Finding the perfect hire for your procurement team is an enormous challenge, which is why so many organisations depend on recruiters to scout out and bring in top talent. In theory, working with a recruitment agency should save a significant amount of time and stress, as well as resulting in the hire of the best-possible candidate for any given role. But for that to be the case, you need to select a recruiter that can best meet your organisation’s needs. Here are some key considerations to make before committing to a partnership with a recruitment agency.
1. Can the recruiter work to a deadline?
Recruitment takes time, and it’s important not to rush the process by hiring the first suitable candidate who walks through the door. But the longer the process, the greater the cost to your organisation. To achieve a happy balance, you’ll need to find a recruiter who can work efficiently and effectively, and keep to your deadlines. Assess each recruiter in your shortlist by enquiring about their recruitment processes and track record. They should be able to reassure you that they have the expertise, database, and connections to find the right candidate for you within your designated timeframe.
2. Does the recruiter understand procurement?
The criticality of this factor depends entirely on the role. For an entry-level procurement job, for example, there is probably no harm in choosing a generalist (and more cost-effective) recruitment agency, or even using your organisation’s internal recruitment or HR team. However, for more senior, complex, or niche positions, your organisation will likely benefit from investing in a specialised recruiter. If you’re going to hire someone into a position of responsibility with a generous compensation package, you want to be sure that the person doing the hiring understands the ins and out of procurement, including everything from procurement lingo to how the profession is evolving.
3. Does the recruiter pass your background checks?
Leading agencies use recruitment metrics to analyse and continually improve their processes. This could include the average time it takes to fill a position, the interview-to-offer ratio, and the attrition rate. For the sake of total transparency, this data is something a recruiter should be willing to share with your organisation. These stats are a useful indicator of whether a recruiter is thoroughly vetting candidates and capable of meeting your requirements.
4. Does the recruiter have a good network?
A key benefit of working with a specialised recruiter is their access to an exclusive network, including passive candidates who might currently be employed by your competitors. Talk to your prospective recruiter to understand how they plan to leverage their network, and what connections they have. A recruiter that doesn’t have a significantly wider reach than your organisation might not be worth the investment.
5. Can you work effectively with the recruiter?
Your search for a suitable recruiter should be much like the hunt for a suitable supplier. Nurturing long-term and meaningful procurement-supplier relationships drives innovation, productivity, and efficiency – and the same goes for recruitment. A good recruiter works collaboratively, checks in regularly, and quickly responds to your feedback and requests. Be sure to ask a prospective recruiter about their working style and take the time to get to know them to establish whether you can work productively together and that your values align.
6. Does the recruiter have a good vetting process?
It’s important to find a recruitment agency with a comprehensive candidate vetting process and not an agency that deflects all decision-making to you. The last thing you need after you’ve decided to outsource the recruitment process is to receive dozens of candidate profiles in your inbox every day. Ask prospective recruiters to outline their vetting process, including how they filter for suitable candidates, who will conduct interviews, how many rounds of interview will there be, etc.
7. Can they sell your brand?
To attract top talent, it’s equally important for the recruiter to sell your organisation to the candidate as it is for the candidate to sell themselves to the recruiter. Make sure you find a recruitment agency who can talk the talk and understands exactly what your organisation does, what the job entails, and why this is a great opportunity for a candidate.
8. Does the recruiter offer a replacement guarantee?
When a new hire is underperforming or leaves the organisation within the first year, many recruitment agencies will recruit a new candidate free of charge. Clarify the terms of a recruiter’s replacement guarantee before agreeing to partner with them.