HR and Recruitment Agencies – BFF or Frenemies

May 14th, 2021 | Industry News

This subject has been aired on a couple of industry blogs recently, so we thought we’d lay out the pros and cons we’ve seen as recruitment software experts.

Working together is valuable because:

HR departments often don’t have the wider expertise they need. For example, recruiting software can parse translatable skills in a way that individuals often cannot. In addition, recruitment agencies often have deeper links into the wider business sector than HR departments do, which can be valuable in talent acquisition.

Analytics are essential. There’s often a combination of data that delivers the right result. An HR department has information about its own needs, strategies and internal systems while an agency uses recruitment CRM software to mine data on potential candidates and industry developments that can help define a position or benefits in a way that make it attractive to the best candidates.

Candidate pools combine well. While an HR department may bring internal candidates and those it knows through business associations, a recruitment consultancy will explore recruitment database software to discover potential candidates that would otherwise never emerge. A wider candidate pool gives better comparison of skills, a more diverse candidate base and greater opportunities to contrast home-grown talent with bringing outside expertise to the company.

Strategic approaches emerge creatively. Collaborative working allows an HR department to learn from a recruitment agency about compelling broad-based recruitment game plans, conversely, recruitment agencies can benefit from seeing how HR departments are able to demonstrate how internal recruitment and talent-development strategies deliver organisational growth. Together they can create multi-faceted approaches likely to find the best candidates and create the best match for long term satisfaction on both sides.

Working together can be tricky when:

Either or both organisations have territorial issues. ‘Boundary disputes’ are often the result of a failure to adequately map out the roles of each party to the recruitment activity. This leads to people either feeling their personal responsibilities have been ‘stolen’ by somebody else or – equally common – that the other party is failing to fulfil their side of the deal. A strong contract and regular check-ins to ensure that there’s no ‘mission drift’ can help avoid this problem.

There’s no clear commitment to recruit. This sometimes happens when an organisation has a goal, but not a plan. In other words, a company knows it needs to grow, but isn’t entirely sure how, or it has a problem to solve, but internal resources don’t seem to be adequate to the task. Sadly, even the best recruitment CRM can’t produce the right candidate if there’s something fuzzy in the works. The only way to solve this problem is to go back to the drawing board and start again with more clarity.


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