Internal HR and Independent Recruiters: Causes of Friction

By Dave Nerz

man-couple-people-woman-large-300Talent acquisition is red hot in some markets right now. That means that even the best-intentioned and hardest-working internal HR manager/recruiter will find it difficult to keep up with the demands from hiring managers. As internal company recruiters require assistance from the outside, independent recruiters are a common way to supplement internal efforts. Every employer is different, but sometimes this relationship between internal staff and third-party recruiters can become uncomfortable, contentious, and even adversarial.

Here are some issues that cause friction and suggestions on how internal HR can create “the fix.”

It will often depend on the employer and the individual recruiters involved, but a search can turn into a competition. Each party is working to outperform the other and along the way creating opportunities for sabotaging the process.

The fix: Independents or third-party recruiters are often paid on a contingency basis. Make sure to give the independent recruiter credit for any action that leads to a hire. Yes, you had the candidate in your database, but you really had zero interest in the candidate until your third-party recruiter updated the candidate’s background and found they were willing to take a pay cut, move halfway across the world or some other condition internal HR had no insight to. Independent recruiters should be viewed as an extension of the internal HR department. They are selling your company to candidates and representing your brand in the marketplace. They want to be successful; let them help. Coach them to better performance; do not sabotage or create more difficult conditions for these folks that are attempting to help you reach a goal.

It is not unusual for internal HR to maintain the easier openings to fill and offer the more difficult assignments to the independent recruiter. As this happens, there are limited resources that must be shared including time and access to the hiring manager. This causes an issue because the best candidates are highly sought after by many and reaction time is often critical.

The fix: Create benchmarks for performance. If a candidate is delivered, what is the agreed maximum response time allowed by internal HR? Pick a time and live with it. Hiring managers need to be held accountable for being accessible to recruiters whether the recruiter is internal or external. Hiring managers likewise need to respond in a maximum number of hours to requests for interviews, interview feedback, or details that will allow a candidate to make a yes decision. If these jobs are not urgent, then please tell your independent recruiter to “stand down” until a priority has once again been established. Nobody likes to hurry up and wait. Callbacks the same day or within a 24-hour window is a basis of most businesses. It is a basic requirement of being a good partner…make it happen.

It is at the root of most issues in business. Independent recruiters expect and deserve the basics of direct, accurate, and timely communication. Sometimes due to the detached relationship and compensation structure of independent resources called in to support internal HR and recruitment, the independent gets slow or less-than-accurate communication.

The fix:  When things change, think about who is representing your company in the marketplace. Often that is an independent recruiter. If the job is canceled, the project delayed, the funding canceled, your partner on the outside needs that info immediately. Return calls and emails as you would if it was a great candidate calling or emailing directly, because it very well may be a great candidate being represented by the independent recruiter you have partnered with.

Sometimes partners that should be supporting each other like to show that they are superior. It is more than just competition when this happens; there is a need to be dominant and have someone subservient to the power that one side can wield.

The fix: We are on the same team. One party may have a better degree or a regular paycheck from an “important” employer, but we are both just trying to do a good job and to help that important employer get the best talent available. Sometimes independents have great instincts honed from the experience of headhunting thousands of successful placements in a lifetime. Sometimes our advice on offers is meant to help you get what you want and need. You are not always right and we are not always wrong. We have different experiences, perspectives and points of view. The more you listen, the better informed you will be. We win when you win.

Obviously this is a very heavily weighted point of view on this subject, from the independent recruiter’s side of the transaction. I’m sure there are other ways to view these situations. Please feel free to correct the errors of my thinking.

Independent Recruiter Blog

5 Time Management Tips for Recruiters

By Liz Carey

photo-1441323263989-281bc2f5b68cOne of the biggest challenges a recruiter faces is trying to manage a schedule and predict the events of the day in an industry of constant change. What happens when you face an unexpected fall-off, a position goes on hold, or your client changes their requirements? You won’t get far in this business if you just give up – you have to adjust your strategy and plan your time to accommodate everything that’s on your plate.

Here are 5 time management tips for recruiters:

1) Be selective with your search assignments – It’s easy to try and take on as many assignments as you can, but you don’t want to overload yourself and not be able to deliver for a client. Working on the wrong assignment will cost you time and money, as well as potential future assignments with clients.

2) Be selective with your candidates – When you post a job, you’ll be inundated with a plethora of resumes and phone calls from candidates. Only a small percentage will actually be relevant to the role and your client, so screen much more selectively or you’ll be wasting more time and money with unplaceable candidates.

3) Create a plan and stick to it as best you can – Before you leave for the day, make a list of the names of candidates or clients you will call the next day. It’s easy to get distracted by a phone call or check your emails more often than needed, so it’s important to have a plan of attack for each day, rather than winging it and realizing at the end of your day all you’ve done is ‘busy work’ which doesn’t generate revenue.

4) Limit work hours to work – If you work from home or are a solo recruiter, the line of work life and home life might start to blend. It’s best to have set hours and during those set hours, close your door, screen out personal calls, and limit internet use to your sourcing activities and work emails only. You may think you’re only spending 5 minutes checking your personal email, but it can interrupt your train-of-thought and flow relating to your search assignments.

5) Prioritize goals – It’s easy to feel busy and have a lot on your ‘to do’ list, but if you’re not producing placements, it’s just wasted time and energy. You may be hitting your goal on how many calls to make, but if you’re not qualifying the right candidates and making placements, the number of phone calls is irrelevant. Replying to every email and application will keep you busy, but won’t necessarily generate revenue. Not everything is urgent — prioritize your tasks and condense your to-do list to the most essential and important goals.

button to subscribe to NPA blog

Help Companies Navigate International Hiring Challenges

By Veronica Scrimshaw

compass-300Today’s guest blogger is Narissa Johnson, the global brand and content manager of SafeGuard World International. For nearly a decade, organizations around the world have relied on SafeGuard World for their global HR needs, specifically around payroll and employee compliance. SafeGuard World is an Alliance Partner of NPAworldwide.

To succeed, companies will come to recruiters like you to find and hire the best talent, no matter where they live. Successful recruitment of global talent means finding the right talent and ensuring your client is able to get them working quickly. You are in a unique position to inform your clients of the risks involved with international hiring.

Social Costs
Social costs are usually made up of statutory benefits and insurance. Statutory benefit requirements, such as healthcare, vary by country. To employ legally, you must understand the required level of benefits.

The range of social costs differ drastically from country to country. If operating in the UAE, for instance, they are around 0% and in Brazil, employers pay from 60% to 120% of an individual employee’s total compensation (collective bargaining agreements, full private healthcare or full life insurance).

Liability Insurance
An employer’s liability insurance provides protection for their workers. While not all countries have a state-mandated plan, companies generally set up their own liability insurance to protect the worksite and workers. This ensures the company’s legal protection but also impacts its culture, assuring employees that they are being treated equally and fairly, regardless of where they work.

Minimum Wage and Collective Bargaining
As with most issues of remuneration, minimum wage is measured differently depending on the country. In Germany, minimum wage is measured hourly, while in Taiwan it’s measured annually.

Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) contain terms and conditions that set HR and payroll standards for workers. CBAs vary widely – when recruiting in foreign markets, it’s essential to understand these differences.

Paid Time Off
Paid time off (PTO) is particularly challenging when hiring internationally. For example, some countries federally mandate minimum PTO. However with CBAs, some positions may have additional requirements.  Offering additional days off can also be a useful recruiting tactic. Having the right local knowledge will inform your PTO pitch.

Paid Family Leave
Family leave requirements aren’t consistent across the globe and the amount of leave may differ depending on the employee’s position and seniority. Your client shouldn’t only satisfy legislative requirements but also conform to local customs and expectations. Again, this is an opportunity to leverage leave in offer negotiations.

Termination Policies and Practices
Outside of the U.S., “at-will employment” is rare; companies operating in foreign markets must be aware of the differences in termination policies to avoid non-compliance. While finding the perfect candidate for your client is important, understanding unique termination policies and practices will protect them from the unforeseen.

While the world isn’t getting smaller, our ability to erase international borders certainly makes it feel that way. This is good news for recruiters and companies that understand the best talent isn’t always in their home country. Understanding global employment issues will ensure companies can make smart hires and focus on their core business.

Independent Recruiter Blog

Avoiding the Renters and “Hiring” the Owners

By Veronica Scrimshaw

C3C728A494-300pxToday’s post is courtesy of guest blogger Elsa Duty. Elsa owns executive search firm Recruiting Services International (founded in 1970)  that specializes in technical search globally (R&D/engineering, manufacturing, science). Elsa has been an active member of NPAworldwide for more than 10 years and is currently serving on the Board of Directors.

A lot of small business owners I know often struggle with the decision, “Should I grow my business (hire more employees) or stay small?” Many owners I know never had ideas of grandeur to grow their businesses to be the next Robert Half or Korn Ferry. They simply wanted the lifestyle that recruiting affords; the ability to be at the helm of their own success, the work-life balance, and of course, big commission checks. The struggle often comes from a too-heavy workload in a strong economy (and the inability to say no to a job order that lands on your desk, if you’re like me!)

Finding good recruiters/employees is becoming harder to do. The Millennial workforce is producing a slew of “renters;” employees who come and go three times as fast as they would have 20 years ago. According to, over 30% of new hires are quitting their jobs after six months! This is especially detrimental to small businesses that are not prepared for this attrition. Losing a new recruiter can tally up quickly if you consider these potential costs:

  • Hiring/Onboarding – draw/salary of 3-6 mo, averaging $9,000-12,000+, plus healthcare, office/computer expenses
  • Training Costs – 6 months-1 year+, quantifying management time into dollars at roughly $10,000-$15,000+ “lost production hours” of a full-desk recruiting manager
  • Employer Taxes – In the US, FICA match, SS/Medicare: 7.65% of every dollar earned (a $60,000 employee costs an employer ~$4,590/year)
  • Customer Relationships / Business Reputation – This is the biggest one; hardest to quantify but most critical. New clients developed may not have a bond strong enough to survive account manager attrition. This could mean $20,000-80,000+ in “lost” clients/placements.

Should the economy take another dive, these new hires will bail faster than you can say “cold-call.” You could be $30,000 invested into a new recruiter who is gone in less than 6 months (with minimal production dollars). Hiring “renters” is detrimental to our business. We know recruiting success comes with longevity, dedication, and deep passion for the business. We are “owners” in every sense of the word. We hold ourselves accountable and will do everything it takes to succeed. So when we need extra bandwidth, how do we get help without getting sucked into this cyclical model?

I was thinking of this as I looked around a large ballroom of smiling, welcoming faces at the annual NPAworldwide Global Conference in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago. Who has better ownership of their work, than OWNERS themselves? We eat, sleep, and breathe recruiting. We are warriors who have survived the battles of job-short, candidate-short, or money-short markets. My fellow NPAworldwide partners were all there to help, support, and partner together for the better good of our businesses succeeding. Utilizing a great split-placement partner can be an excellent solution to the urge to hire.

I recognize there is significant value in hiring good recruiters that produce. But that model is not for everyone. Not every owner wants the financial gamble, especially given the mentality of the workforce these days. Instead, if we are able to build sincere, tight relationships with other owners, entrusting ourselves to them, we can build powerful recruiting teams WITHOUT ever saying, “You’re hired.” Our recruiting partners are ready to go Day 1 of being given a new job order: no training, no financial investment, no overhead. If we change our mentality from “my firm” and “your firm” to “we’re a team,” we can support any influx of jobs in good season and bridge any recession when things are slow. That is what a split-placement network is all about.

image of explore membership button

Comparing Your Recruitment Firm to a Puzzle

By Amy Teske

teamwork and partnership  concept. four hands connecting  puzzle

Have you ever compared your recruitment firm to a jigsaw puzzle?  It’s interesting to compare the two.  There are borders, fine details, vast elements, background space, and the box where all the pieces gather together.

When putting a puzzle together- you work through trying to find the right pieces to put in the right places.  Once they are in place, they fit and make a picture that is clear and defined.

According to CreativeGrid, they defined that recruitment firm guidelines can be strategically arranged based on jigsaw puzzles.

The Process Puzzle:  Each firm has strategic questions of how they manage their process.  What recruiting services are you selling?  What niche do you work in?  How do you manage customer satisfaction?  How do you generate referrals?  All of these questions define the process piece of your puzzle.

The People Puzzle:  People are a complicated balance of personalities, strengths, desire and drive.  These pieces can be more challenging to put in place than process.  Focusing on your own strengths and your team’s strengths make it possible to grow and achieve new levels.  This also applies to working with your clients.  Over time, you become quite familiar with their strengths, and know where you can rely on them.  And in return, they also rely on you in the same fashion.

Puzzle Vision: The vision is the end result.  You know what you want your firm to look like.  You know how you organized and guided each piece into place.   You have a clear vision of your process and the people involved that help bring you success.   If you are still looking for this picture- the first step is visualizing what you want the end result to look like.

image of explore membership button

Matching ≠ Recruitment

By Veronica Scrimshaw

ULM3B2GH7R-300pxI recently read a blog from Greg Savage, Is Agency recruitment going to be Uber-ised? The answer here. Greg’s premise is that there are a ton of new start-ups in the recruitment space offering the latest and greatest idea to revolutionize recruitment with technology. Many, if not most, of these start-ups are offering new tools that seek to streamline or improve the “matching” part of the process.

But here’s the thing: recruitment is so much MORE than matching.

There are a million ways to “match” a candidate to a job order using technology – heck, job boards have been offering this for years as have most ATS solutions. You can match by advertising, by smiling and dialing, or by utilizing the services of a great names sourcer like Maureen Sharib (disclaimer: Maureen has been a paid speaker and guest blogger for NPAworldwide in the past).

Recruitment, however, is more art than science. Skilled recruiters are able to find candidates who may not be currently looking for a new opportunity and pique their interest. Once the candidate is interested, the recruiter then has to successfully convince a client to interview (and we know there are some clients requiring WAY too many interviews!). The candidate may have to be further sold on a new location or a different salary structure. And a trailing spouse and family is also an important piece of the process. Never mind negotiating the offer, coaching the candidate through the resignation process and making sure the deal doesn’t fall apart before the first day.

When it comes down to it, candidates are people. And while you can certainly influence people, you can’t ultimately control them. And technology tends to make things LESS people-oriented, not more. By all means invest in appropriate technological tools to improve your process. But don’t discount the human element, which is the real value (and art) of a successful recruiter.

button to subscribe to NPA blog

Best Jobs in 2016

By Dave Nerz

best-jobs-wordleI read with interest’s listing of the Best Jobs in America. Sometimes I think there is a direct relationship between the best jobs and the most highly recruited candidates. According to Glassdoor, what makes a job the best job is the combination of compensation,  demand for the skill, and advancement opportunities. Those in recruiting and HR know that hot job categories and in demand skills are multipliers when it comes to compensation. So the relationship between best jobs is in effect right now.

Here is the list of best jobs in 2016:

  1.  Data Scientist
  2.  Tax Manager
  3.  Solutions Architect
  4.  Engagement Manager
  5.  Mobile Developer
  6.  HR Manager
  7.  Physician Assistant
  8.  Product Manager
  9.  Software Engineer
  10.   Audit Manager
  11.   Analytics Manager
  12.   Software Development Manager
  13.   Product Marketing Manager
  14.   Marketing Manager
  15.   QA Manager
  16.   Finance Manager
  17.   Business Development Manager
  18.   UX Designer
  19.   Strategy Manager
  20.   Technical Account Manager
  21.   Consultant
  22.   Construction Superintendent
  23.   Nurse Practitioner
  24.   Electrical Engineer
  25.   Software Architect

Without exception I can say these are highly sought after candidates by the independent recruitment agencies in our network. Good-performing candidates in any of these professions can be easily placed by independent recruitment agencies into new and better jobs.

This is the list for the best jobs in the US. What are the hottest jobs in your market?

button to subscribe to NPA blog

Boost your time, minimize sourcing waste

By Liz Carey

photo-1427751840561-9852520f8ce8As a recruiter, it is critical to maximize your time and avoid wasting time on unqualified or unresponsive candidates by applying smart search strategies to find the right talent from the get-go.

Across nearly 1,000 respondents in a global recruiting survey, conducted by Social Talent and Alexander Mann Solutions, the survey found that the average recruiting pipeline converts at a rate of 0.4 percent, meaning the average recruiter needs to find 282 candidates in order to make 1 hire.

In the average search:
•    282 potential candidates identified
•    72% of these candidates are not qualified or relevant for the position
•    79 candidates are contacted
•    22 candidates will respond
•    6 candidates will be submitted
•    4 candidates will be interviewed
•    1 candidate will be hired.

The survey concludes this conversion rate can be significantly improved by applying more effective search and engagement tactics.

While 37 percent of recruiters consider social/professional media to be their primary source for finding talent, only using online sourcing tools is not enough.

Just over a quarter of recruiters find successful hires using paid job boards, a success rate that can be improved by optimizing job postings for search engines, the survey suggests. It also suggests a recruiter or firm’s internal network can be utilized more, as just 9 percent of successful hires are found through internal referrals or alumni.

Nearly every recruiter—97 percent around the world—is using LinkedIn to search for talent. If this is your main method and you are using a LinkedIn Basic account, it might be time to hop on the paid account train, which doesn’t impose a commercial search limit.

It’s important for recruiters to stay on top of social media trends – as recruiters’ Twitter usage is dropping, Pinterest and YouTube are becoming increasingly popular. Expand your reach and find different ways – and avenues – to reach out to passive candidates.

Ultimately, recruitment remains a business about relationships. Engaging a candidate is the key to making a passive talent into an interested one. 81 percent of recruiters mainly use InMail or connection requests to contact passive candidates, and just 14 percent take the time to find an email address. The 5 percent of recruiters who pick up the phone have the highest average response rates, the survey found. This shows that recruiters must not only master online and social media sourcing skills, but put in the time and effort to build a relationship by adding a personal touch.

What do you do to maximize your time and employ effective search strategies?

button to subscribe to NPA blog

Obstacles of Social Media and Recruiting

By Amy Teske



Recruitment relies heavily on searching for talent online.  While there are many benefits of this, many studies done through Forbes, The Undercover Recruiter and MediaBistro have reported many obstacles as well.  Many talented candidates cannot be found online at all, or may have out of date profiles that do not accurately highlight their experience.
Qualigence put the research together to show the top 10 obstacles encountered.
1-    97% of recruiters are using LinkedIn as a recruiting tool, which means many recruiters are seeing the same candidates
2-    13% of Millennials have a professional profile online
3-    Those with low education levels are spending more time online than those with high education levels
4-    27% of CEOs have LinkedIn accounts
5-    Only 41% of job candidates say social media has helped uncover job opportunities
6-    68% of CEOs have no social media presence
7-    47% of LinkedIn users aren’t active on the website
8-    48% of job seekers are active on social networking
9-    Only 40% of executives are on social media more than one hour a week
10-    50% of LinkedIn users have a “complete” profile
What is your preferred method for searching for talent?  There are many great paths to utilize- put your top choices in the comments section below.

Independent Recruiter Blog


Get the Most Out of your Next Recruiter Conference

By Sarah Gawrys

nparecruitersConferences can be one of the most valuable business tools in your various resources if you appropriately plan and attack them. Each event you attend could very well have in attendance one of the most important business contacts you meet, someone who could change your business model by listening to a speaker, add revenue by becoming your new split placement partner, or reduce cost significantly with a new tool from a sponsor.

As the NPAworldwide global conference happens next week in Washington DC, it seemed a good time to discuss how to get the best out of this upcoming conference, and I was able to research out information from Davidson’s Director of Growth, Rob Davidson along with his notes from Rod Hore and Ross Clennett to pull out those tips most useful to the independent recruiter.

Tip 1: Smart up before you show up!

A week before the event, take a moment to find the conference agenda, and print a copy to mark off each session and what research you could do. Start with the speakers. Read their blogs, connect with them LinkedIn prior to the conference and let them know how much you are looking forward to their session, even ask them to touch on specific questions or topics you found interesting reading up on them. Most speakers will be happy to hear from you, and to recognize some faces at the event.

In a recruitment network, go through the list of attendees, and usually you should be able to click through to their member profiles to see what they are about. Take special note of those that are in your region or industry you might like to meet up with, and maybe suggest meeting for lunch or dinner during the conference. If your organization has some meals on your own, try to book a table for a larger group with another member, and invite others to join.

For a conference with breakout sessions, prepare your own material! What would other recruiters like to hear about? What client stories or examples do you have that happened in the last year that would make for good conversation or analysis? Put several of these on notecards or in your iphone notes to reference back on.

Tip 2: Networking skills never get old

Most of the value during a recruitment conference comes from who you meet. Make the effort to meet new people and try to make a point of standing away from walls or chairs and getting in the midst of the crowd. Sit at a different table each session and make a point of introducing yourself to people at your table. Bring a big stack of business cards and hand them out with your handshake, there is a better chance they will remember your name and face if they get the image of it as well.

Be curious with your questions and humble with your stories – you will be surprised what you can learn. If your plan is to learn without sharing, you should sit and listen to a webinar rather than attending live events. Use your trading partners to bounce ideas off of, and even to trade war stories that make you realize you are not alone in this industry.

Tip 3: Take care of your mind and body

Two to three days of sitting in a room taking notes, networking at every break and attending various functions in the evenings really takes its toll on anyone. In such an intense environment, self-care becomes critical. It’s essential that to eat well, sleep well, and stay hydrated.

Our younger versions could handle way more back in the day of staying up late and handling many cocktails. Save the more intense fun for the final night of the conference- there’s nothing worse than turning up to a morning breakout session not feeling well and wasting the day because you can barely stay awake. As Rob Davidson states, “You’ll get more out of the conference if you balance the educational and the social events in equal measure.”

Tip 4: Note taking = less forgetting

Ross Clennett FRCSA emphasizes the importance of taking notes. Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, discovered that when we acquire a new idea much of our forgetting occurs right away. A significant amount of information is forgotten within 20 minutes of learning it; over half the material learned is forgotten within 60 minutes. Almost two thirds of what we learn within a day is forgotten. Why spend valuable time and money to attend a conference to then forget two thirds of the great content before you even return to your office?

As an active blogger and book reviewer, one of the things Ross does is look for blog topics out of conference material. This way he forces himself to review his conference notes and construct a few hundred words that provide relevance and context for his readers. He especially looks for themes that connect the ideas of two or more speakers. These connections provide more substance to the subsequent blog.

Even if you are not a blogger, undertaking this sort of exercise in order to post to your company intranet or to use as the core of a presentation to your boss or colleagues back in the office, will be valuable.

Tip 5: Remember all of the above and have a great conference!

Your connection to premier independent recruiting firms across 6 continents

Site Designed and Hosted by The Imagination Factory

Some images ©

© 2016 - NPAworldwide