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Recruitment dilemmas

Pinnacle Consulting’s Steve Rogan ponders some recruitment questions.

What should I expect of a sales recruitment consultant in the building industry?

Although many manufacturers and suppliers of building materials would agree that recruitment doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, most appreciate that selecting the right person is vital for the future success of their business. However, companies are understandably apprehensive about using a recruitment agency.

Many still ask themselves, “Why am I using a recruitment agency?” and “What should I expect from my consultant?” If you are currently in this mindset, here are six simple things that you should be asking of your consultant:

Is my consultant demonstrating a thorough understanding of my brief, our market, and our company?

If your recruitment agency and consultant really understand your company, they will be able to confidently and effectively explain the benefits of matching your company with a particular candidate, as well as how the job fits in with your company objectives.

Check to see if your consultant has a sound understanding and knowledge of your company, your products and services, your markets and customers, as well as your activity, approach, and reasons for needing to recruit – does your consultant ask you additional questions to enhance their knowledge, or are they just making generalised and vague statements and assessments?

More importantly, are the prospective candidates being put forward by your consultant actually matching your brief and are they supported with good, intelligent rationale to support their selection?

Understanding your industry is often solved by using a specialist recruitment agency that operates exclusively in your field, but a consultant who also understands your company’s specific needs provides you with a much more valuable service.

Is my consultant providing the right level and quality of communication?

You need to make sure that you are being updated on progress, but not to the extent that the frequency of contact is disruptive or calls become ‘sales’ pitches. Conversations and meetings should be proactive, reassuring, and informative, and that of a business partner working for mutual benefit.

Are the CVs being sent to me carefully selected or is my consultant just a CV forwarder?

If you, very quickly, get sent a opile of CVs which seem to have been generated by the consultant doing a quick automated CV match, or by trawling through various job boards, then you should be very concerned. This is not the individual attention a high quality consultant would provide. In this instance, it would be very likely that none of the candidates have been spoken to about the role, or the details of their career, or have been truly evaluated by the consultant to ensure they are suitable and match the key aspects of your brief.

Your consultant should provide you with a process, streamlining benefits, to ensure that CVs sent to you are relevant and the candidates are high quality, capable, and interested in the role. Less is often more, so look for quality over quantity and evidence that the consultant knows the person behind the words on the CV. Never assume that they have actually spoken to the person they are putting forward, but look for evidence that they have.

Are they saving me time rather than wasting my time?

One of the main reasons companies decide to use agencies for their recruitment is to save advertising expenditure and time spent searching, evaluating, communicating and administrating. In other words, sorting the wheat from the chaff and thus allowing you to concentrate on your business.

If your consultant has a true understanding of your needs and has established this during briefing – a stage when the employer and the consultant really do need to invest their time – then you can move forward with confidence that the process is likely to go smoothly and without a constant need to eat into your time, other than when it is necessary.

Is my consultant exploring all avenues to find the ideal candidate to match my brief?

A good consultant will find the right person for the right job by selecting from a pool of high quality candidates, including access to candidates not available elsewhere.

Job boards and media advertising are open to anyone looking for candidates, and are often a successful way to fill a position, but there are also the hidden ones – those who are not even aware that they are looking for a job, or are not actively seeking. It is also true that high quality candidates will not be searching for long, and many active candidates will not even read the agency listings or visit job boards.

A proactive approach from a consultant with specialist and intimate knowledge of those within the industry, who might be tempted to make a move, could be the key-determining factor that connects you with the elite employees that meet and exceed your brief and will grow your business.

These qualities are vital ingredients of a high quality recruitment agency and consultant, and a key reason for not handling the recruitment process internally. Your consultant should be a skilled specialist with established industry networks to meet your needs. Ask them how they intend to find someone to meet your requirements, and evaluate their answer.

Is your consultant also working in the best interests of the candidate and do I trust them?

A good consultant should intuitively know their clients’ and candidates’ needs and this should be achieved by really getting to know all the parties involved. They should look to build long-term relationships for long-term gain. It should never just be about filling a vacancy; that would not be fair to either the candidate or the client.

Your consultant should be sure that it is the right move for the candidate because, if it isn’t, then it certainly is not the right appointment for you. You need to trust that your consultant has the best interests of both in their approach. You can normally judge this through your relationship with them – if that is sound and honest, it is likely that the same will be the case with candidates.

An excellent consultant will also be able to identify talent and potential in people to make them ideal candidates for roles that they may not have even considered. This can often provide amazing results, and is proof of a consultant thinking carefully about your brief and knowing you, the candidates, and the industry well.

It is a good sign if your consultant continues to take an interest in your company and how things are going even after the appointment is made, and also if they are happy to give you specialist and confidential advice whether or not you are in recruitment mode. However, as mentioned earlier, they should not be a hindrance.

It is vital that you don’t fill a position with the best of a bad bunch, crossing your fingers that it will work out – it usually doesn’t. By using a quality consultant, you have hired a specialist and professional service, so it is not unreasonable to expect exceptional results.

Steve Rogan is managing director of Pinnacle Consulting , specialist recruitment consultants for the building products industry.

About Guest Blogger - Steve Rogan

Guest Blogger - Steve Rogan
Steve Rogan is Managing Director of Pinnacle Consulting, recruitment specialists for the building products sector

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