Why does experience matter when selecting a recruiting firm?

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Finding a good recruiter can be difficult.  Like many professional service firms, there are many to choose from. While you can search online for just about any professional service, determining who is the best in the sea of options is much more difficult.  

In this article we provide insights into why experience matters and what type of experience matters most. Below are a few types of experience that are key factors when vetting an agency recruiter for your desired qualifications.

Industry Knowledge & Experience

Businesses vary and the type of talent that each industry requires varies greatly. As an example, if you are an oil and gas company, then hiring a seasoned recruiter from the real estate industry may not be your best bet.  What we call an “intake meeting” is the basis to starting a search on the right foot. This is a foundational practice that lays the groundwork for the entire search and will impact its success. Candidate volume, candidate quality, and speed to hire can and will be affected based on the insights gathered up front. After all, the more insight a recruiter can gather at the start, the higher the likelihood of success.

It is unlikely that a recruiter who is unfamiliar with your industry will ask the all the appropriate & fundamental questions to ensure your search is efficient and effective. Ultimately, this leads to frustration when your recruiter is presenting candidates who are good enough to get an interview but may not be good enough to get an offer. This can have a negative effect on your submittal to interview ratio, as well as your interview to hire ratio. Bad conversion ratios ultimately lead to an increase in hiring frustration. Having deep industry knowledge not only shapes the search, but also impacts the number of passive candidates in the recruiter’s network. Robust connections and relationships also helps with referrals, which is an important component to any successful search.

Job Knowledge

While industry knowledge is important, recruiting for a specific type of job is equally important.  As an example, you wouldn’t want a recruiter who specializes in recruiting accountants in the tech industry working on your developer jobs. They may have good understanding of your industry. However, if they lack a deep understanding of the job to be filled, then they’ll likely struggle to deliver positive results. 

The tech industry is a good example, because the spectrum of jobs in information technology is extremely broad. There are many types of programmers (DevOps, Full Stack, Front-End, Back-End, QA Testers, etc.). So, you will want to find someone who is more than a technical recruiter if you have a specific type of job that you need filled (ideally).  The same is true with accounting.  In the tax field alone there are many types of tax accounting (sales & use, excise, federal, state, international, expatriate, ad valorem, etc.). In addition to tax, there is Audit, SEC reporting, Fixed Assets, Job Costing, Standard Costing and many other aspects of recruiting accounting professionals, too.  We suggest finding a recruiter who knows & understands both your industry and the very job you seek to fill.

Process Knowledge

As with any business, having a repeatable and scalable process is important.  As for us, it took 25+ years to refine our “proven process” and train our team in its application.  The importance of process is critical when it comes to a recruiter’s ability to run a search effectively. This means that they need to have clearly defined steps for how they will effectively set out to find and screen the talent you need. The days of flipping through paper resumes and rolodexes are over.  The best recruiters can walk you through their process and show you how they will find and screen the talent you require.  It’s not just process alone, though.  Having the technology infrastructure set up to support the process is also important. 

Systems Knowledge

I mentioned above that process knowledge alone isn’t enough these days.  Great recruiters are students of the game. They know how to augment their process with technology and systems that help automate mundane tasks. They also know how to integrate disparate systems so they work together. Doing so allows them to focus on high-value activities, eliminate manual tasks, and keep track of their progress. If your recruiter isn’t using integrations, automations and artificial intelligence (AI) then they are behind the curve. This likely means they will struggle to scale or be able to present you with the data behind their process.

Good recruiters not only use the information to make their jobs easier, but also to achieve results quickly and reliably. Good recruiting partners should be able to provide you with reporting that shows what work is being done behind the scenes. This includes volume, rejection rates, ratios, and results. Check out our article about agency recruiting metrics here.

Customer Knowledge

While customer knowledge is an important aspect of a recruiter’s experience, it is the easiest knowledge to acquire if they have a client who is invested in their mutual success (what we consider a “partner”).  The type of information needed to effectively run a search includes information about the customer’s core values, mission, vision, milestones, leadership, and growth plans.  It also includes information about their operations, structure, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  This is true at an organizational and a departmental level.  Armed with this information your recruiter can then communicate your value proposition and move beyond matching keywords on job descriptions and resumes towards determining which candidates are a great culture fit, too.

If you are a fast-growth and dynamic company (ex. tech start-up) then finding someone who has done the job you seek to fill in a mature and highly structured company (ex. banking, insurance) may not be the best fit.  Great recruiters take the time to understand your business well beyond the job.

No doubt that experience is a key factor when deciding what recruiting firm to partner with.  At Reputable Recruiting, we have multiple brands with unique specializations.  Our Proven Process and unique blend of powerful recruiting technologies have taken years to perfect.  If you need help running an executive search, hiring full or part-time on-demand contract recruiters, or you are considering outsourcing all or part of your recruiting, let us know. We’d love to show you what we can do.

Don’t forget to check out our website and Google to see some of our reviews.