Earlier this month, I had a conversation with a friend— a CHRO of a $1.5B company who has excelled for more than 25 years in critical roles with prestigious companies. We talked about several talent-centered topics, all of which are top of mind for many CHROs.
Part of our conversation went something like this:
CHRO: I am struggling. I have a good internal recruiting team. They work hard, and for the most part they do a good job. But we always struggle with the positions that matter the most.
Me: You need a Recruiting Partner.
CHRO: I use Staffing Agencies. Sometimes they work, but often they send candidates that either don’t have the right skills or don’t fit our culture.
Me: I understand, but I didn’t say you need a Recruiter. I said you need a Recruiting Partner.
CHRO: What do you mean by Partner and how do I know when I need one?
Here is the truth: nearly every business leader struggles with this question. Most have internal Recruiters. Many use staffing agencies. Few have Recruiting Partners.
What is a Recruiting Partner?
A Recruiting Partner is, first and foremost, a partner. Recruiting Partners view their relationship with their clients through a lens of solving business problems with Talent. Here are a few things to look for in a Recruiting Partner:
Partners Understand Business
A Recruiting Partner is a Business Professional. Most haven’t been Recruiters for their entire career. They have business experience and life experience. They seek to understand your business – not just a specific role. They understand that the person you hire will have an impact on your business in the short and long term.
Partners Listen for Your Needs
Partners look beyond ‘filling a job’. Partners focus on solving your business problem – with Talent. To do so, Partners ask more questions and broader questions. Your Partner wants to understand the challenges you are experiencing so that the next hire will make an immediate impact on your business, drive goal achievement, and reach desired results. Conversations with a Partner may result in a solution that you didn’t think you were looking for.
Partners Might Say No (But Still Help)
By not having a transactional perspective, a Partner is more likely to tell you that ‘hiring this person will not resolve your challenge’ and may recommend a solution that is different than you originally had in mind.
Any effective partnership is ultimately a relationship. Successful relationships require investment – from your Partner and from you. While Recruiting Partners are experienced business people, their depth of understanding of your company—from culture to business objectives to challenges— deepens over time. Your willingness to share insights with your Partner accelerates this process. As the relationship develops, it is common for a Partner to become the person you call to get their thoughts, not just to fill a vacancy.
When do you need a Recruiting Partner?
Most companies have internal recruiting teams and do not need a Recruiting Partner to support most jobs. The situations in which using a Partner is most applicable include:
These are roles that directly impact revenue generation, delivery of services, or accomplishment of key objectives. If the open role can impact your business performance or service levels, it is likely mission-critical. Another way to look at it: “If I don’t have the right person in this role, will I achieve my goals?” If the answer is no, it is mission-critical.
Roles that you do not desire to announce within your organization. Many of these roles are mission-critical and tend to be key leadership roles, which means they are critical to the success of an ongoing or upcoming initiative.
Internal recruiting teams are designed to support most of an organization’s hiring needs, such as roles that are hired in higher volumes and/or on a recurring basis. Tasking Internal Recruiters with roles that fall outside their core skills and experience often result in less than desired results.
Temporary or Surge Needs
When you have projects or business initiatives that require a surge in hiring or require specific skill sets to be hired, your Internal Recruiters may not have the bandwidth to assist. These types of scenarios typically last for 18 months (or less) and include launching a new product, implementing a new technology, top-grading field leadership, or launching a new or expanded sales force. Your Internal Recruiters are often most effective continuing to manage the hiring needs of day-to-day business.
Recruiting Partners and Staffing Agencies both provide valuable services, but the services and the value they provide are markedly different. When engaged effectively, the value of a Recruiting Partner extends far beyond filling vacancies. The value comes with significantly impacting business results —one hire at a time.