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When should you engage

a recruiting firm?

by Tim Walsh

· Strategies

If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, the time is now.

The pandemic continues to upend the economy and significantly alter the workforce as we know it. But certain talent fields – notably technology marketing, sales and PR – are rebounding more quickly, with the battle for talent escalating. As we push into Q4 of The Year That Will Live in Infamy, we’re even beginning to see candidates in these disciplines receive multiple offers.

Finding and hiring the best candidate for the job while staying within your hiring budget is certainly not an easy endeavor. A variety of issues can conspire against you, from the pressure of filling a position before that big project kicks off to searching for a skill-set that’s akin to finding a needle in a haystack to still doing your regular job if talent acquisition isn’t your sole focus. It can be the thing that keeps you up at night.

When is it time to engage a search firm to help you fill a position? If any of the circumstances below apply to you, it’s probably time.

  1. You need the role filled ASAP. You’ve just onboarded a new client and your account team is already stretched to the breaking point. Or, your Marketing Director resigned just before a new product launch. Like many things in business, the difference between success and failure often comes down to the ability to make something happen quickly. This is especially true when you can’t afford a significant disruption to well-crafted plans or the inability to service clients (while not burning out your current employees).
  2. You’re searching for a niche or in-demand skill-set. Some positions are easier to fill than others. For example, inside sales professionals with a couple years of SaaS closing experience are plentiful, and, if you have the right value prop, not too difficult to attract. Candidates for other roles, such as a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst with strong SQL skills, can be a much tougher find. There are just less people out there with that skill-set and the demand for them is always high.
  3. You’re responsible for recruiting while trying to do your actual job. If you don’t have the benefit of an internal recruiter at your firm, ultimate responsibility for filling the position will likely fall on you. You can tap your network for referrals, but there may not be any, or, they may not pan out. You quickly find out that recruiting takes up A LOT of your time, which is not sustainable given your other priorities. (Spoiler alert: recruiting – even for one position – requires a significant time investment if you’re responsible for all aspects of the process, from sourcing to interviewing, etc.)
  4. You’re not seeing the right candidates or candidate quality is low. You should absolutely post all your open positions on job sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed or Glassdoor. Unfortunately, it can often feel like you hit the lottery when you receive an applicant that’s appropriate for the role. The primary (and obvious) problem with job ads is the only folks who apply to them are those actively looking for a new job. That leaves you lacking that other large segment of the market – those not actively looking to move, but open to considering change.
  5. You’re shifting from a culture “fit” to a culture “add” approach. You’ve realized the diversity of your team is not where you’d like it to be. Your previous recruiting efforts have not resulted in a very diverse candidate pool and you want to develop a better diversity recruiting strategy and action plan.

In some alternate universe at some other time – definitely not anytime in 2020 – the perfect candidate lands in your inbox, breezes through your interview process, accepts your offer and starts right away. Since that scenario is rarer than the Hope Diamond, your situation likely requires the assistance of the right recruiting partner. Your hiring budget will increase, but the right hire will more than make up for the added cost. And you won’t lose any more sleep.

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