For rookie recruiters, winning your first client is a justifiable cause for celebration but before you head to your database to start your candidate search, hold on for a moment. What are your client’s expectations and how do you intend to manage them? Here’s our advice:-
Agree terms : Permanent placements rose again in September according to REC, while hourly pay rates for temp and contract staff rose at their fastest rate for three months. Recruiters are fighting for the best available talent. Negotiate your payment terms and agree your fee before sourcing candidates. If your fee is based on a percentage of the first year salary, clarify the anticipated final amount with your client to avoid 'surprise' at the time of invoice. 20% of a £30,000 basic salary equates to a £6,000 fee. Some recruiters are reluctant to discuss terms but the situation will become much more difficult further down the line if you don’t.
Explain your candidate sources : Some employers expect a contingency based recruiter to provide a search firm standard shortlist. Others are happy with names and a summary of the candidate’s career history or LinkedIn profile. Retained recruiters will qualify every candidate and assess their level of interest in the job as part of their search. Much will depend on the type of recruitment your agency specialises in but make it clear from the beginning exactly what you mean by ‘candidate sourcing’.
Schedule interviews : If this is a contingency search which requires you to respond quickly, set dates for both first and second interviews in the hiring manager’s diary when agreeing terms. Skilled jobseekers are in short supply; you need to be able to hold their interest when you find them.
Who will make the offer? As the recruiter responsible for this placement, our recommendation is that you handle the offer negotiation with the preferred candidate. Allowing clients to negotiate directly with candidates is hazardous. Explain that as a third party you can deal with any issues which may arise in the process, manage expectations on both sides and increase the chances of their offer being accepted. In a competitive jobs market, you must also cover the counter offer in your discussions with your candidate.
Recruiting timetable : Set out and agree a timetable with your client to include the following:-
- Shortlist target date.
- Interview schedule.
- How often you will provide updates, ie, daily or weekly
- How you will communicate updates, ie, voicemail or e-mail.
- Target start date for the new hire.
Some employers will be satisfied with you contacting them when your shortlist is finalised. Others may wish to interview potential employees as you identify and source them depending on the urgency of the hire. Hiring managers working with a recruiter for the first time may need more frequent updates for reassurance.
Under promise and over deliver : Don’t promise your client a shortlist of five qualified candidates by the end of the week when you know it’s an impossibility. Be cautious. Build contingencies into your schedule, anticipate problems and advise the hiring manager of any setbacks or delays. Managing and meeting expectations will ensure your placement progresses smoothly.
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