If not done correctly, hiring can be a costly proposition. You can spend a lot of time and money posting job ads online (the Post and Pray method), hoping that something will stick and that they will attract the ideal candidate from a massive stack of resumes.
This approach is not only time consuming, but pain-staking, too. Every week or month that goes by while you're going through those resumes… one by one… means an important role remains unfilled, or even worse, you could end up hiring someone who isn’t quite right for the job; a decision that will prove to be expensive in the long run.
Many Talent Acquisition Professionals will tell you that this kind of search, particularly for hard-to-fill technical or leadership positions, is not going to be fruitful. So, when does a partnership between Internal Talent Acquisitions and search agencies make sense for the business? And how do you choose the right agency?
Consider these three criteria when determining if an agency can add value to your business’ talent acquisitions efforts.
Posting an ad often results in hundreds of resumes being put forth in response to your job ad. With many if not most of them, the experience does not align with the job requirements. This makes sense when you consider the applicants are following a similar methodology to “post and pray” with their resumes. They are casting a wide net in hopes that something sticks – an interview, for example. This is especially prevalent in an economic downturn and challenging job market.
Be honest, how much time do you spend sifting through 100s of resumes to narrow the search down to 20 qualified applicants? How much more time do you then spend prescreening on the phone to get 20 down to 3 – 5 qualified applicants you'll want to interview in person? Then add on the time it takes to do reference checks, verify education, and schedule appointments—the process can take weeks, if not months.
With an experienced agency recruiter, you can typically expect 3 – 5 pre-qualified, referenced candidates presented to you inside of one week.
Recruiters are a special breed – the consistent top performers maintain the discipline to run the full cycles of activity required to ensure the top “passive” candidates are not missed in their search and picked up by the client competitors. They have ready access to a pool of qualified talent who are either actively looking or are interested in pursuing new and greater opportunities
Many agencies will post an ad on a variety of job search sites and forward the candidates who even remotely fit the client’s requirements. In other words, post and pray is not an effective strategy to find the perfect candidate.
An effective agency won’t solely rely on posting the job on LinkedIn or other sites and waiting for candidates to come to them. They will be actively engaged in “headhunting.”
Recruiting is a science. It’s about knowing what questions to ask of a candidate to ensure that they have the technical and personal skills required; to fill in the gaps, as it were. That ability comes from the recruiters having specialized knowledge themselves. With these skill sets, they are able to better assess the quality of the talent and determine whether or not they would be a good fit for a client’s specific needs.
Recruiters that specialize in a specific professional discipline (ie. accounting, sales, I.T.) have a deeper knowledge of the talent pool and the difficult to uncover nuances between each candidate. These nuances go beyond the obvious educational requirements, years of experience and accomplishments. This deeper knowledge enables the recruiter to properly rank and benchmark candidates against one another in order to find exact fit between candidate and employer.
Even better are recruiters with niche-specific backgrounds who have carried the bag. After all, if you’re trying to find a candidate to fill a forensic accounting role, it’s more effective to use a recruiter with a background in forensics, as they're much more likely to know exactly what details to look for in a candidate.
Employment of psychometric testing
Whether a large organization or a small firm of less than 100, fit is vital. So many positions require not only hard technical skills but soft, interpersonal skills as well. Whether for leadership and management roles or client facing opportunities, companies need to find talent that can not only do the job but have the personality to do it well.
Most hiring managers would agree that the environments of rapid change and stress-inducing timelines are more a regular part of today’s corporate work environment than ever before, so they are seeking employees with these “behavioural skills.”
Psychometric testing can be referred to as one leg in a three-legged stool:
- work experience and skill sets
- education and training
- behavioural profile
Some behavioural traits that psychometric testing uncovers include:
- Does the candidate prefer the details or the high-level overviews?
- Do they painstakingly research before making a decision or decide quickly and then course correct?
- Do they charge their batteries through collaboration or through private time?
- Will they work well in an open space environment or in a closed-door office?
- Will they likely lift teammates up or see them as the competition?
It can be difficult to get the proper insight into these behavioural preferences or “default settings” through the interview process alone, but it’s often these reasons why the candidate with the “right” resume doesn’t work out.
This testing can also be useful in predicting how a candidate will perform in high-pressure situations or rapidly changing and evolving circumstances. It’s one tool in an extensive arsenal of available knowledge and skills that a solid agency can apply, giving their clients valuable insight into the long-term potential of any given candidate, within an organization. With more information available, better hiring decisions can be made that will save time and money, in the long run.
In summary, do not think of an agency partner as a replacement for internal resources but as an addition to them, particularly for hard to fill roles.
Talk to a David Aplin Group Consultant to learn how their unique ways of accessing top talent for leading organizations could help you with your next hire.
David Aplin Group is a private family and employee owned Canadian staffing agency founded in Alberta in 1975, recognized as one of Canada's most accomplished recruiting firms. Our mission is to positively impact lives. Blog author, Jay Edwards, is Aplin's VP of Business Development based in Calgary.