How does a recruitment agency work?

executive search consultants

Perhaps you have already used a recruitment agency or are about to do so? Do you know how a recruitment agency works? In United States, there are more than a thousand different firms, each with its own specialty. How are they organized and what are the benefits of using these recruitment specialists?

In this article, elements of explanation on the mechanics of a recruitment agency in order to make the right choice when the time comes!

1. Organisation of a recruitment agency

According to the Hire Your Talent Consulting Firm on the Failure Rate of the Hiring Process, TEPE, the average overall cost of recruitment would represent the equivalent of one full-time equivalent, i.e. 50KE, and could reach 100KE for senior managers!

A recruitment agency: to recruit for you

According to a study by the Florian Mantione Institute, ¾ of the CVs received are misleading and 90% of candidates declare it normal to “fix” their CVs, when only one third of companies carry out checks. In this context, recruitment agencies have an important role to play. First of all, it is important to understand what a recruitment agency is. The main missions of this type of structure consist in the realization of recruitment projects, of one or more candidates, for client companies. The firm will be in charge of the entire professional recruitment process, from defining the position with the manager to monitoring the trial period at the client’s premises. Some firms have nevertheless specialized on only one stage of the executive recruitment cycle, so it is not uncommon to see structures offering only CV sourcing missions, or hunting on social networks, or even organizing school events.

The client company intervenes throughout the classic process, because it is often one or more operational managers supported by an internal recruitment or HR manager who will carry out the motivation interviews and ultimately validate the candidate short-listed by the firm.

Generally, executive recruitment agencies are involved in tense jobs or management positions, where the hunting of candidates is essential to successful professional recruitment. Companies recruiting for non-executive positions will more generally use temporary employment agencies specialized in their professions. About 20% of executive recruitments are made through recruitment agencies.

The recruitment firm can carry out several missions, depending on the services chosen by the client company:

  • Collect and analyze in detail the recruitment need. Usually, the consultant meets the client during a first appointment to understand as much as possible the details of the position to be filled.
  • Establish a precise job description, validated by the end customer. The idea is to highlight the strengths of this opportunity by helping the client to identify his or her “pluses”.
  • Implement a profile sourcing strategy in line with the client’s recruitment methods. Here, it is a question of choosing on which platforms the ads will be broadcast according to the type of need, which communication tools will be preferred and which jobboards will be used (APEC, Monster, Cadremploi, etc.).
  • Conduct the recruitment process in its entirety: identification of profiles via sourcing on job-boards and social networks, telephone pre-selection, physical interviews with short-listed candidates, possible tests, creation of client presentation files (generally 3 candidates per position), preparation of candidates for client interviews, finalization of the offer with the client and possible negotiation of the terms of the contract and signature of the candidate.

At the same time, the firm undertakes to verify the candidates’ recommendations. This is a reference check with former managers. Finally, the candidate’s position and probationary period are monitored. Some firms propose replacing the candidate who has not validated his probationary period, so regular follow-up of the hired candidate is essential.

In short, the executive recruitment agency is able to handle all your recruitment needs and ensure that you are hired on your behalf. The key is to choose the right recruitment service provider so as not to waste your time and money. Indeed, it is important to find out about the reputation of the firm but also about the recruitment consultants in charge of your need. Depending on the consultant, your recruitment request may be more or less well handled. In addition, the recruitment consultant has a consulting mission for you, if your need is poorly qualified, or if you offer a salary well below what the competition offers, he must be able to guide you in order to succeed in recruiting a candidate corresponding to your needs.

2. The advantages of using a recruitment agency

82% of United States employers would have difficulty recruiting certain profiles

According to a 2015 Regions Job study, more and more companies are experiencing difficulties in recruiting their employees. In this situation, seeking a recruitment firm can be effective. Why use a firm?

First of all, the first advantage of using a recruitment firm is the discretion of its recruitment process. Indeed, you must replace a resigning employee, or replace a dismissed employee at short notice and must keep this information confidential. The firm will be able to undertake the search for a new profile in complete discretion without your internal employees being informed. In this way, your anonymity is preserved until you meet the selected candidates.

Second, the second advantage is the firm’s recruitment skills. Indeed, you have to recruit technical profiles and do not have the internal skills to do so. Hunting expert profiles in Big Data is not easy when you don’t master the IT recruitment codes. Thus, asking your recruitment manager to spend all his energy hunting for rare profiles is counterproductive. The advantage is to call on experts who will quickly know where to look, activate a network of targeted profiles, and present you with the best candidates of the moment according to your needs.

To another extent, the benefit is also financial. If you are not used to recruiting rare profiles or even to simply recruiting. Using a service provider on an ad hoc basis can result in significant savings on your recruitment budget.

Recruitment agencies can solve your recruitment problems, as long as they clearly define your needs and make the right choice of service provider!

Published by Dave John

Decade of work experience in leadership consulting with strong focus on talent acquisition & assessment across different industries and geographies.

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