Attention Agency Recruiters: What the Corporate World Needs You to Know

In the classic work of non-fiction “A Walk in the Woods,” the author, Bill Bryson, decides to hike the Appalachian Trail – all 3,500 km of it (no we’re not kidding – the whole thing).  He takes his friend, Stephen Katz, with him. Their obvious lack of physical and emotional preparation leads to hilarity on a variety of fronts. They carry too much weight (essentially everything but the proverbial kitchen sink), disagree on virtually everything and never do finish the trail.

Tips from Corporate Clients
What can agency recruiters learn from this?

When a recruiter enters into a partnership with a corporate client, incorrect assumptions and a lack of preparation can torpedo the best of intentions, with both parties unable to achieve their common goal – a successful placement.  There are a number of things that agency recruiters can do to increase their odds of scoring a win/win outcome.  We engaged Maureen Carroll, Manager of Talent Attraction at D+H (and a former agency recruiter) in a broad discussion and came away with some awesome insights. Here’s what the corporate world needs you to know.

Understand the Business
Bill Bryson didn’t really understand what he was getting into – both the obvious and less obvious challenges of hiking the Appalachian Trail.  If there is one key message the corporate world wants to be clear about it’s this – know the business. Maureen Carroll says, “Much of my frustration comes from agencies not understanding the parameters of how our company works. We know that we can’t move quickly some times and other times we can. There are little things that the agency misses.”  You’ll have greater credibility as a recruiter if you show a genuine understanding of how the organization functions. Ask questions, gather information, and come as prepared as possible to the table.

They Want to Learn From You (and to Teach You)
Bill Bryson was offered some timely advice early on in the hike.  He dismissed it.  And while it resulted in a comedic moment for the reader, the actual experience was highly unpleasant for the author. Remember, your expertise is valuable, but so is theirs.  The corporate world wants a business partner who can challenge assumptions and help them hire better. As Carroll says, “I realistically need information about things that we don’t know about such as a new, functional area that my team hasn’t worked with before. In this case, the agency would help us understand what kind of talent the market could offer. A lot of the time there are the small things that we don’t know about that could slow us down or set us back.” Don’t be afraid to gently, but firmly correct mistaken assumptions and to ask questions when you’re clarifying what a client needs. Your information could help them hire right the first time, or even be used to coach internal stakeholders.

You Have Training That is Valuable
Consider the fact that you’ve likely received training your clients have not – how to decline a counter offer, how to assess the commitment of a candidate, how to land top talent – that make an agency recruiter particularly valuable to the process.  After all, the client doesn’t want to lose their candidate of choice in the 11th hour, so make sure to help them not only identify great talent, but secure it as well.

The Relationship Matters
Recruitment agencies need to build and maintain relationships by not overpromising and under delivering. They also, according to Maureen Carroll, need to “demonstrate a sense of urgency and responsiveness.” Corporate clients prefer to work with agency recruiters Carroll says, who are “really tenacious and will work hard to win.” The relationship matters and to foster it, a recruiter needs to be a true business partner, willing to teach, but also to be taught.

Soft Skills Matter
Yes, technical expertise is important, particularly in a contract role where a candidate must ramp up quickly and start delivering value. But of equal importance, particularly in permanent positions, are candidates who show self-awareness, a desire to learn and who can communicate effectively with their non-financial peers. As Carroll states, “I care about expertise, but I also care if a candidate is thoughtful in their approach and aware.”

When it comes to dealing with corporate clients, there are a number of things agency recruiters need to know.  Corporate clients are looking for a business partner who can offer them expertise and knowledge. They want someone who is willing to ask the right questions to learn about their organization.  And when it comes to candidates, agency recruiters need to understand that while technical proficiency matters, so do some of the key soft skills that will help the individual be a cultural fit.  The end result should be a successful placement and a win/win outcome (of course, if you decide to hike the 3,500 km Appalachian Trail you’re on your own. We’re only a financial recruitment company after all).

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.