The Counsellor: Working successfully with recruitment firms
Focus on the consistency of the interview panelists
I work with a small advertising firm and have been handling the HR function for the past 6 months. We are currently engaging with a recruitment firm to hire people for the design and content team. While the recruiter has been quick in lining up candidates who are eligible for the interview, we have not been able to close a single position, despite having met 20 candidates in the last 3 months. Although the role and profile have been clearly defined, there is a continuous mismatch in our expectations and the quality of candidates presented. This is turning out to be a futile and costly investment. I would like to understand how I can ensure that we are on the same page, and there is no gap in our understanding? Please suggest ways to make this a successful partnership.
Not a very unusual problem. This happens due to multiple reasons like wrong recruitment firm or incomplete brief or even the ever changing expectations of the recruiters. You might consider doing some of the following things:
It is very critical to ensure that the head hunter you engage is the right agency which has expertise and experience in the domain in which you are currently hiring. Many a times, the head hunters take the brief even though they are not the right agency (lack of experience/domain expertise). Just check this out.
Providing a job description is not enough. It is also very critical to brief the head hunters with your expectations from the right candidates. This will include the skills and knowledge, experience - type and the length, type of accomplishments that you are looking for, cultural fit issues, etc. From a CV, many candidates may look good; however, ensure that the head hunter does the preliminary interviews and checks against your expectations before forwarding the profiles to you.
Another important element that you should focus upon is the consistency of the recruitment panelists. If you have different panelists with different expectations each time, it could lead to rejections, which are not necessarily well-founded. Stick to the brief and ensure all the panelists are fully aware of the brief and you have a buy-in from them.
Vivek is a Senior HR professional with over 35 years of experience, ranging several leadership positions, in India and abroad. He leads his consulting practice since 2003 and presently works as a Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries, and is also an independent Director on the Board of Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd. Prior to this, he was based in Singapore for several years where he was Director HR - Operations at Hewlett Packard for the Asia Pacific Region.
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