding Talent Acquisition

10 Hacks to Improve the Internal/External Recruiter Relationship

I have worked in-house and agency side for over 20 years so I know that all internal recruiters are gate keeping pen-pushers, and agency recruiters are hustlers. Of course, this is an exaggerated misnomer, however the friction felt between the internal and external recruiter is often down to poor communication, miscommunication and mistrust!

Here is a cheat sheet, for IN-HOUSE and AGENCY recruiters, it will help you navigate the complexity of supplier management in the recruitment sector, and I believe it has applications beyond recruitment too!

The complaints about agency recruiters litter the LinkedIn feed of many, however hiring starts with the client, so to be balanced, and fair, I start with the IN-HOUSE Recruiter.

As the conduit between the line manager and the agency, you play an invaluable role in ensuring that your talent brand message is received. As a recruiter for one of the UK’s most respected retailers I often found consultants came to briefings with outdated & preconceived ideas of our brand. It is your job, amongst other things to sell the vision, the future potential and the “why” someone would want to work for us.

Here’s 10 hacks to aid great communication:

  1. When you engage a new supplier impart as much knowledge as possible. You chose them, so it is down to you to help them become a successful partner. Make sure your job profiles are accurate, and take the time to pad out the contextual information, this is what sells the role.
  2. Set out your stall from the get go! It’s essential that you establish clear goals and expectations in terms of quality and delivery. KPI’s are not a stick to hit them with but a measure of success.
  3. Don’t brief out to multiple agencies, it will devalue the role.
  4. Set out realistic timelines with the consultant. Be aware that often the CV’S that land in your inbox expeditiously belong to applicants available but not necessarily the best in the market. Think QUALITY first SPEED second.
  5. DON’T leave your phone on answer phone. I never filled a role for someone who didn’t speak to me. Communication is essential for a healthy working relationship, so don’t hide behind email.
  6. Ensure the consultant has sufficient information to prep the candidate for interview – give the candidate the very best chance to perform well in front of the line manager.
  7. Remember you are not the consultant’s only client. With an almost 50% decline rate at offer stage you also need cherish your applicants, they are a scarce resource!
  8. Trust your consultant, they are an expert in their field. Treat them as partner and earn their trust.
  9. Request feedback on an ongoing basis, continuous improvement will help you better understand each other and streamline the process for future hires.
  10. Feedback to the line manager – they are integral to the success the recruitment function. They need to be made aware of areas for improvement, a more streamlined process will improve the quality of service, calibre of applications and will reduce cost per hire.

It is essential that you understand good relationships lead to better quality hires, the process is enhanced and more expedient. A successful and profitable working partnership is also a great bargaining tool when it is time to review fees.

External recruiters I am not going to publish a long lists of “Don’ts” but I will start with these 3:

  1. Internal Recruiters hate nothing more than receiving speculative applications from brilliant candidates who are not looking for a job. This is a pig of thing to do but we have all received them.
  2. Worse still. Internal Recruiters really hate it when they receive speculative cv’s of awesome candidates who are not looking for a job, from the LINE MANAGER. Don’t bypass the internal recruiter.
  3. And finally, don’t make excuses for inactivity, or lack of success, supply reasons and solutions, and quantify, you are the expert in that space!

10 hacks for agency recruiters

  1. Listen. We have 2 ears & 1 mouth, use in equal proportion. Ask as many relevant questions as possible. And share your knowledge, be prepared to teach and learn.
  2. Build talent pipelines through networking and talking to people, do not rely on LinkedIn for your candidate leads. BE DIFFERENT, don’t be a data miner you are better than that!
  3. Build a natural rapport with your in-house contact, maximise the value of every conversation you have. Successful relationships take time to develop so be patient. Avoid pointless calls and remember that selling is like dating, it takes time to build a long-lasting relationship.
  4. Try not to oversell, and flag any potential issues as early as you can in the process & offer pragmatic solutions.
  5. Have regular updates, share market intel. Don’t hide behind email, especially if you are delivering bad news, there is no voice inflection in email.
  6. Ensure candidates are properly briefed and are truly motivated. You’d hear me audibly groan when a candidate said they wanted to work for us because “ we were a quintessentially British retailer, with a great heritage.” Especially when I was more interested to hear about where they thought we were going, and how they could play an integral part in our future success.
  7. Be there for the candidate throughout the notice period, coach them through the resignation and keep the internal recruiter in the loop.
  8. Believe in what you do – Talent is at the centre of every great company and you are playing an important part in delivering PROFIT to the bottom line through sourcing AWESOME candidates.
  9. Ensure your candidates have a great experience, they may not be offered the job but they should feel like the opportunity was worth pursuing. It should offer them insight and learning, and prompt feedback is absolutely essential.
  10. Make yourself indispensable, do what you need to do to excel in the client’s mind, remain proactive and think beyond your remit.

The best relationships, both in the agency world and in-house have been my most rewarding professionally and financially. Be authentic, be honest and be the best you can!

About the Author: Abigail Klapp is a Talent Acquisition Expert that works across industry sectors, arming employers with the language and tools of attraction to future proof their talent attraction model.

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