Like anything you do for the first time, direct hiring can be a scary prospect.
That’s why so many organisations use recruitment agencies to source candidates for them. Why take on the administrative burden when there are experts out there who can do a better job?
Thing is, recruitment agencies cost money. Money you might not have. And, it has to be said, quality of service is not always guaranteed. Plus, going direct means you’re in control of every stage of the process – from advert to shortlisting to interview to hire.
But to do it right, you need to get all your ducks in a row. Being prepared in advance is how to ensure your first direct hiring experience is a success.
So if you’re ready to go it alone, think you could do it better or simply want to save yourself a fortune – here are six things you need to consider:
1. Is the role suitable for direct hiring?
When it comes to direct hiring, some roles are easier to recruit to than others.
Generalist, non-technical roles where there is likely to be a large candidate pool actively job-hunting are roles that are suitable for direct hiring. This is because candidates are easy to target and relatively straightforward to attract.
In contrast, candidates for roles that require specialist or technical skills, more experience or seniority are less likely to be actively searching for a new job. That means they’re more difficult to track down. This may not be something you feel you can tackle and is where agencies really come into their own, scouring the internet and making direct approaches to suitable candidates.
2. Can you handle the additional workload?
Clearly one of the main benefits of using an agency is that they handle all the administration involved in advertising and sifting candidates for you.
Do you have the capacity in-house to do it yourself?
Think about the manpower required and make sure to build time into the process to do the tasks you’ll have to do like checking through CVs and shortlisting interview candidates.
One tip to make things more efficient is to set up a separate email address for the recruitment campaign. That way one person’s inbox won’t be bombarded with applications that will get mixed up with all their other correspondence. Instead the workload can be shared across the whole team.
3. How you’re going to sift candidates?
Consider how you’re going to sort the good candidates from the not-so-good. And in a way that makes the process as quick and simple as possible – both for you and the candidates. There’s much more on this here.
Consider too what you’ll do if you receive lots of applications – what systems do you need in place to cope with sifting a high volume of CVs?
4. Where are you going to advertise the job?
Job advertising in newspapers is pretty much a thing of the past – although some senior public sector roles still appear in the Times.
Most jobs these days are advertised on online job boards – like Monster, Totaljobs, Indeed, Reed and many more. They make it simple for candidates to find suitable positions via job searches based on job titles or keywords, with listings being sent straight to the user’s email.
There are also specialist job boards for specific sectors, for instance, IT or engineering.
Think about where potential candidates are likely to be looking for jobs like the one you have on offer. Do a job search of your own using the job title to see what other positions appear.
Think too about the location of the job. You can limit who sees your advert based on their location – a good way to avoid having people from London applying to your Manchester job!
You can post your advert onto these job boards yourself or use the services of an intermediary, known as job posting or job aggregator organisations. They will post your advert onto four or five sites at a fraction of the cost of posting on each individually. But that’s all they’ll do.
Alternatively, a recruitment advertising agency will provide a more comprehensive service, assisting you with the content of the advert and proving data on response rates during the campaign. This will obviously cost you more.
5. What are you going to say about the role in your advert?
Your job advert needs to perform two key functions. Attract people to the role and the organisation and provide enough information for them to determine whether it’s something they could do.
Think about the job title – is it one a potential candidate would recognise e.g. account manager or is it something more esoteric? If people aren’t likely to search for that job title, consider adapting it to something more familiar.
Think about the terms potential candidates might use to search for jobs – key skills, areas of interest, location and be sure to incorporate the relevant ones in your advert.
Be clear about what you’re looking for in the candidate. Think about the must-haves – if there are absolute requirements for the role, express that in your advert.
Also consider whether you have the skills in-house to compose the advert or will you need help?
Think too about how you want candidates to apply – CV, application form, covering letter etc – and tell them in the advert.
6. How will candidates find out more?
It’s a good idea to link from the advert to a page on your company website where applicants can discover more about the organisation, about the job and about what you’re looking for.
It’s a way of further engaging with candidates as well as giving them the information they need to self-select themselves in or out of the process.
Include the job description and person spec, the competency or values framework you use and let the candidates know more about the hiring process so they’re well-prepared.
It’s all about getting the right people to apply for the job. That way you’ll reduce the volume of applications while improving the quality. Making life a lot easier for you.
That’s what makes direct hiring so rewarding. The fact that you have control over the candidates that come forward. And you’re the one who helps them to engage with your organisation.
Decided to stick with your agency?
If all that seems too much like hard work and you’ve decided to stick with your agency, here are a couple more things for you to consider:
Remember that this is an unregulated industry. There’s no guarantee of good service. There’s no guarantee your agency will deliver the quality of candidates you need.
So, if you are using agencies, make sure you know what a good one looks like. Do you understand what agencies do and could you evaluate them accordingly? You may want to offload the burden of recruitment activity but do so intelligently.