Here’s the reality: if you’re an agency recruiter or staffing firm, your clients are probably not single sourcing their searches through you. If you think they are, chances are you’re fooling yourself.
Why would they use a single vendor, especially in a contingent contract situation? They have tough, niche, and/or high level positions to fill, a boss or board to answer to and they need to get quick results. You could have the best relationship in town with your client, but they are still going to do what they need to do in order to get their important requirements filled.
Your job is to have access to as many qualified candidates as possible and be able to pull resources together quickly to fill those tough positions. That’s how you stay relevant to the client. Every recruiter has heard the expression “You’re only as good as your last placement.” Well, there is a lot of truth in that expression in the eyes of most clients.
Access to a large candidate pool is really just a numbers game, and you can’t possibly have access to everyone. But, what if you did? What if you had access to 100% of the qualified candidates that could be presented for a job? Well, that would be fantastic for you and you could just do some simple searches through your data base, make a few calls, set up some interviews, and like magic, you would fill all the orders you had. Unfortunately if it were that easy, your services wouldn’t have the value they have today and the payment would probably go down to about 1% of the annual salary.
Your clients know you don’t have access to everyone, that’s why they use multiple recruiters. So, why don’t you just play their game and use multiple recruiters yourself? This increases your candidate pool substantially without you losing control of the process. Many recruiters fear giving away business to their competitor. When they have that fear, they usually just kind of half-heartedly call a secondary recruiter to help with a search. They don’t really want to give away half of the fee or admit that their competitor had the best candidate.
If you have this mentality here’s the reality you are facing:
- Your competitor may fill the position without you being involved
- Your competitor then may turn into the first call on any new positions
- You may fill the position, but not with the best candidate and later have to refill or payback a commission—this would be avoided if you had access to a greater talent pool
Excellent recruiters have many times have relationships and partnerships with other excellent recruiters. They work together towards filling each other’s jobs. They work professionally with each other to represent their partner recruiter in the best light possible. Here are some tips on forming and keeping good recruiting partner relationships:
- Change your mindset from competitor to partner.
- To protect yourself have Non-Disclosure and Non-Compete Agreements in place, not just standard split agreements. Consider naming specific companies in order to make the contracts A. enforceable and B. narrow and realistic enough for both parties to agree to.
- Set the “rules of engagement” ahead of time before any jobs are given out. Make it a different document than the formal agreement.
- You should have 2-3 partner recruiting firms you would and can work with on a moment’s notice.
- You should meet regularly with these recruiting firms to share best practices, establish a good relationship, and keep each other updated on any mutual searches.
- Don’t gossip about your candidates or clients. Make sure not to share or create “black lists” of candidates not to use – this could be illegal.
- Don’t hide pertinent details about the job, hiring manager, or company from your partner. If you have to do this, it’s a sign that either the contract or your personal relationship with the other agency needs some reworking.
- Don’t wait till the last minute to call them, it’s arrogant and unproductive, and just makes you look desperate.
- It’s not the end of the world if more and more of your searches are being filled by your partners, it’s better than your competitors getting the job order to begin with.
- Make sure your client knows that you work with various channels and partners to identify the best talent pool, but assure them that you screen all candidates to ensure they meet your standards. It’s your name on the line afterall.
- Never play the blame game if an interview goes bad and it was the partner recruiter’s candidate—YOU should know better. If something goes wrong, in the eyes of the client, it’s always your fault and you shouldn’t do anything to deflect that responsibility.
- Keep the business relationship between you and the client company, in other words, all money goes to you, and you pay your partner company
- Make sure that part of the agreement with the partner recruiting company is that they will not call on the hiring manager directly, if they go behind your back, that is reason to terminate the relationship.
If you follow these tips and stop FEARING working with other recruiting agencies, you should be able to serve your clients faster and open up the door to new opportunities for your recruiting firm. If done right, recruitment partnerships can be a key component to creating excellent service and exceptional candidate coverage for your client requirements.
This article doesn’t intend to give legal or employment advice. Please consult a professional for any serious business matter.