If you are a recruiting agent, you think that you influence a hire. In reality, corporate teams marginalize your efforts. You are powerless in their world…..unless you understand the world as they see it.
The more you understand the problems facing your internal corporate recruiting teams, the better you can position yourself as a problem solver and influencer.
Corporate recruiting teams need internal and external recruiting partners.
What influence can you gain as a corporate or agency recruiter?
- An internal corporate recruiter can gain influence by understanding business problems that corporate leaders are facing inside the company. Proximity helps a corporate recruiter to understand how best to support a leaders challenges. If done right, it will lead to a growth in influencing power with the recruiting leader and key corporate decision makers. Help internal leaders solve their problems and they will help you solve your problems.
- An external recruiting agent can build credibility and gain influence with internal recruiting and hiring teams too. Empathy is necessary. When given the chance for dialogue, don’t make it about you or your candidate. Make it about the problem your client contact is facing. If you don’t know what the problem is, ask! Level set about your intention, which is to help brainstorm ideas that will help your point of contact solve their problems. If they question your motives, respond by explaining that you’d like to ask other clients what they did when faced with a similar situation so you can relay the information back.
Did the light bulb just go on? Ding.
Congratulations! You’ve transformed in your client’s eyes and their opinion of the value you can deliver has changed. They will think differently about who you are as a person and what influence is available to you.
You have effectively become a partner providing a unique solution relevant to their needs. You’ve also secured your place for the interim and your partnership. You are your clients’ reconnaissance, research agent of choice and that, my friend, is priceless! Go for it. Grow your relationship.
In the following, I will highlight five more problems impacting corporate and agency partnerships while offering a narrative that will transform your relationships.
Silver Linings: 5 More Corporate Recruiting Problems Impacting Agency Success…
1. Client Mentality: Vendor vs Partner
Many recruiting groups put a policy in place that encourages or forbids certain actions from taking place. One example of this is a mandate that all recruiting agencies are not allowed to contact hiring managers directly. The external recruiting agency feels powerless over their success if they don’t have access to key decision makers around the open job requisition. Unless an internal recruiting team empowers them! Corporate teams won’t do this on a whim. They need to trust you and your intentions.
Realistically, bottlenecks in the recruiting lifecycle originate from blockades coming directly from the corporate recruiting team stemming from an ineffective policy. The corporate recruiting team doesn’t have enough authority or influence to other business leaders inside the organization. Usually, its meant to protect process, hiring manager headaches, to keep executives away from distractions, and in all honesty, to protect corporate recruiting managers from themselves! We as corporate recruiting leaders aren’t armed with much protection from the problems that are inherent in recruiting. Exposure is part of the job, my friend.
Why don’t corporate recruiting managers have more influence?
Well, corporate teams have limited data on what solves actual problems within the recruiting department. Most of it is informational and un-evolved. The recruiting industry, as a whole, is way behind. When most organizations are using predictive analytics to guide decisions in their department, corporate recruiting teams are still reacting to past data and trying to make sense of it!
Assumption-based decision making is running the show and its obvious to executive leaders in other departments that there is a lot of bullshi**ing going on. Plain and simple. Recruiting managers might have a hunch about making things better but lack the mechanism to prove it.
When the attempt to build a business case happens, the corporate recruiting manager can’t back it up with any actionable data!
You can’t build any case without taking a data-driven approach and the only data that is available is topical. Recruiting systems like applicant tracking systems (ATS) have yet to make sense of all the data it carries because ATS companies are typically lead by technology leaders, not recruiting leaders. Only the recruiting expert and thought leader can make sense of all the chaotic recruiting data. Only after intense customization through combing and aggregating several of the cookie-cutter reports exported from rudimentary ATS reporting.
Even after that, it doesn’t make any sense to non-recruiting business leaders so we all spin around and smile in the weekly update meeting, trying to oversimplify how everything is going.
“Things are on the up and up! I’ve got five great candidates in the funnel!”
Unless the corporate recruiting team knows what is important to executive leaders, they can’t help solve executive problems. Do you see the pattern? You can help bridge the gap if you are a recruiting agency. Help your corporate recruiting contact figure out how to deliver value. First solve their problems, and then help them solve their peers problems. That is the ticket. Help them solve their problems, not yours! Get them to open up to you!
2. Technology Pitfalls and Data Drillings
Unlike the previous hiring boom where LinkedIn (or shall I say, Microsoft’s database: LinkedIn) was the new kid on the block, we are inundated with an untrained workforce being trained on unproven recruiting technology. Most of it….actually, all of it, was built by non-recruiting professionals.
How are these recruiting tools suppose to add value when the product developers don’t even know the difference between sourcing, recruiting, and hiring lifecycles?
Sure they might exit and thrill investors like a recent search technology did, but what good are they doing for a broken industry that still has systemic issues…
More data doesn’t fix problems. What does? It is the relationship that exists between you, your company, the hiring team, and the data that is grabbed that matters.
Relationship-driven data offers insights, data analysis, actions, and a way to create outcomes that can actually solve problems.
Where is that software?
We might not have technology that does it for us yet but you are a very smart recruiting professional working at an agency you are proud, so connect the dots yourself!
Figure out what needs to happen. You don’t need a push notification to follow your instincts.
Talent supply is similar to supply chain. A bad design to help you source widgets will prevent scalability and lock a company up from getting through the lifecycle.
If your recruiting lifecycle isn’t integrated within a program with objectives, goals around performance, performance tracking, and predictive forecasting, scaling hiring will turn into resistance until a breakdown. That is what rises costs and increases turnover while productivity goes down.
When internal recruiting teams fail to build a recruiting roadmap, they are failing to develop a strategy that attracts hirable talent, integrates people, teams, and processes in a fun way that helps people accomplish their jobs without even realizing it. That is how to make music in recruiting departments and on hiring teams.
Because the technology isn’t there yet does not mean you can’t build a value-adding process with simple guidelines…call it a program!
3. Relationship Building Matters
You might be in a vendor neutral system. Perhaps you don’t have access to hiring managers. So what. This doesn’t mean that you are working in a hopeless environment. Build relationships! That is the key to the recruiting game, remember?
Instead of asking your client topical questions that will help you solve your problems, start asking tougher questions that make you sweat because you honestly don’t know the answer or what reaction or response you are going to get. Take a risk and learn something. Dig deeper.
You don’t need to know or understand the solution, just find someone who does and relay the information. If it is sound advice backed up with benchmarked data or at least some qualifying wisdom, pass it along to your client. Send an email or leave the insight on a voicemail, you know they aren’t going to answer the call.
Nobody ever wins alone and corporate recruiting teams need all types of resources to be successful. Scratch their back first and I promise that you will get whats coming to you.
If you need a starting point, read this book:
Every quality recruiter understands that there are inherent steps that must be taken early on in the recruiting lifecycle. I’ll provide a real-world in recruiting example.
Lets talk about salary ranges…
The best practice around salary ranges is for hiring managers and recruiting leaders to establish specific salary bands before each new role and role revision (assuming there isn’t a salary band guiding you like you see in an enterprise). Build flexibility into the budget for special circumstances. Key performance indicators (KPI) factor this into the value of a professional salary you are attempting to hire. Skills are one of a few key factors in determining compensation.
The next step is to centralize communication and disseminate it throughout a recruiting dashboard or communication structure where it can be received and confirmed that the knowledge has been transferred within your team.
Document that you have confirmed the knowledge so you can hold yourself and others accountable. Unfortunately, the reality is that the candidate that everyone loves will be fast tracked through the recruiting process, treated like gold, and offered a salary that is 30% lower than the competitive market rate and what the candidate told the recruiter at the beginning of the process.
Why did this happen?
The salary amount was documented in the system by your entry-level screeners, several times it was mentioned in the interview process, and reconfirmed by your agency contact who represents the candidate (obviously).
The hiring manager, recruiting manager, and executive financial sponsor had no idea about the candidates ask because there isn’t a tool or program that integrates realtime candidate salary data coming from interviews syncing leaders who sign off on the official salary budget when an offer is made.
This knowledge is extremely valuable early in the process.
NEWSFLASH: The market analysis system that you are using is outdated. Yes. In my career, it has always been lower than what is competitive in the market.
You pay for talent or you’ll pay for problems. Pick your poison.
Geo-specific data is available but it requires some elbow grease on the front end. It comes from your local market, your candidates, your recruiters, your internet, not some far off silicon valley company that thinks they are the TrueCar of salaries. Ding. Another entrepreneur is born. Build that system because we need it and send me a check for coming up with the idea!
Ultimately, there is no accountability. After the offer is rejected, everyone involved begins pointing fingers at everyone else because hopes and dreams are crushed when a candidate declines the offer and someone has to pay for the mistake.
In reality, leadership protects themselves and doesn’t take accountability. The investors blame the executives for missing headcount projections. The executives blame either the hiring manager or the recruiting manager. The hiring manager blames the recruiting manager. The recruiting manager blames their recruiting team. Who takes the fall?
What changes happen after this failure? Usually, none.
- The candidate
- The employer
- The recruiting coordinator
- The recruiter
- The recruiting manager
- The hiring manager
- The hiring team
- Your company reputation
- Your opinion of recruiters
What is the wasted cost? If you add up the entire cost of the failed hire, by the whole interview team: $5,000 – $10,000 depending on the size of the team.
A conservative estimate that does not include the opportunity lost, cost of vacancy for the position remaining open.
What are the expenses that add up to this cost?
- Team salaries
- Wasted office space
- Interview rooms
Expensive? Of course. Duh…but who wins?
- Your competitor
Until we solve systemic issues in recruiting, we will face uncertainly and doubt that leads people to greener pastures. The desire to find a better leader, work environment, recruiting system, or candidate pool is normal when you are dealing with dysfunction. Seeking is a healthy activity when pain exists, however, we need to understand what an ideal environment looks like compared with one that is doomed.
The more experience you gain will help you make better decisions guiding you toward sustainable recruiting success.
Soon, you will be able to detect who the best recruiting leaders are, what systems work well, and what environments are attractive to top talent. In fact, we are working on a solution that will begin diagnosing root causes in corporate recruiting departments, outlining problems and performance in a fun way.
This wraps up my 6-article series focused on outlining challenges between recruiting teams, agency recruiters, and recruiting technology. If you missed out on the other blogs, here is the link that got us started. Thanks for reading!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
James Chmielinski is a second generation recruiting veteran, former athlete, and founder of Veruca.io, the first ever recruiting innovations lab. His company is built from two generations of sales and recruiting experience resting on the backbone of post-millennial technology. An industry-leading, hub-spot for consulting, technology, and recruiting process design. Veruca.io aims to make life easier for professional sourcing and recruiting teams. Mr. Chmielinski’s inaugural software attracted 178 active users in 114 cities from 17 countries.