Mike Ramer, CPC, CSP, is a highly-rated recruiting industry trainer, known for his innovative techniques and interactive, hands-on style. He has 20+ years in recruiting and managing his firm, Ramer Search Consultants (www.RamerGroup.com), in the New York/New Jersey area. He has trained 2,500+ recruiting professionals at 60+ industry events and conferences including NAPS, ASA, Fordyce and IPA. Mike will be a featured speaker at NPA’s Global Conference in New Orleans, March 6-8, 2014.
In Part I of this post I asked: “How can recruiters manage risks today and make more placements?” My answer was: “Control what you can control. If you don’t like the risks, then move on.”
Contingency recruiters bear a lot of risk. Like getting to the 39th step in a 40-step recruiting/hiring process to learn that your candidate is using an offer as leverage for another job. Or that he/she is accepting a counteroffer. Or that the company wants to interview more candidates or found a “better” candidate. Or that the position was put “on hold” indefinitely. I call these “5 figure lessons.” They hurt.
Red flags can been seen in the beginning of the process. For example, recruiters agreeing to 15% fees with 180 day guarantees. This isn’t good practice for anyone – companies, candidates or the recruiting industry.
10 risks third party recruiters contend with every day:
- Corporate recruiters presenting their own candidates to hiring managers.
- Other third party recruiters working the same open position.
- Clients changing job specs mid-stream.
- Clients delaying the process with no true need to hire.
- Picky candidates going on multiple interviews.
- Candidates misrepresenting themselves and not being straight with you.
- Candidates and companies not getting back to you.
- Lack of quality, timely feedback. (I call it “flying blind.”)
- Competition from the Internet, job boards and social media.
- Advancing web technologies that make it easier and faster for anyone to source.
(There are more. Next time you see me at an industry event, tell me yours.)
How can recruiters manage these risks?
What do they need to do to succeed in today’s times?
Envision the recruiting process from finish to start, not “start to finish.” What will compel a company to work with you, and you alone, to recruit for an open position in which there is a true need to fill? What will motivate a highly qualified passive candidate to work with you, and you alone, and accept an offer of employment with your client?
Recruiters need to start asking the hard questions upfront.
Filters need to be tighter today, because of the increased risks.
Many recruiters know this, but are they doing it? One time-tested approach is to seek out, and ask for, exclusivity from both clients and candidates.
Now, when a company or candidate says they will work with you exclusively, do you believe them? They may have best intentions, but as you move through time, and without anything in writing, situations can change.
There are only two ways I know that guarantee exclusivity on the client/company side:
- You receive a retainer. Retainers will flush out most of the risks. Your client has a true need to hire and they want you to work the assignment exclusively.
- You have a deep, multi-year relationship with a hiring manager who responds to you quickly, confides in you, and tell you everything going on “behind the scenes.”
Think about it: If a company does not want to give a retainer, what is truly going on inside? There could be risks you are not aware of. Many recruiters are not sure how to move from contingency to retained. In my training, I share how to do it.
On the candidate side, gaining exclusivity has all to do with the quality of your relationship. How did you learn about the candidate? Through a credible referral source – professional or personal? How many conversations have you had with him/her? How long have you known him/her? Did you meet in-person? After your first conversation, did he/she send a resume? This could be a risk, because no matter how good the candidate is, he/she may be sending a resume to all recruiters after a first conversation. (I prefer candidates who do not have an updated resume yet.)
Be upfront with candidates you choose to work with. Your service is free to them and you will be spending your time, giving valuable advice, and leveraging your contacts to help them. Talk with them about an exclusive relationship and why it’s in their best interests. Beware if a candidate has sent a resume to other recruiters and/or has already been on interviews.
The central question: How do you build credibility with potential companies and candidates to win exclusivity and obtain retainers? Today, online tools and web technologies can position you and your firm as a well-connected expert in your recruiting niche. This can help you gain exclusivity, because people are going to check you out online. Your online brand matters.
Look for Part III of this article in a future NPA post!