Recruitment agencies, advertisements, resume databases, and events. These are the main variable budget items that drive talent acquisition. And the areas that recruiting organizations can optimize to get more of the right candidates and/or gain efficiencies with your recruiting dollars.
That said, most organizations have little process and analysis built around recruitment agencies. Agencies can be an indispensable resource for finding purple squirrels, filling high volume positions, or acting as your sole channel for sourcing candidates, but you need to manage the results just like any other hiring source.
Here are four keys to optimizing your recruitment agency channel.
For larger organizations with multiple stakeholders and distributed recruiters and/or budgets, agencies can be a nightmare to manage. The first step is to centralize the management of your agencies and your budgets. This starts with taking a full inventory of all your agencies. We'll bet there are more than you think.
Next, get real about how many different agencies you really want to have to manage. Review how much money you are spending per vendor. It's entirely possible that if you only spend a fraction of your budget on one or more agencies, you really don't need the overhead associated with monitoring and analyzing their performance. This can be a good first cut at optimization.
Tighten Your Process
One of the biggest wastes in recruitment agency spending comes from failing to keep track of the candidates you already own. Again, this is a big problem for larger organizations. Whether it's job ads or events or resume database searches, we spend way too much money buying the same candidates over and over again.
When it comes to recruitment agencies, the cost of duplicate candidate submission can be staggering. Imagine paying 30% of a six figure salary for a candidate you already have in your ATS or CRM (or both!).
Technology is the best way to solve this problem. Start with a proper candidate relationship management (CRM) system. Centralizing all your candidates into a proprietary talent pool makes it possible to do an automatic email check against each newly submitted candidate to identify whether you've already got them. Some CRMs and applicant tracking systems have dedicated agency portals for agencies to submit candidates where you can track communications, manage contracts, and measure results. If you use agencies with any regularity, this capability quickly pays for itself many times over.
Analyze Your Recruitment Agency Results
With a centralized control, an automated agency portal and all your recruiters using standardized processes and technology for working with agencies, you have the power to fully understand what you're getting for your money. In other words, you can measure which agencies are submitting the candidates that are actually getting hired.
You should also be measuring agency performance alongside all your other sources of candidates. Once you know which agencies are getting you the most hires, you can then measure your agency hiring efforts against your job boards, social networks, events, and other hiring channels. You've optimized your agencies, now optimize your entire mix of candidate sources. This kind of approach can unlock tremendous efficiency in the form of savings, increased hiring effectiveness or both.
Do It Yourself
The process of centralizing your talent pools and laying the foundation for a highly optimized agency recruiting channel just happens to give you the ability to source from your talent pool before engaging with an agency.
In addition to eliminating duplicate agency submissions, identifying top performing agencies, and optimizing your mix of agencies versus other channels, you can now reduce your reliance on agencies altogether. Each candidate your agency submits goes into your CRM along with every past applicant, and every candidate gathered from job ads, recruiting event, social network post, resume database search, and more.
Over time, this centralized pool becomes your primary source of hiring, allowing you to focus agencies on what they do best.
Recruitment agencies earn every dollar they take in and are a highly effective way to increase your ability to hire the right candidates at the right time. But internal recruiting organizations need to be good clients with the proper processes, technologies, and strategies in place to get the most out of the relationship.
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