Recruitment Agencies are Dead, Long Live Recruitment Agencies!
Human Resources News 1 year ago No Comments

Working in a recruitment agency that has a desk dedicated to HR and Talent Acquisition recruitment, I am often asked, why we place Talent Acquisition professionals into businesses, who would surely then stop coming to us for recruitment requirements, as they are doing it themselves.

To the untrained eye, this is a completely understandable question, and very occasionally this does happen, however recruitment companies are normally much more than a CV sending service to organisations.

I was keen to better understand the value of agency partners for HR and Internal Recruitment Professionals , so went and met with local professionals to find out what recruitment agencies really mean to them, and if they had any plans to abandon them completely moving forward. Below are three key points that emerged from the discussions.

  1. Expertise- almost all people I met agreed that it is impossible to be an expert in everything. Most talent acquisition teams are not able to have one person focusing specifically on sales, or specifically on marketing etc, which can make it difficult if a vacancy comes in, that requires in depth knowledge of a particular discipline. 90 percent of people I spoke with said this is exactly when they would turn to an agency, as they can then work in partnership with someone whose full time job is to know a particular discipline or industry inside-out!
  1. Time- does an HR or Talent Manager have time to scan every job board? Can they spend a significant chunk of their time networking via Linkedin and other social platforms? From the discussions I had this doesn’t seem to be the case, but all managers agreed that in order to cover all recruitment requirements internally, this is what they would have to do. As this isn’t possible, this is where agencies again come into play. Agencies save companies time and with this, they ultimately save them money! They spend their days networking and developing candidate pools, so that as soon as a client has a requirement, a shortlist of screened candidates can start being put together quickly. 
  1. Market information- it was clear that HR and Internal Recruitment professionals relied on agencies for more than just candidates. One HR Manager I spoke with said that for her recruitment agencies give her a much deeper understanding of the candidate market, information as to how other companies are attracting top talent and most importantly let her know if her organisation has a negative image in the market place and if so why and what can be done to resolve it.

So….”great news”  I hear all recruitment agencies saying, “nothing has to change”. This is not entirely the truth. Although all managers I spoke with agreed that recruitment agencies will always have a place in the corporate world, all managers also agreed that with the rise of the internal recruiter, there is a much heavier focus on the agency/organisation relationship and just how well it is functioning. Companies are now looking to partner with agencies, rather than have an anonymous phone call and 20 CV’s flung at them. They want candidates that have been met and fully qualified and who are well prepared for their interview.

To close, it seems that agency recruitment is definitely not “dead”, but there will certainly be some casualties if agencies cannot demonstrate the value they offer and act as a true partner. It seems that almost all HR and Talent Acquisition professionals really do appreciate that they can’t “do it all” and if you are sat reading this article, thinking “well I manage without using agencies” but have had a problem vacancy sat on your desk for 6 months, maybe give us a call and we can demonstrate exactly how much time and money we can actually save you!

With special thanks to Paul Richards, Divya Kanani Jones, Sophie Esom, Charles St Aubyn, Kimberley Smithies, Nicki Stacey, Sarah Newman, Laura Tanner, Lara Lester, Mark Creasey, Mike Bishop, Kate Phillips, Fiona Potter, Jennifer Kent and Olivia Townsend for taking the time to speak with me.