How to get the best out of your recruitment agency.

The more recruitment agencies working on your vacancy, the faster it’s filled, right?

Actually, the opposite is usually true!

According to Louise Archer from Retrained Search, inviting multiple recruiters to try and fill a role (called ‘contingent recruitment’) has an average fill rate of below 25%.

In contrast, fill rates are up around 95–100% for agencies engaged exclusively on a retained basis.

Read on to discover why, and learn how to get the most out of your recruitment agency – so you can have the best person filling your next role, sooner.

Three problems with contingent recruitment

Many companies think the most efficient way to get a role filled is by putting it out to multiple recruitment agencies, and just paying whichever agency manages to successfully fill that role.

This approach usually fails to work for a number of reasons.

First, if recruitment consultants know they will only get paid after they find a successful candidate (and they may get beaten to the punch by another agency), they will begin to question whether it’s worth all the time spent advertising, searching, interviewing, and referencing. 

Second, when agencies are competing to fill a role, they’re going to prioritise the roles they have the best and fastest chance of filling (e.g. temp admin, reception, or finance roles). As a result, harder roles to fill that require longer search times may get moved to the bottom of the pile.

Third, there’s little-to-no time for recruiters to screen candidates when competing against other agencies. That means you, the employer, end up having to do the work of sifting through a larger pool of usually lower-quality candidates – not ideal when you’re short on time!

As one recruiter wrote on LinkedIn,

“How many times have you spent hours working on a vacancy only to find it’s been ‘filled internally’ or the company have ‘put a hold on it’?!

You can’t get that time back, so companies who do this to recruiters eventually get ignored – no one wants to work on their vacancies at all.

Contingency is too risky for the recruiter and often leads to a poorer pool of candidates being offered.”

So if you’re hitting any of these walls – consider dropping the contingent approach to your recruitment. There’s a better way.

The alternative with better results

In contrast, engaging a single agency exclusively – either one job at a time or on retainer – gives them the confidence to spend adequate time on the recruitment process.

And that ultimately means you’re going to be presented with stronger candidates for your vacancy.

Knowing your recruiter has made finding the right candidate a top priority goes a long way, especially for the more senior or technical roles which are harder to fill.

You can build a relationship with an agency who can get to know your company and its needs, and who won’t move on to other vacancies or clients for a more ‘straightforward win’.

Working with one agency exclusively allows them to deliver better results, which is vital, particularly for key roles including those in management, clinical, senior and specialist positions.

An exclusive approach is also particularly suited to roles with limited talent available, such as case work, social work, project and outreach roles.

The verdict

If you’re not happy with the response you’re getting from recruitment agencies, it could be because you’re using the contingent approach.

Consider building a relationship with a single agency, and working with them on an exclusive and even retained basis to ensure your vacancies are filled with quality talent, in a process that works for you.

Do these challenges sound familiar to you? If you want your vacancies filled by an agency who spends the time getting to know your company and its needs, start a conversation with Be. Recruitment today.

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