If you’re an employer and you choose to partner with an IT recruiter as part of your people acquisition strategy, there are several key things that both parties absolutely must do to help form a great relationship and, in the end, attract the very best IT talent.
Agree on Common Ground from the Beginning
To help form a great foundation and partnership, it’s ideal to start this off with a briefing – either face-to-face or via a phone call. During this briefing, topics should include individual responsibilities (and agreement), the recruitment process and search criteria, review of past successful candidates for similar roles, and mapping out interview plans and sourcing strategies. The goal at the end of this is for both parties to have agreed on clear processes and outcomes. Agreeing on common ground from the outset helps to set realistic expectations and ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to recruitment strategies.
To ensure everyone knows where they stand, it’s helpful when employers are clear on the approach they would like to take and where they think the recruiter fits in. For example, are they working alongside other recruitment sources, such as internal recruiters, or advertising roles in various places? Whilst many employers can rely on internal recruiters (and should utilise this expertise if they have this in-house), it’s important to bear in mind that external recruiters can add value to the internal recruitment function when they don’t have capacity due to other commitments or if the remit extends to networks beyond their expertise or reach), working together to ensure a streamlined recruitment process.
In this talent-short market, ensuring the recruiter is aware of all the key selling points of the company and role is key to success, as our job is to sell these opportunities to the candidates. To do this effectively, we need to ensure we have all the relevant information at hand to create a comprehensive brief. The employer’s knowledge and experience of the company, the job role, the culture, and the workplace are essential pieces to this part of the process. Simply put, the more information employers provide, the better we can deliver, and the closer you are to getting a candidate that suits your specific requirements.
Account for the Market
Although we will do all we can to find the right candidate, sometimes the current marketplace and your brief may not marry up entirely. For this reason, it’s essential that you let recruiters know exactly what you are looking for and what areas you might be more flexible on than others, simply due to the changing levels of availability in the market. For example, you may have agreed on a salary internally, but this might not be able to capture or entice an A-grade candidate. Or, if there is a very limited number of candidates in the market, there might not be many that are attracted to the type of projects your organisation is working on.
A good IT recruiter will provide feedback on these expectations from the beginning to ensure that you have some idea of the current market and a realistic sourcing plan developed to deliver the outcomes required. As the recruitment process evolves, we often find that candidates may challenge certain aspects of the role, which may change your outlook further. For example, you may be interested in a candidate that only has 90% of the agreed skills but you think they might be a better culture fit, or a candidate with a background that wasn’t initially discussed may end up being the one that can solve the talent problem you face.
Ensure Ongoing Communication
Ongoing communication is essential, especially in this current IT market, where the time taken to fill roles is increasing. In fact, research shows technology, engineering and digital roles take 45 to 50 days to fill compared to the average of 29.4 days. This is due to a number of factors, such as changes in expectations, increased competition and communication breakdowns.
To avoid any of these common pitfalls, agree timing elements like milestone commitments and dates for interviews up front. However, we understand that unforeseen things happen, and changes may need to be made along the way. However, it’s key, especially from a brand perspective, that employers communicate these with their recruiters, so they can keep candidates informed of the reason for any delays.
This communication ensures candidates have a great recruitment experience, which can have an impact on your reputation and the candidate’s decision. Both employer and recruiter have a vested interest in working together to avoid any negative candidate experiences as word travels fast, especially in a small market, and could hinder future hiring prospects.
Like any strong relationship, the partnership between an employer and a recruiter is built on strong foundations and trust. It’s been my experience that clear expectations from the beginning and constant and upfront communication keeps the relationship on track. Trust takes time to establish and is often built by working on several roles together.
As time goes and this trust builds, employers find they also get better candidates. This is often because over time the recruiter understands the business and has the confidence and experience to suggest and challenge briefs in order to find a suitable match in the current market.
If you’re ready to work with a specialist IT recruitment agency that prides itself on building and maintaining long-term relationships, get in touch today.