PSM Personnel Team

Exclusive v/s Mass Recruitment Agency Usage

The background

What I am about to tell you is no secret among external agency recruiters. The topic is just not spoken about enough!

A Case in Point! Sound familiar?

In a recent conversation with my client, she confirmed that they use 5 agencies per job order. She mentioned that they prefer to engage multiple agencies at one time in order to increase their chances of receiving more available candidates. This is contrary to our belief as one/two quality recruiters on a specific brief is in the clients’ far best interests

For this particular vacancy they received 25 CVs (from all the agencies and internal referrals) and interviewed 9 candidates. I indicated that 2 agencies would have submitted the same 9 candidates they interviewed, confirming that her short list contained the names of whom we elected not to submit since they had also been contacted by many other agencies.

False beliefs v/s reality check

Myth 1: You receive more CVs and a better spread of available candidates when you use multiple agencies

Truth 1: Briefing 2 agencies will give you the same outcome, in addition to the total commitment from your true partners. Active work seekers don’t restrict themselves to a single agency. They reach out to many; therefore most agencies have the same registered candidates, in addition to employing similar sourcing strategies through which to access passive candidates.

Myth 2: A client may think they get more effort from a recruiter when the role is in competition, i.e. that every agency will frantically work on all vacancies, being fully committed in time and effort even after realising that “everyone” is working on it.

Truth 2: BUT what really happens is a short burst of activity before the Recruiter begins to prioritise and commit to putting their energy into clients who consider and partner with them as true advisors.

Agencies will provide closer attention to speed and provide their best quality service on exclusive ones or those offered to a limited number of possibly 2 agencies. The Recruiter has time to do thorough work on these assigned roles and stands a good chance of making a placement. The ROI is as good for recruitment agencies as it is for other companies.

Multi-listing of vacancies across multiple agencies, and recruiters accepting briefs on a contingent and in-competition basis creates a flaw between clients and recruiters. It drives poor service and lack of satisfaction for all parties and damages company, and professional brands.

What are the implications of using numerous agencies for all your vacancies?

  • Employer Branding – Recruiters play a big role in promoting the client’s brand and image. Clients run the risk of their brand and their role/s becoming devalued in the eyes of the candidates, if represented by multiple Recruiters. The focus to get to the next candidate before your competitor tends to take away quality time spent in marketing/selling your brand to the candidates.

  • Administrative Nightmare – Managing multiple agencies becomes a full-time job in itself. It is a waste of your time, energy and resources as you have to manage multiple briefings, ongoing conversations, and agency partnerships.
  • Candidate Experience – Once again with the client having to provide feedback to 5 agencies on 25 submitted CV’s, this becomes time-consuming. No/delayed feedback compromises the candidate’s experience. This in turn fragments the reputation of the company as a reputable employer and results in the candidate becoming disinterested when another vacancy arises. This bad experience is relayed to the candidates’ family and friends who can disregard the brand for future job openings.
  • Speed versus Quality – Competition is good, but speed to make the first referral can diminish the quality of delivery over and above just doing a quick database search i.e. networks, communities, and social media.
  • Client confidentiality – in cases where the client prefers to remain anonymous, the risk of being exposed, together with duplicate candidate submissions is greater when utilising multiple agencies.
  • Added Value – market insights/intelligence/talent competitor information and more is not possible when the focus is on speed to make “a transactional placement”
  • Short-cuts, undercharging with speed over price/fee discounts and poor service

In conclusion

There are more benefits to giving agencies exclusive right to work on your vacancies than to give to the masses.

Providing an “exclusive window of opportunity” can allow you to bring all your resources to ensure the best quality outcome. Alternatively, the best partnership between companies and recruitment agencies is the one where a maximum of two agencies are engaged per assignment.

A rotation system is proposed to give all agencies on the PSL an opportunity to continue doing business with the company with a 50% chance of making a placement on fewer specs as compared to 20% chance on numerous specs.

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