“We have our own internal hiring practices” – The outside looking in.
“We don’t use Agencies. Super-Duper Industrial Automation dot com’s HR has its own team at head office”.
Of course you do…
And what is the point of your HR department if not to provide you and your company with brilliant, passionate and engaged employees? I mean, what the heck do you pay them for anyhow? After all, they’re only building, applying and monitoring your company policies towards its people while handling your human capital and ensuring that you have effective employees that add to your bottom line while dealing with recruitment/retention/exit interviews/labour laws/compliance/performance reviews/professional development/mediation/benefits/safety/welfare/health/change management and finding a backup for Louise in Manufacturing while she’s on Maternity Leave. Nothing more than that, really.
So what does that have to do with the agency sitting across from you asking you questions about your business’ plan for the future, culture, vacancies, etc….? Everything.
We’ve all heard the term “Jack of all trades, master of none”. A fun little quip that essentially says what we all know. Even the best can’t be the best at everything. This is where the agency comes in. Agency Recruiters often specialize in specific fields, be it Engineering, Operations, Sales, Management or in specific industries like Medical, Manufacturing, Financial, etc. These agencies and their recruiters have pre-existing networks of candidates and are more often than not, in tune with their specific industries and trends. Other agencies may be more general, specializing in geography over specific roles. You may see these firms operating outside of major centers where qualified workers are at a premium…I happen to fall into that category, so I will speak to it.
So what do we know that your Corporate Recruiter in Toronto or Vancouver doesn’t? Beyond anything else...we know the intangibles.
We know the people. We know the culture. We know the trends and hear the rumors of upcoming advances or opportunities during soccer practices with our kids, or at a family dinner. Heck, we know the weather, and let me tell you, NEVER underestimate the value of a recruiter who can tell you what 4 feet of snow in a 12 hour period actually looks like when you're relocating your new employee from Victoria! A recruiter who can tap into the pulse of the communities he or she services can tell you a lot about those intangible things and they can greatly affect your potential new employee or employee’s family. The long and short of it, we're immersed in it.
A perfect example is something we had come across while browsing local job boards. The ad read as expected, “Amazing opportunity! Growth potential! Above average compensation!” the same cookie cutter job description you’ll see for everything from CEO’s to Pizza Boys. I won’t name the company and it doesn’t really matter because where it caught my attention was a simple sentence which read, “Located minutes from Prince George, British Columbia” (where I happen to live). It went on describe the community, the amenities, our local sports teams, etc. And to be fair, this town is in fact, only “minutes from Prince George”…150 of them. 150 of the meanest, darkest, iciest, Moose-Infested minutes in the entire country. For the mathematicians in our readership, that’d be 300 minutes daily or 370kms…weather permitting.
So all kidding aside, what can we learn from this? Well, first and foremost, recruiters are generally laser focused on their respective industries or geographies, which means they can be an excellent value-add for a beleaguered HR team. Think; better people, quicker. Second, and I’d argue just as important, recruiting at a distance is difficult and can be ineffective. Now, this isn’t to say it can’t be done, because it can. But to do it well requires a Recruiter who really knows his or her stuff. Hopefully you have one of those. But if you don’t, you have us. And we’re happy to help.
Geoff Simpson heads up Northern Recruitment for Excel Personnel Inc. and is based in Prince George, BC.