Recruiters – What are your 3 Burning Questions?


A month or so ago Emma and I were invited to present at the End of Year Recruitment Conference held this last week and organised by The Recruiter Network. This would be the first time we had stood up as The FIRM in a public environment and wanted to do something that was in keeping with our core values – we chose “sharing knowledge”.

There are many ways in which standards can be raised for hiring managers, recruiting practitioners working in-house and for sales people working at agencies; arguably the biggest of these is by gaining an understanding of how we all work. It is probably fair to say that very few agency staff know what it is like to work in house or what the roles and responsibilities of recruitment or HR practitioners are and the challenges they have.  There are guesses; some right, some wrong, but rarely known

With this in mind we felt a little information sharing could go a long way. If the in-house function is performing well, has the sophistication, resources, competencies and desire then the use of agencies will be eliminated in that organisation. However, I doubt very much that this model is widely adopted and that the vast majority of companies will chose to use the services of agencies for one reason or another. Let us remember though that the vast majority of companies do not have a dedicated competent in-house Rescouring teams and as such companies choose to use agencies. Hiring managers who manage their own process typically won’t have a clue how to resource properly, despite what they themselves will think and as such will tend to use an agency or worse, multiple agencies for expedience. Nothing wrong with that if it works well for all parties.

So to our presentation. The idea was to ask agencies what their Burning Questions are and discuss some of the reasons the questions needed to be asked and hopefully provide answers and insights.

1. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as a recruitment consultant, would like to ask your customers (hiring managers)?

2. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as a recruitment consultant, would like to ask HR or Resourcing teams at your customers or prospects?

3. What are the 3 biggest issues or frustrations you have when dealing with HR or Resourcing functions?

The questions were posted on Surveymonkey. Using Twitter and the UK Recruiter newsletter we invited agencies to ask away.

We were given a 50 minute speaking slot at the start of the conference and as such unfortunately we couldn’t discuss every question asked. Some were just too stupid anyway.  These are the ones we addressed or at least we tried to on the day. Thanks to the discussion in the room amongst the delegates we sort of ran out of time.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Question 1. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as the recruitment consultant, would like to ask your customers (hiring managers)?

  • What is more important, cutting costs or finding the right candidate?
  • What would be your ideal Agency/Customer relationship?

Question 2. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as the recruitment consultant, would like to ask HR or Resourcing teams at your customers or prospects?

  • Do you have favourite agencies/recruiters and why?
  • Why do you block access to hiring managers, even when we are a recognised and trusted partner?

Question 3. What are the 3 biggest issues or frustrations you have when dealing with HR or Resourcing functions?

  • Feedback …………or a lack of it
  • Poor job descriptions or briefings on the positions
  • Not responding to telephone calls (messages) or emails

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From many of the questions it is clear that some agencies really do want to learn in order to help their customers. It was also clear from some of the reactions in the room to the answers we were giving that agencies simply do not know nor can they comprehend the scale of some of the challenges in-house people have – there were gasps after Emma gave one example of what her teams are dealing with on a daily basis. It is also clear that many companies would do better by engaging more with their suppliers and teaching each other how to work together.  Better results for all I suspect will be realised.

I welcome further questions

I welcome further answers

If you would like to discuss any of these questions or any others that you have please let me know. My contact details can be found here.

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  1. Gary, I completely agree with you on this point and am glad that you and Emma are raising this issue. This ‘them and us’ mentality is counter-productive for all. My move in-house was a real eye opener and (although I like to think I was a very client-focused agency recruiter) it made me realise the reasons why some of my client relationships were frustrating for me (and my client!). Now I’m back on the agency side, albeit not in a sales role, and I am talking to my colleagues about the mis-conceptions about the in-house role and especially about the complexity and challenges our clients are facing.
    A more respectful two way dialogue over the ‘fence’ would enhance all of our working lives and undoubtedly increase the number of successful hires for agencies and the in-house resourcing teams.

    Best Wishes,

    Sophie

    • Grace
    • January 20th, 2012

    As an inhouse recruiter i would like to offer my response to these questions:

    Do you have favourite agencies/recruiters and why?

    Yes I do and these are the agencies that have taken time to build a proper partnership with me in terms of understanding our business model and the specific roles they are working with me on. They keep in touch and visit me regularly and most importantly listen rather than assume!

    Why do you block access to hiring managers, even when we are a recognised and trusted partner?

    I would never knowingly block access to our hiring managers. On the rare occasion that this might happen, it probably has more to do with the hiring manager than it does the recruiter! It may be someone who has a history of circumnavigating the recruitment process, for example and direct access between the agency and the hiring manager may just exacerbate the situation, I also like to be able to be absolutely honest with my trusted recruiters which may mean I have information with regard to strategy/ direction etc that the hiring manager is not aware of themselves.
    Also, managing a PSL is quite a tricky thing to do, which neither hiring managers or agency recruiters tend to realise – therefore it is of utmost importance that the PSL ‘owner’ drive the relationship.

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