About 18 months ago, after ten years recruiting agency-side in the UK and Australia I decided it was time for a new challenge and I wanted to see if the grass was in fact greener on the client-side.
One non-negotiable criteria I set for this move was the type of company I would work for. I had to believe in them and they must be exciting and by this I mean in culture and growth mindset, both of which ansarada had in abundance. If I have to talk to candidates about the same company day in day out I had to believe in what I was talking about and I must be passionate about the company if I was to do it justice.
Top 2 differences between recruiting in an agency and client side:
1. Make a bad hire, and you’re reminded of it every day!
It’s additional motivation to do a great job.
On the upside, you get to see all the great hires you make everyday and experience the positive impacts they have on the business.
2. Recruitment isn’t the business’s number 1 priority
For 10 years of my career prior to leaving agency, all that mattered was recruiting and anything associated with it. Walking into a fintech company, Design, Development, Marketing, Ops etc are all vying for attention, and all are critical to the success of the business. You realise quickly that no one drops everything they are doing for hiring.
Keys to Success
Number one is absolutely building trust with leaders and hiring managers. I hate the term business stakeholder as it’s so formal and in my mind creates the image of business transactions. You have to be personable as well as professional to build trust.
Most, if not all, hiring managers will have had a bad experience with a recruiter and therefore when you first engage you are already on the back foot and have something to prove.
Talent Acquisition should act as trusted advisor to the business, not just there to fill job req’s. Called on early in the process we can advise on potential solutions to talent resourcing challenges. These can range across FTE, contractor, intern, consultancy or even crowdsourcing. Talent Acquisition doesn’t stop at sourcing either. Interview training is essential. Also budgeting, events, employer value proposition (EVP) and candidate experience to name a few, all are dependent upon the team around you.
In order to transition from agency recruiter to Talent Acquisition you need to adapt, it requires a different skill set and I have had to learn many new skills over the past year.
What about the $$$commission$$$???
I have to admit that after 10 years of chasing commission, which invariably decided my holiday destinations, attire and lifestyle, I had to shift my mindset. I’m pleased to say, it wasn’t as hard as I’d first thought. Stable income isn’t as exciting, but it’s secure and isn’t nearly as stressful as sweating over a candidates wobbling at the 3 month probation period or pulling out of job offers. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to handle situations like this but your emotions/thoughts change from worrying about being paid commission, to “what could we have done differently to avoid losing that top talent?”.
My motivations have changed and the satisfaction comes from seeing people and teams excel and achieve, taking talented individuals and putting them in an environment where they can reach their potential, and watching the business grow with each new hire we make.
Let me stop you there! We have a panel, and you aren’t on it!
Funny now the shoe on the other foot, I at least like to think I handle those calls better than some clients I used to speak to. I appreciate that recruiters have a living to make and KPIs to hit but my advice is: do your homework. Calling me about the latest, greatest Java Developer who would love to join the Ansarada team and wants to work with us and that you have them exclusive is all just super……except for the fact we don’t use Java!!! So unless this latest greatest Java developer wants to switch (not impossible there are many similarities between the languages) please don’t be offended if I keep it short and sweet.
So with all this new technology, platforms, data analytics, predictive analytics does that mean companies can just rely on internal recruitment teams, and that agency recruiters are heading the way of the Cobol Developer or the Infrastructure Engineer in love with their physical servers? No!
The best talent in the market rarely make appearances on job boards these days, these people need to be engaged and courted before being thrown a job spec.
Recruiters need to be networking at industry events, hosting events, channelling relevant, compelling content to their target audience, the role of a recruiter has evolved from the old-school cold calling phone basher. Generalist recruiters have their place but recruiters need to gain credibility when talking to candidates, so spreading yourself too thin and throwing buzz words at candidates won’t get you far and won’t get you on our panel!
Great recruiters are worth their weight in gold. There is and will always be a war for talent, however the specialisms will change over time as tech trends come and go. It wasn’t long ago every Project Manager on LinkedIn added the word Agile to their title or profile, DevOps is a more recent example but a good recruiter needs to be able to dig deeper and really understand what a persons’ skill set is and what they offer regardless of job title or what is thrown up in any keyword search in a database.
Disclaimer: This is my personal experience and I work for a Best Places to Work tech company run by founders who strongly believe in looking after their employees and investing in them both personally and professionally. My advice to recruiters considering making the jump is to choose wisely!