- David Still
Hiring Directors and Managers: The Value of Smartly Choosing and Listening to Your IT Recruiter
Listen to your IT recruiter, especially if you feel that you have a strong relationship with them and you feel that you can trust them. If you do not, then you certainly need to search for a worthy external recruitment team that you do have a good relationship with and can trust.
This is task number one: Get an external IT recruitment partner / team that you like, believe in, and know will work well with your internal recruitment team and Human Resources personnel on many projects over time. This is the augmentation to your internal hiring team that you really need.
Please understand that it is not about the volume of external recruitment agencies that you engage in a one-off transactional manner for case-by-case projects. What’s important is the quality of the relationship with a strong IT recruitment partner that you can trust that matters the most.
IT Recruiting: Less is More – Quality, Not Quantity
We see many enterprise companies make the mistake of believing that treating external agencies like commodities and inviting many to work on the same opening is a good idea for contingency - based searches.
They mistakenly believe this is smart thinking because it will increase their chances of finding someone because more people are searching. And once they hire a candidate, they only need to pay the one commission so “nothing to lose” from their perspective is the general thinking.
Like many things in life, this appears to make sense, but it is shortsighted and flawed. It fails to appreciate 2nd and 3rd order consequences that result in inefficiencies in the recruitment process and resentments with partners that are not always given the proper respect they deserve. Remember, these folks are doing real work for you in advance of any pay or guarantee of any pay for that matter if the work is contingency-based.
And if you have too many agencies involved in a search, it will be difficult for your internal team to manage all the outside agency contacts and their recommended candidates. This will certainly translate to inefficiencies in the candidate review process, which will impact all parties negatively.
Moreover, it will also result in a dilution of the needed focus on specific phases of the project and/or certain candidates not given proper consideration within the review process. This can be the result of too many players in the game and/or too many balls in the air, especially with all other plates spinning within the corporate maelstrom of 2022.
Good IT Recruiting Agencies and Prioritizing the War, Not the Battle
You will know you have a strong IT recruitment agency to partner with when they demonstrate their desire to look out for you and your team for the long term.
This perspective is important because truly valuing the long-term relationship with you over the sugar-high of a short-term commission check means that they are always taking the long view, which is what you want them doing. (It’s not just about the current open role; it's about the ongoing management of the proper acquisition and retention of excellent employee talent over the long term.)
Respect: Time and People
Taking the long view means not wasting anyone’s time, yours or theirs. A good IT recruitment partner will work hard to do this because they understand how scarce everyone’s time is these days and how over-worked most are. They respect time, theirs and yours.
This means they won’t recommend an interview with a candidate just to say they provided so many candidates as per an agreement etc. This is the “busy work” or activities that some firms will generate in order to “prove” their worth to their client.
A good IT recruiting partner will only recommend candidates for interviews that they believe have a real chance of being hired and, consequently, these candidates will also provide clear calibration data relating to the ideal hire, even if not provided a job offer themselves.
A fully vested IT recruiter will also request to sit in on the interviews of candidates they submitted because they are properly invested in the process; they genuinely want to understand as much as possible in real time during the hiring process to keep the process as efficient as possible for all involved.
If something is working, we will want to know immediately. And if something is “off,” we will want to know this immediately as well so that adjustments can be made quickly.
It’s human nature to avoid tough decisions but dragging out a hiring process is in no one’s best interest.
IT Recruiting: Corporate Hiring Authorities Listen Carefully
If your boutique agency recruiter provides a glowing recommendation of a candidate, they are doing so because they saw things in the candidate that gave them good reason to believe that they genuinely align to the role that the hiring director or manager is seeking to fill.
This could either be on the more junior or senior side of the spectrum for a potential candidate. They may not have a “perfect” resume or LinkedIn profile but there were genuine things uncovered in the recruiter interview that made them take notice positively. Listen to them carefully without jumping to conclusions by erroneously focusing too much on a certain piece of a resume or LinkedIn profile.
Either way, there is value here because we often see that internal enterprise hiring authorities (e.g., VPs, Directors, Managers) do not always know exactly what can help them best, even though they most always think that they do. (Remember, it’s not what you know that is causing you problems. It’s what you “know,” that you don’t actually know that is causing you problems.)
Human perception and human nature are very slippery and flawed things, but a strong hiring process and trusted external agency partner can help.
IT Recruiting – Boutique Agency Focus on Value
For boutique IT recruitment firms such as ProSelect, we do not have time to spend on activities that do not promise to deliver genuine value. For example, we will therefore not recommend interviews unless we believe they could lead to an offer for said candidate.
Often, these recommendations are made after searching through hundreds of candidates and dozens of phone conversations, all of which consumed hours of time. So, if you are provided strong recommendations from your trusted agency-recruiter, please consider that that for every ½ hour they asked you to devote to an initial ZOOM interview, they most likely spent at least 10 hours of work to get to that point.
This is not always the case in larger firm settings, where you will see more “churn and burn” culture and – by extension – poor recruiting behaviors like pushing forward borderline candidates simply to meet arbitrary internal management metrics.
It's understandable that you might pass on some candidates, even those recommended by your agency-side recruiter. However, please be thoughtful in making this decision given the time that the recruiter spent on your behalf.
IT Recruitment and Feedback
As the old saying goes, Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” At a minimum, please be prepared to at least provide clear feedback on why you felt a candidate was not a fit for the role, so the recruiter can learn something from the experience.
It’s important that your trusted recruiting partner learn something from every iteration in the hiring screening process. Remember, they do not have time to waste and neither do you.
Takeaway: We recommend forming long-term sustainable relationships with partners that are based on mutual respect, trust, and reciprocal value.
It’s easy to think and write about, but much rarer to observe in the “real world.” When you find such a partner, appreciate them and cultivate that relationship over the long term.
To learn more about our IT Search firm, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.