Know how to get value from your recruitment budget

According to research, 76% of business owners and HR professionals don’t feel recruitment agencies provide value for money. But there are a number of approaches you can take to ensure you’re in the other 24%.

Consider your recruitment and retention challenges. Calculate your average cost and time per hire, and consider how you can work intelligently with your recruitment partner to beat this figure. In a market where competition for talent is on the increase once again, acknowledge that the best candidates have lots of choice. Recruiters with access to these candidates will not be giving them away to the lowest bidder, so it’s important to build relationships with innovative, motivated recruitment partners, who have a good understanding of your brand, culture and ongoing resource requirement.

Expert’s view: Jimmy Lloyd, partner, Redrock Consulting

What are the biggest challenges?

HR departments are under pressure on all fronts when it comes to controlling recruitment and retention in this market, believes Redrock managing director Dean Harte.

But the key issues and metrics they should focus on include: recruiting the right people prudently in an increasingly competitive market while managing the average cost per hire sensibly; controlling spending while safeguarding quality; managing strategic talent retention and workforce planning initiatives; and building a positive brand as an employer to facilitate direct hires and lower recruitment costs.

Getting all these things right means implementing long-term strategies for each, and also forming long-term relationships with the right third-party providers. Partners should contribute to one or more of these aspects of cost and quality control, with their input measured against pre-agreed targets.

What should you avoid doing?

It’s easy to underestimate the need to retain talent. Negative attrition is extremely costly, although the exact cost is often hidden, and therefore ignored.

Don’t be simplistic in engaging a recruitment partner – find one which understands your needs and drivers and will work with you to help you meet your goals. Be prepared to invest in your partner – creating a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship will really pay off.

Avoid expenditure on high cost, low return channels such as print advertising.

What are your three top tips?

• Calculate your average cost and time per hire and implement a strategy to beat it.

• Partner with motivated, intelligent recruiters willing to align their fees and service to your objectives.

• Consult with your staff to reduce attrition while building a positive employer brand.

At the beginning of each recruitment process, invite your recruitment consultant to visit you, so that you can make your requirements for each position clear, and ensure you get a service and a pricing structure tailored to your needs.

If you’re interested in seeing ‘non-active jobseekers’ – candidates who are not actively searching web boards and job pages, but would be interested in good opportunities for which they are well qualified – make sure your recruitment partner employs a team specifically focused on attracting and maintaining contact with this group. Often, and especially in a marketplace where job opportunities outnumber good candidates, this is where the very best talent is to be found, and a good recruitment partner will be able to identify and interest the best qualified people for the opportunity your company has to offer, whether or not they’re on the hunt for a new job.

Ask your recruitment partner to conduct initial filtering interviews, so that each candidate you see is well qualified and comes to you with an independent analysis of their skills and strengths. And find out whether your recruitment partner can offer you access to analytical tools to help you assess each candidate’s suitability. These could range from psychometric and behavioural profiling to industry-respected technical competency testing.

A good recruiter can also offer a range of services to support you after the placement is made, giving guidance on staff retention issues and ongoing process improvement. A good track record on talent retention will have a significant effect on overall costs.

If you only do 5 things

1. Choose your recruiter carefully

2. Know what you’re looking for

3. Brief your recruiter thoroughly

4. Work out your budget at the start

5. Consider using analytical tools

Dean Harte, managing director, Redrock Consulting

Further information

  • Successful interviewing and recruitment, Rob Yeung, Kogan Page, £8.99, ISBN: 0749451645
  • How to handle your recruitment consultant, Herbie Henderson, Short Stack Publishing, £9.99, ISBN: 1906467056
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