The Perils of Hiring Large Staffing Agencies

Posted in: staffing industry- Nov 06, 2014 Comments Off

By Jerome Young

In many areas of business, having the biggest firm on your side is a good thing. It means having lots of resources at work for you and plenty of expertise as well. However, this is not the case in the areas of recruiting and staffing. Why—and how can a smaller agency outperform a larger competitor in landing the right talent for your company?

Big Agency = Small Talent Pool

It might seem counter-intuitive, but the largest staffing agencies sometimes have the greatest difficulty recruiting top talent. While they may have access to a huge stack of resumes, their reach exceeds their grasp. Even if they have the perfect candidate in mind for a position, picking up the phone to make contact is often something they cannot do.

A large staffing agency with a substantial client list is hampered by conflict of interest. They are legally prohibited from contacting any employees of their current clients. In many cases they cannot contact the most qualified job candidates because those professionals are currently working for a company that is currently on the Agency’s client list. They are limited to contacting job candidates in their database who are “available for work” meaning they are not currently on a project or have a project that is ending in the very near future. Unless they get lucky with timing and find a talented professional in their database who is qualified and available for work, this means they are often sorting through the talent that other employers don’t really want and not providing you with the most qualified candidates. You deserve more.

Smaller Agency = Large Talent Pool: On the other hand, a boutique recruiting firm with a modest client list has a huge talent pool from which to select the ideal candidates for each position and will most likely initiate a targeted search to find the right candidate vs. just looking in their database. The market is wide open and candidates including “passive candidates at your primary competitors” can be contacted specifically based on the job requirements. This is optimal for finding someone who can maximize the potential of the position and bring your company the most value in a short-term freelance role or a long-term permanent position.

Pitching a Job to Top Talent Takes Finesse

“Selling” a job opportunity to top talent isn’t simple. They won’t buy hype and need to hear valid reasons to make a career move. Creative professionals in particular need to understand the value they bring to a project and why they were selected. Having the right recruiter assigned to fill an open position is critical.

Large staffing agencies often have high turnover, frequently replacing recruiters within their organization. Additionally, they often have a heavy client load, which makes it challenging to spend enough time researching and speaking with each client to truly understand the value and differentiation each company provides. Ironically, expert recruiters are as difficult to find as talented candidates. That means a client’s account isn’t always served by an experienced recruiter who has the business savvy and time to effectively present your company in a competitive candidate market.

At a small firm, every assignment impacts the organization’s reputation for excellence. They simply can’t afford to hire inexperienced recruiters. They tend to hire seasoned recruiters who understand how to identify the right prospects, contact them discretely, and clearly communicate the value of each company they represent and the position they are selling. This usually results in faster placements with more qualified talent.

The Team Approach to Staffing

Most large agencies are scrambling to continually grow their client list and fill more and more job openings. They typically only have one recruiter assigned to each position to find candidates. With a heavy client load, this means that not much individual attention can be paid to each position, and finding qualified and available candidates can take a while.

Smaller agencies understand that even the best recruiters can’t cover all the bases quickly on their own when it comes to discovering the best freelancers and full-time candidates. Our firm (www.OnTargetCreative.com) in particular assigns at least two recruiters and sourcers to each position to identify candidates. They work as a team to conduct a comprehensive search and provide our clients with the most qualified candidates fast. Recruiting is more of an art than a science and like artists, every recruiter has their own style in terms of their recruiting process. Once you go beyond the basic recruiting skills, it’s the experience and style of the recruiter that enables them to find, contact and persuasively “recruit” top talent. This is why you can assign 2 recruiters to the same position and they will usually provide you with different candidates who have the ability to excel in a position.

Before you give your next position to a large recruiting firm, speak with a smaller firm in your industry and realize the benefits mentioned above.

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Article Source: Young, J. (2014).  The perils of hiring large staffing agencies. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeromeyoung/2014/10/27/the-perils-of-hiring-large-staffing-agencies/