HR Grapevine: - How to get optimal results from your agencies and preferred suppliers

An extract from another interesting article from the team at "HR Grapevine". Click on the link to find our more or register for their regular updates:

Many in-house teams have their recruitment services pretty sewn up, managing the entire process internally.

Others call on the use of agencies and preferred suppliers list (PSL), maybe when in-house recruitment teams are under time pressure or when looking for a niche skill-set that requires specialised knowledge.

Some have one agency or preferred supplier, some have many, depending on job function, territory and the volume of recruitment. Working with agencies and preferred suppliers should not detract from your core in-house hiring; instead it should complement it.

Checklist to ensure a better way of working

  • Define your process and stick to it. Agencies often offer added-value services such as help interviewing candidates or running psychometric and competency-based tests. Ideally, your ATS should be able to manage these services. Know why you are engaging with an agency so that you only pay for the services you need.

  • Can the agency reach passive job seekers or will they just post your vacancies on job boards? Be sure they have a network of contacts in your sector to call on and have a track record of filling those niche or hard to fill roles.

  • Review how you manage your PSL and distribution of vacancies. Are you able to easily check duplicate candidates if working with multiple suppliers? Can you set limits on candidate numbers from each vendor?

  • Can agencies submit candidates to recruitment teams and hiring managers securely and in a way that eliminates re-keying of candidate information?

  • Feedback drives candidate quality. Are you providing regular feedback to vendors on response times and the quality of candidates?

  • Performance and KPI’s. It’s important to review your preferred supplier list regularly to ensure that you are getting the best possible value from your suppliers. Use fact-based information of vendor performance and costs to ensure effective supplier management.

  • Review how you have an audit trail of vacancies and submitted candidates. A real-time dashboard that can track performance over time will provide an at a glance view of the impact of your PSL.

The 2018 Candidate Attraction Survey revealed that Agencies/PSL are used by 58% of in-house recruiters, delivering an above average quality and quantity of candidates, though usage has slipped since the previous year. The survey revealed that regular measurement of the channel wins in generating improved results. The trick is utilising the best available sourcing workflow when approaching new jobs. There is more detail on this in the free 2018 candidate attraction survey.

Read how Ecotricity defined their recruitment strategy to deliver award-winning results.

Previously agencies were used for 85% of new hires and in just 5 months this is now only 14%, with the remainder coming directly either from referrals (10% after just 6 months), job boards or via the careers site. A successful employee referral scheme launched alongside, is also driving internal motivation and engagement.