Why Agency Recruiters Make Great Corporate Recruiters

Businessman on road to choicesCorporate hiring technical recruiters or sourcers with agency background experience has always been a trend. Why is this? What are the skills that agency recruiters and sourcers have that make them appealing to leaders of corporate staffing teams?

If you do work on the agency side, but want to break into corporate, what do you have to do? Do you possess the skills that will make you marketable to a staffing team on the corporate side?

Just because you work at an agency doesn’t guarantee that you are instantly awesome. You still have to be good at your job. Here are some of the skills needed  to cross over to the other side. And why corporate staffing managers should pay attention:

  • Time management — Recruiters have to be good at time management. But agency staffers have to source, recruit, and submit candidates for new jobs opened that day. Sometimes within a couple of hours!
  • Competitive — Everyone in staffing is competitive. Companies are all vying for the same top talent and there is only so much to go around. But in the agency world, you are normally competing with 30 or so staffing agencies on the same job. You can bet agency staffers are competitive and fast. Their ability to   identify, qualify, and submit candidates quickly is their livelihood.
  • Technical knowledge — Most corporate recruiters and sourcers work within a single vertical or group. They usually have 5 to 10 open reqs they are working for the length of their stay at the company. Agency staffers receive multiple new reqs each day from a wide variety of clients. This means over the course of a few days, a recruiter could work on an IC design engineer, a software validation engineer for a biotech company, then move on to a techno-functional Oracle ERP implementation consultant, tackle a devops engineer  with cloud platform experience, before finally wrapping up with a finance manager who has EFT / ACH systems experience.
  • Ability to work without hiring manager req intake meetings — Because many agencies are RPO, VMS, or contingency-based, they often have no contact with the hiring manager. They do not typically get clarification, job insights, or what’s written between the lines of the req. Because of that, agency recruiters and sourcers must use their experience, instincts, and research skills in order to figure out the correct angle when working a req.

For Staffing Managers

Staffing managers, directors, and other leaders should pay attention to these agency types. Some of the traits I listed above can carry over quite well to your corporate staffing team. Here is what you can expect:

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  • Time and speed — Agency recruiters are used to a fast-paced environment and that can help give your group a shot of much-needed energy. Keep them engaged and keep challenging them to find different ways and angles when working their reqs. Turn that potential into energy.
  • Major phone skills — Agency recruiters and sourcers spend all their time on the phone. This is what they do all day, sometimes making 100 calls a day. For corporate staffing managers who are afraid that their people are not on the phone enough, this will help  the team to get over the fear of cold-calling.
  • Persistence with hiring managers — In the agency world, recruiters and sourcers can count themselves very lucky if they get a chance to listen to hiring manager feedback or req intake meetings. They do not take this lightly and use every single shred of information that is given. If given a chance to work on a corporate team that has hiring manager access, they will use it. They will constantly try different types of candidates, different sources of candidates, and they will push the hiring manager to consider alternative profiles. I’m sure some people think this is a negative, but professionals who are good at their jobs can only increase the organization by pushing each other beyond their comfort limits.

Even if you’re a staffing manager and you can’t find any “good” agency recruiters, you can still implement the good parts of that agency instinct into your corporate staffing team. Treat reqs like they are time bombs. Research the job reqs as well as the candidates who were previously hired. Dissect search strings and candidate screening questions. Push along the hiring process, from req takes to manager feedback, to interview feedback. Realize that every candidate is not readily available on the Internet.

Most importantly, get on the phone. All day! If you feel like the team dynamic and energy is low, then try a shot of agency caffeine. You might be glad that you did.

Copyright: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo

Mark Tortorici is a training, recruiting, and sourcing manager who has been providing expert-level training for sourcers and recruiters since 1997. He is also the founder of Transform Talent Acquisition, which specializes in training for high technology computer concepts, advanced active & passive sourcing techniques, and full life-cycle recruitment process. He has created and delivered robust training programs for companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Ebay.


4 Comments on “Why Agency Recruiters Make Great Corporate Recruiters

  1. I so disagree with this, agency recruiters IF successful would be taking major pay cut to be corporate recruiters. I find (in my 38 years as a recruiter) that the corporate recruiters are usually the people that couldn’t cut it in our business and or washed out. any one who is successful on the agency side, dosent want to break into corporate , unless they are burned out…..just my opinion.

    1. Larry, I would have to disagree with you. I’m currently in the business of running a full staffing agency and some of my top talented recruiters left because they where tired of working with different clients and wanted to just focus on one client and grow that way. It’s the same with public accounting firms on why they leave to go into a corporate setting because they are tired of the travel, or working on multiple engagements and having to keep up with each industry. Some recruiters are not motivated by money and if one of my guys or gals where just purely motivated by money they are in this business for the wrong reasons.

  2. The catch is that some clients get great, fast service from a favored outside recruiter but when they bring them inside, find out that the recruiter had a team of people offering them candidates. Your point of contact at the agency may perform well for you but without the team that backs them up, they can’t produce results as quickly…

  3. I agree 100% with this article. I transition from the agency world to the corporate side 5 years ago and most of my best hires have been former agency recruiters.

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