Hiring technical recruiters or sourcers with agency background experience has always been a trend. Why is this? What are the skills that agency recruiters and sourcers have that make them appealing to leaders of corporate staffing teams? Also, if you do work on the agency side but want to break into corporate, what do you have to do? Do you possess the skills that will make you marketable to a staffing team on the corporate side?
Of course, just because you work at an agency doesn’t guarantee that you are instantly awesome. You still have to be good at your job. Here are some of the transferrable skills that are needed in order to cross over to the other side. And why corporate staffing managers should pay attention.
Skills to Pay the Bills
If you have a good agency recruiter or sourcer who is on your doorstep applying for a job, then here are some the skills that will be of benefit to you:
- Time management — Recruiters have to be good at time management. But agency staffers have to source, recruit, and submit candidates for new jobs opened that day. Sometimes within a couple of hours!
- Competitive — Everyone in staffing is competitive. Companies are all vying for the same top talent and there is only so much to go around. But in the agency world, you are normally competing with 30 or so staffing agencies on the same job. You can bet agency staffers are competitive and fast. Their ability to identify, qualify, and submit candidates quickly is their livelihood.
- All around technical knowledge — Most corporate recruiters and sourcers work within a single vertical or group. They usually have 5 to 10 open reqs they are working for the length of their stay at the company. Agency staffers receive multiple new reqs each day from a wide variety of clients. This means over the course of a few days, a recruiter could work on an IC Design Engineer, a Software Validation Engineer for a biotech company, then move on to a Techno-Functional Oracle ERP implementation consultant, tackle a DevOps engineers with cloud platform experience, before finally wrapping up with a Finance Manager who has EFT / ACH systems experience.
- Ability to work without hiring manager req intake meetings — Because many agencies are RPO, VMS, or contingency-based, they oftentimes have no contact with the hiring manager. They do not typically get clarification, job insights, or what’s written between the lines of the req. Because of that, agency recruiters and sourcers must use their experience, instincts, and research skills in order to figure out the correct angle when working a req.
For Staffing Managers
Staffing managers, directors, and other leaders should pay attention to these agency types. Some of the traits I listed above can carry over quite well to your corporate staffing team. Here is what you can expect:
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- Time and speed — Agency recruiters are used to a fast-paced environment and that can help give your group a shot of much-needed energy. Keep them engaged and keep challenging them to find different ways and angles when working their reqs. Turn that potential into energy.
- Major phone skills — Agency recruiters and sourcers spend all their time on the phone. This is what they do all day, sometimes making 100 calls a day. For corporate staffing managers who are afraid that their people are not on the phone enough, this will help get the team to not be afraid to cold-call and hit the phones.
- Persistence with hiring managers — In the agency world, recruiters and sourcers can count themselves very lucky if they get a chance to listen to hiring manager feedback or req intake meetings. They do not take this lightly and use every single shred of information that is given. If given a chance to work on a corporate team that has hiring manager access, they will use it. They will constantly try different types of candidates, different sources of candidates, and they will push the hiring manager to consider alternative profiles. I’m sure some people think this is a negative, but professionals who are good at their jobs can only increase the organization by pushing each other beyond their comfort limits.
Even if you’re a staffing manager and you can’t find any “good” agency recruiters, you can still implement the good parts of that agency instinct into your corporate staffing team. Treat reqs like they are time bombs. Research the job reqs as well as the candidates who were previously hired. Dissect search strings and candidate screening questions. Push along the hiring process, from req takes to manager feedback, to interview feedback. Realize that every candidate is not readily available on the Internet.
Most importantly, get on the phone. All day! If you feel like the team dynamic and energy is low, then try a shot of agency caffeine. You might be glad that you did.