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Thrive is set up by Funding London, a venture capital company bridging the finance gap for early stage businesses based in London. With over a decade’s experience in supporting the startups of London through a variety of funding vehicles, Funding London sensed a need to illuminate the ever-evolving scenario of London’s early stage businesses.

Thrive features interviews with and opinion from budding entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts. A mix of contributors from all areas of the industry is desired in order to spark genuine discussion about ongoing critical issues. While it showcases the effectiveness of successful ventures, it also encourages sharing lessons learned from missteps and unsuccessful projects.

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Perceptions · 27 March '17

Finding the right Talent….a recruiters guide!

There can’t be many industries with as bad a reputation as recruitment. Estate agents, perhaps, but it’s a close call… Now, I may be a little biased here but to me this seems crazy. Of course, I understand that there are some recruiters who are pushy, salesy, and frankly have no idea about the profiles that they’re trying to pitch to you, but lumping all recruiters together is like refusing to work with Goldman Sachs because you once worked with a sketchy IFA who convinced you to invest in Floridian real estate.

Finding the right talent is always one of the main factors constraining or supporting business growth so I’ve put together a handy guide to getting the most out of your recruitment partners. Follow this and you’ll build efficiencies within your company, hire the right talent, and keep costs down.

  1. Use specialist recruiters for specialist searches

You can’t use recruitment agencies for every role, it would just be too expensive, and you equally can’t expect your internal team to find everyone – they just couldn’t have a large enough network. So, treat talent acquisition like any other part of your business. Specialise.

First, hire someone to head up this mammoth task – a Head of Talent. The most successful start-ups are all adopting this approach. Find an ex-recruiter from one of the more reputable agencies where they would have picked up great networks and learned good processes.

Second, establish where your Head of Talent can add the most value and section off areas of talent acquisition that are their exclusive responsibility. This will probably look like mid-level, core searches.

Finally, find a few specialist recruitment agencies to deliver across the remaining areas of the business. Choose areas that are difficult to replicate within your business, like strong executive-level relationships or an international presence.

There will always be a temptation to chase false efficiency by having your internal talent team cover the same talent search as your recruiters but think about it, would you ever encourage two of your teams to cover the same ground? No, the best way to get value out of using a recruitment agency is to divide and conquer.

  1. Contingent search is expensive!

The reason that recruiters need to charge such high success fees is that the revenue from each successful search needs to cover the costs from every unsuccessful one. Agreeing to a small retainer (we charge 5%) will allow a good recruitment agency to come down significantly on fees by spreading the risk.

If you’ve already decided to give them full responsibility for the role this shouldn’t be an issue.

  1. Be responsive

At one point or another you’ve probably got a bit annoyed at your recruiters when they’ve chased you for feedback. Whilst it’s completely understandable that you don’t want to spend a Board Meeting with your mobile constantly vibrating, it’s very easy to avoid.

Just give feedback quickly.

In fact, clients that give us the fastest feedback (whether positive or negative) get a noticeably better service – our recruiters know that their candidates will be considered promptly, so they’re much more driven.

Aim to get recruiters using all their chasing up energy working for you, not working to get through to you!

  1. Set ground rules

This last point seems like an obvious one, but very few people call for a friendly and clear conversation at the start of the new relationship. Just say when and how you’d like to be contacted, what level of interaction with placed candidates you’re comfortable with, and what level of service you expect.

Your relationship with your recruiter should be a great one. Done right, they will come to know your business as well as your own team and will prove to be a real asset to growth.