Navigating Your Way to the Promised Land: Selecting the Right Recruiting Partner

Recruiting continues to evolve on many different levels. What was once a relatively simple solution has become more complex of late. Vendor selection used to comprise of a few basic choices: temp staffing, contingency, or retained search. While there may be a few other variations to consider, these were the basic offerings for many years.

Today, clients have other service offerings to consider. With the advent of the outsourced model (RPO) and the proliferation of the Internet, companies have many other options laid out before them, some of which may hold the key to a successful partnership with the chosen vendor. This plethora of choices may include company branding, job boards, social media, Applicant Tracking Systems, assessment tools, reporting and metrics, and online career sites, to name a few.

With so many options, how does a client choose a potential partner?

And what about size? Does this play as important a role as it may have in the past? Can small to mid-size recruiting companies still deliver similar results despite their meager size?

Let’s face it: the days are gone when, if an agency didn’t have a local office where the client was based (with the exception of perhaps temp staffing), it was near impossible to find the best candidates. Every month, as I read various publications, it never ceases to amaze me how recruiting vendors clamor for recognition. Does a presence on an industry list guarantee the recruiting company’s performance? You decide.

So how does a company choose the right solution? By basing it on things more tangible than size and brand recognition. While it’s true there are some cases where size could matter, clearly defining what’s important to your organization should remain paramount to the selection process. Assuming all companies under consideration (regardless of size) can offer similar solutions to your recruitment needs, what does a smaller firm offer that differentiates it from the pack?

1. Value: Quite often smaller companies do more for less. With lower overhead, they can afford to bundle in services that may be an upcharge from larger providers.

2. Flexibility: Bureaucracy and politics are by-products in most large organizations—not so in smaller firms, where they are more likely to do whatever it takes to be successful and satisfy the client.

3. Sense of urgency: On the balance sheet of a large firm, you may show up as a fraction of their business, as opposed to a significant client who deserves the utmost attention.

4. Quality: Smaller firms tend to take care of their people by treating them as individuals rather than just a number. Longevity brings loyalty, which evolves into company culture, and in turn benefits the client. Having people who care about what they do shines through in their performance and attention to detail.

Remember that when the presentations are over, and the entourage of neatly dressed sales executives vacates the building to move onto their next prey, what you’re left with is the part that should have mattered the most: delivery and execution.