The “Ménage a Trois” of Recruiting

How do you feel about the hiring triangle? Many would say “two’s company, three’s a crowd.”

We can all agree that the bottom line to a company’s success depends on the caliber of its employees, right? So, the number one priority in hiring is getting the most qualified candidate in the job for all parties involved. Or is it?

Well, let’s see. There’s the process, the precedence, the principle, the budget, an existing relationship, a contract, a pricing agreement, and a dozen other factors that are often thrust into a hiring decision. Everyone involved should have the same end result in mind, but unfortunately, the more people involved in the hiring process, the more factors there are convoluting the simple concept of hiring the best person for the job.

We all hope we won’t soon need an attorney, a doctor, a pharmacist, or even a plumber, all of which are absolutely necessary professional services. Similarly, HR professionals hope they won’t need to outsource recruiting functions. Many HR professionals view staffing services and headhunters as “a necessary evil”.  Why outsource a search you can handle on your own at no additional cost? (Coming soon: The Fallacy of “No Additional Cost” Recruiting)

Outsourced recruiters are absolutely necessary and having a relationship in place with the best recruiters in your niche is essential even if you don’t think you will ever need one. Let me explain. Take insurance, for example. We all hope to not rely on life insurance, but, if we’re smart, we buy it. We make the payments month after month just in case we ever need it. It’s a harmonious business relationship. Your insurance agent wants to sell you adequate coverage for your family needs and you want to buy it to protect your family.  This is the kind of business relationship we all want. Much like everyone should have insurance, everyone involved in the hiring process should have or develop a relationship with a recruiter, someone you trust in your niche.

The challenge in recruiting, though, is that on the surface we all have different perspectives and objectives.

HR professionals generally believe that centralizing the hiring process will streamline and create efficiencies thus controlling expenditures. They believe that managing the entire process and limiting vendor relationships will increase buying power and, once again, reduce overall costs. They’re right.

Hiring managers generally place less importance on the existing process or the existing agreement thus creating more options for themselves. They believe that maintaining control and developing their own relationship with headhunters and recruiters will result in better service and increased quality. And, they’re right.

Recruiters want to make a placement. Bottom line. But, make no mistake; good recruiters only want to make solid placements that will result in future business and referrals. Recruiters believe they will perform better if they have direct access to hiring managers. They desire to go direct to the source to see body language or hear emotion, which can paint pictures that words cannot replace. Recruiters feel that, much like the telephone game, essential information is lost in translation when they’re required to work through HR or any mediator. They, too, are right.

So, how can all three be right?

All three parties may be viewing the situation from a different vantage point, but all three ultimately have the same end result in mind – hiring the right person the first time.

It is possible for all three parties in this relationship triangle to have his or her objectives met when all three keep the end goal in mind. None of the other factors aforementioned, such as a streamlined process or an existing contract, for example, should ever become a priority over hiring the best candidate.

HR professionals should absolutely take the necessary steps to streamline wherever possible. However, if Recruiter A is a preferred vendor but fails to produce the candidate you need, turn to Recruiter B. HR has a responsibility to manage costs. However, if the budget for hiring the department manager would be stretched to its limit with the recruiter’s fee, but the candidate presented is the best option, the budget should be secondary. Resistance to outsourcing is expected by HR, but refusal to outsource in the right circumstances can be an even more costly decision.

Hiring managers have the unique challenge of respecting and following the systems and processes in place while, at the same time, ensuring they have the most appropriate key players. Processes are important yet hiring the right person is critical. Similarly, when the hiring manager holds an established relationship with his or her own trusted recruiting source, one which differs from the preferred source of HR, he or she should be at liberty to tap into that resource with the intention of introducing all parties to one another. Furthermore, the hiring manager should be receptive to the resources HR has identified. Everyone involved, all the while, must ensure that hiring the best person remains the priority.

Recruiters who choose to partner with a company that has adopted a centralized system should absolutely involve HR at all stages of the recruiting process. The key word here is “involve”. Direct communication should never be removed. The vendor and the end user must work together to experience a truly successful partnership.  There are a number of communication mediums that can involve all interested parties to eliminate second hand messages or misinformation such as joint meetings, conference calls, e-mails, etc. Recruiters need feedback directly “from the horse’s mouth.” The emotion, the emphatic tone, the excitement or even the frustration can sometimes convey more meaning than the words themselves. Direct communication between the recruiter and the hiring manager is imperative but both must, when asked, keep HR involved throughout.

Though each party in this three-way relationship may approach the process of hiring from a different point of view, the trade-off for a bit of compromise and a sincere effort toward collaborative teamwork, as outlined above, is that everybody wins.

So, is three really a crowd? Can the chime of the hiring triangle ring in harmony? With synchronized objectives of hiring the highest caliber of candidates into the right roles, it’s safe to assume each member of the “ménage a trios” of recruiting are sure to have a gratifying experience.

 

hiring advice, The “Ménage a Trois” of Recruiting
Monica Fuehrer, Celebrity Staff Account Manager

About Monica Fuehrer, Account Manager

Monica has worked for Celebrity Staff since 2000 having held a number of positions in business development, recruiting, and leadership roles encompassing internal staff development and training. Currently, Monica is a trailblazer in the attorney placement niche. In 2008, Monica was recognized by the Midlands Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 Business Leader in Omaha. She is the Co-Chair for the Media Relations Committee with the Human Resource Association of the Midlands and is also the Chairperson of the Board for Outlook Nebraska, Inc., a nonprofit with a mission to employ the blind and visually impaired. Off the clock Monica enjoys cooking, reading, music, and creating fun with her husband and two children.

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