The process for making a placement/filling a search may vary to some extent but, from the perspective of our industry, it generally includes at least one client, one candidate and one recruiter. Each of these participants fulfills certain functions in the process. However, depending on the business model of the staffing firm and/or the capabilities of the practitioner, the role of the recruiter can range from virtually no involvement at one end of the process continuum to being the pivotal control point at the other end.
Under the “virtually no involvement” category, there are recruiters who mass Email resumes to prospective clients suggesting that if there is an interest, the client should contact the candidate directly and Email the recruiter if the process produces a hire. Believe it or not, some of these recruiters actually collect fees for their minimal involvement in the process.
Moving along the continuum, many recruiters work with their clients at “arms length” during the process of attempting to fill open positions. They initially present candidates, generally by Emailing their resumes, and then wait for a response or make a series of follow-up calls until they actually reach the HR functionary for feedback on whether or not the candidates they submitted will be interviewed by the hiring manager. Almost all contact with the client goes through HR and, at any given time, the recruiter is pretty much out of the loop. Because of the many uncertainties associated with their role in this process the recruiter must achieve consistently high levels of activity in both job orders and send outs in order to sustain a livable income. For the most part, they have been commoditized and from the clients’ point of view, the recruiter is virtually indistinguishable from their competition.
Further along the continuum are the recruiters who work directly with their clients’ hiring managers. Their role is to present candidates for consideration, coordinate the interview schedules and provide guidance to their client when it comes time for the hiring decision and the presentation of the offer. Based on performance, they are positioned to build long-term business relationships with some of their clients. They generally make a good living although most of their work is not exclusive and their performance ratios reflect that fact (See TFL â€“ 12/00 â€“ “Fill Ratios Define You As A Recruiter”).
Having reviewed thousands of job orders/search assignments reflecting hundreds of different formats, rarely have I ever seen one that has a section for “The Recruiter’s Role Will Be ….” Most have a series of questions on the nature of the hiring process (which is good) but fall short on guiding the recruiters through the necessary steps to build themselves into the process.
There is no definitive right or wrong when it comes to the role you fulfill in the process. However, don’t delude yourself into believing you will achieve results that are inconsistent with that role. Make certain your expectations are in line with your reality.
For example, if you’re a recruiter who works at “arms length” with your clients in non-exclusive relationships and must coordinate everything through the HR departments, don’t believe you can survive with low activity levels and few clients. Although this approach may work for a short period of time, the odds of achieving long-term success are against you.
As a contrast, detailed below is the role a recruiter will fulfill in an exclusive process with a client. This information is taken directly from the actual agreed upon search specifications.
The Recruiter will be responsible for locating, screening and evaluating all potentially and interested candidates whether internal or external to the client’s organization. This process will include the completion of the “Custom Questionnaire” on each candidate.
Once finalists have been identified and preliminary background investigations completed, the Recruiter will prepare the Vice President of Finance and the Chief Financial Officer for their interviews. The Recruiter will make recommendations regarding specific interviewing strategies and approaches to be used with each finalist.
Where appropriate, the Recruiter may audit any or all interviews conducted by the Vice President of Finance and the Chief Financial Officer. The Recruiter will also be responsible for debriefing the finalists, Vice President of Finance and the Chief Financial Officer after each interview.
Based on the debriefs, the Recruiter will make recommendations regarding subsequent interviews, additional process steps where necessary, and guide the process through to the hiring decision. At that point the Recruiter will be responsible for identifying the specific terms and conditions necessary for an acceptable employment offer.
The Recruiter will pre-qualify the finalist on the employment offer and guide the process through to acceptance and start date.
The Recruiter will work closely with the Vice President of Finance and the Chief Financial Officer in designing and implementing an appropriate transition strategy for the newly hired employee.
This is a real life example of how good recruiters build themselves into the process.
When taking the job order/search assignment, the place to start with a new client is to ask this question:
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“As we begin our work together, what are your expectations for my performance?”
The answer to this question could range from:
“I hope you can send HR some good resumes.”
“I expect you to fill this position.”
How you respond to the answer will go a long way in determining what role you will fulfill in the process. Some recruiters only want a limited role while others believe in being more fully engaged. That’s up to you. However, the time to define your role is at the beginning of the process.
It’s at this point that mutual accountabilities and timetables should be discussed and agreed upon. Only in this manner can realistic expectations be established for both you and your client. The objective is to insure that everyone understands and agrees upon their role in the process, and is committed to fulfilling it.
Therefore, when the question is asked, “What role do you fulfill in the process?” you will be able to answer it with clarity and confidence.
As usual, if you have questions or comments, just give me a call or drop me an Email. It’s always good to hear from you.
Terry Petra is one of our industry’s leading trainers and consultants. He has successfully conducted in-house programs for hundreds of search, placement, temporary staffing firms and industry groups across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, England, and South Africa. To learn more about his training products and services, including “PETRA ON CALL,” visit his web site at: www.tpetra.com. Terry can be reached at (651) 738-8561 or Email him a: Terry@tpetra.com.