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How to Make Recruiters Work for Your Business

Summary: Learn how to use recruiters effectively to staff your business in this article.

Learn how to use recruiters to help you find excellent employees for your business.
Whether your business is a startup seeking staff or large (and seeking to replace key executives), there are many methods of identifying and attracting qualified staff, including running online ads, getting recommendations from existing staff, "networking," or just depending on walk-in candidates. All of these are fine, but recruiting firms, when used properly, can be one of the most effective methods of getting quality personnel. How do you find and use recruiting firms as an effective staffing option? Here are some details on why, when, and how to use them.
 
VARIED SITUATIONS
 
Whether the position becomes available because of termination, resignation, retirement, or addition to staff, the key reasons for retaining a recruiting firm follow:
 
Confidentiality
 
Particularly when expanding your staff or when replacing an employee, you may not want your competitors or other employees to know your plans. So an online ad may be out of the question. An anonymous ad is possible, but many candidates won't answer it for fear of applying to their own employer. Fortunately, you can conduct your search in confidence through a recruiter. Since the recruiting firm's most valuable asset is information, it won't reveal its clients. All preliminary interviews are completed without identifying the client organizations. Only when there's sufficient interest in setting up an interview is the client revealed.
 
Cost Effectiveness
 
When searching for qualified candidates, there are cost factors that need to be considered. For example, the cost of advertising online on a major job site can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. If an ad generates only a few responses, the money may be wasted. Even with a large response, the time and cost involved in processing responses and interviewing applicants can be overwhelming and may not reap a qualified candidate.
 
A recruiting firm, on the other hand, saves both time and money simply because it handles the preliminary screening and interviewing. Thus, the client interviews only those candidates who fit its criteria. And, if the recruiter is hired on a contingency basis, there's no financial obligation until the position is filled.
 
Ability to Tap the Market
 
Some of the best candidates do not browse online job boards. A recruiting firm can reach those candidates who are not actively seeking new jobs. Further, a recruiting firm may be able to attract candidates from within your industry without compromising your firm's reputation.
 
Ability to Attract Talent
 
A recruiting firm that's active in a particular industry generally has developed a relationship with "up and coming" candidates. Such a firm may be able to reach high caliber individuals who may not be approachable otherwise.
 
COMMITMENT
 
Don't consider using a recruitment firm until you've completed an unsuccessful internal search, are convinced that using a recruiter would be your most cost-efficient option, and are ready to cooperate fully with the firm.
 
Types of Recruiters
 
Employment agencies find jobs for people, while contingency search firms and retained search firms work for the employer. The method of billing is another way of distinguishing the types of firms. With all three types of recruiter, the employer pays the fees, which are based on a percentage of the candidate's estimated first year's compensation-generally 1% per $1,000 of salary to a maximum of 30% (for example, at a salary of $30,000, the fee would amount to $9,000). Employment agencies and contingency search firms get their fees when the candidate begins work with the client. Fees paid to a retained search firm are delivered on a set schedule (usually one-third when retained, another third after 30 days, and the final payment when the candidate begins to work). Retained search firms also bill additionally for expenses. Guarantee periods vary from 30 days to 90 days, with full or partial credits or refunds.
 
Recruiting firms could also be characterized by specialization. Discipline specialists handle certain fields (e.g., data processing, engineering, human resources) and cross industry lines. They usually deal with positions that are technical or at middle and upper management levels. Industry specialists will handle all types of jobs at all levels within a given industry (such as banking and medicine). Generalist firms have no specialty.
 
Services Provided
 
When a recruiting firm, whether contingency or retainer, accepts an assignment, it doesn't just "empty its files" (send numerous candidates or resumes to a client, hoping one will be a match). Rather, the firm begins a comprehensive process, which consists of researching, file searching, networking, recruiting, prescreening, preliminary interviewing, in-depth interviewing, reference checking, negotiating, and closing the placement. Note that part of the firm's role in this process is to participate in salary and benefits negotiations and to assist the client in determining the candidate's motivation for making a move.
 
Recruiting firms can be a valuable source of information, too. Most will provide – as a service – up-to-date surveys and information regarding salaries, benefits, and availability of candidates in any particular location or category.
 
For more information about using outside help to hire for your business, see this article:
 
4 Tips for Using a Staffing Firm to Fill Temp Jobs