Written by Julie Mott, Managing Director, Howett Thorpe
Many companies use recruitment agencies to source new talent from a wider network and streamline the hiring process.
You could opt for a generalised recruitment consultant. Or you could take a specialised (‘niche’) recruitment approach. Each option could save you time and money in the long run compared to the traditional in-house hiring process.
However, it is crucial to choose the right type of consultant for your business’ needs. Each has its advantages, and both types of recruitment agencies offer broadly similar services — sourcing suitable candidates, overseeing interviews and onboarding and enabling seamless communication throughout the hiring process. The main difference is in the quality and quantity of candidates each will put forward for a role…
What could possibly go wrong?
Generalised recruitment consultants cover a broad range of job roles, industry sectors and locations. As such, they tend to have a wide selection of clients and candidates at their disposal. This may suit some companies’ needs, especially those looking for less specialised skill sets or to fill short-term positions.
But although having a large and varied pool of candidates may seem like it would be a good thing, in reality, it is often counterintuitive for many businesses looking to find the best person for the job the first time around.
A generalised recruiter is more likely to have only a superficial understanding of their clients, candidates and industries — simply due to the volume of people and companies they represent and the spectrum of sectors they operate in.
Generic recruitment companies can undoubtedly offer you a long list of potential candidates. But being sent a long list of candidates — some suitable, many not — defeats the purpose of hiring an agency for your recruitment needs if you are then spending precious time and resources sieving through (and often discarding!) each application.
When it comes to first-time recruitment and finding the perfect long-term fit for a role, it is all about quality — not quantity.
Using a specialist recruitment agency to your advantage
Specialist consultancies usually focus on a particular job function, industry sector or location. This means they can be precise about the candidates and businesses they work with — usually with better results. So, how exactly can this work to your advantage as a prospective employer?
Targeting qualified applicants
Any recruitment consultant worth their salt will have developed a strong network of individuals (including both active and passive candidates), giving companies access to a broader range of potential applicants than internal job advertising or in-house HR departments would allow.
And the difference between your average recruiter and a specialised recruiter is that a specialist’s extensive database will consist of carefully selected talent with very specific skills tailored to a given industry. This means they can home in on what you need and provide you with a more relevant shortlist of quality candidates.
Better candidate relationships
Not only will niche consultants have an impressive network, but as industry experts, they are also likely to have developed positive, close working relationships with candidates across various levels of their specialist fields.
As a result, they are ideally placed to offer more in-depth knowledge of the expectations — such as salary, benefits and training — of candidates within a particular sector. This understanding is vital during negotiations and could make a significant difference in securing top talent.
Their expert advice will also be especially beneficial for businesses hiring for a role outside of their sector. For example, if an IT company were looking to hire a credit controller, a finance recruitment company would be better placed to help them find and secure a top candidate than a generic recruitment company.
Vital market intelligence
Specialist recruitment agencies make it their business to stay informed about the ins and outs of a particular industry, meaning they will have a better understanding of all the pain points companies within that sector experience and how successful recruitment can help them overcome these challenges.
A niche recruitment company will also be more acutely aware of the current recruitment market and any changes to legislation that may impact hiring in their industry.
Vetting the vetter…
The right recruitment agency will help make the process of selecting and hiring new staff less time-consuming and more efficient. The wrong one will cost you a lot of money and pile on the stress — leaving you questioning why you did not simply do it all yourself.
That is why it is crucial to make sure the agency you choose is well-respected, professional and legitimate. Select the right agency, and the perfect candidates will soon follow!