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Tips for Effective Communication with a Staffing Agency

Using a staffing agency to meet your company's hiring needs is a common practice that can get you talented recruits. While the agency's recruiters will be taking care of much of the work associated with finding and selecting candidates for your approval, it is important to remember that this is not a "fire and forget" situation. A certain level of communication and coordination is needed between you and the agency to ensure that your recruitment needs are met properly. Here are some quick tips for how you can empower your staffing agency to perform at optimal levels.

Develop a Timeline 

A timeline, for a staffing agency, usually refers to how updates are scheduled and how periodically the recruiters will touch base with you to give progress reports. If your position has a specific deadline (such as the start of a new project) then that needs to be incorporated into the timeline.

Of additional importance is making sure you are giving the staffing agency enough lead time to find and assess a candidate properly. Recruiting is a time-consuming endeavor, after all, which is probably one of the reasons why you're using a staffing agency in the first place. Giving the agency a proper amount of lead time allows it to effectively evaluate and sort through applicants. If your deadline is unrealistic, then you reduce the amount of review candidates can get or the number that are considered. This runs the risk of missing out on what may have been the perfect candidate.

Be Specific about Your Needs

It is important that your staffing agency is fully aware of the exact job requirements, technical proficiencies, and skill specifications that will be needed. If all they know is that you want a "web designer" then you may end up being shown candidates who know JavaScript when what you actually want is someone who can use another programming language like HTML5, or .NET. This need for specificity also applies to any certifications or process knowledge that may be called for.

Another way that specificity is important is in the job description itself. Vague job descriptions can sometimes deter applicants, so it's important to be able to state clearly what the expected duties of a position will be. You don't need to go overboard on minutiae, but some form of clarification is needed. For instance, if you are a marketing company looking to find a content writer, it might help to specify that the role will be expected to write for a variety of unrelated industries and in different tones.

Meet Face to Face

Face to face meetings tend to produce more relevant conversation and honest disclosure than phone or email discussions. Meeting directly can be prohibitive if your recruiter is not located where you are, but it may be possible to make provisions. Even if it is just once, try hard to meet with your recruiter in person.

Be Engaged in the Process

Make sure your recruiter asks you questions in a systematic way so that they can get a complete picture of your wants, needs, and abilities. If there is any area you feel has been missed, offer up some supplemental information. Also, try to get to know your recruiter. The more you connect as equals, the better they can serve you.

Set a Schedule for Updates

It is important to touch base with your recruiter regularly, but daily or even weekly may be excessive and annoying for both of you. Agree how often you will get updates and what these updates will include, and then stick to the schedule.

Stay Engaged in the Recruitment Process

In addition to the update scheduling mentioned earlier, it's important to stay involved in the recruiting effort. This can take a few different forms, one of which is having a face-to-face conversation with the recruiter. In addition to helping form a better partnership (even a single face-to-face can help), an in-person discussion can often prove more relevant and informative about your needs than a phone or e-mail conversation, if for no other reason than the focused attention it brings.

Another way to stay engaged is to keep the staffing agency informed. If something changes in your needs for a position, let the agency know and work out how to adjust your recruitment strategy accordingly. If you feel that there is any information that might have been missed, don't be afraid to offer supplemental info for the recruiters. Knowledge is power, after all.

Set a Schedule for Updates

It is important to touch base with your recruiter regularly, but daily or even weekly may be excessive and annoying for both of you. Agree how often you will get updates and what these updates will include, and then stick to the schedule.

Establish a Preferred Method of Communication

Do you prefer to communicate by phone or email? How would you feel about getting a text message? If you and your recruiter can agree on a method of communication, you can keep in touch more effectively.

Finally, it is important to occasionally talk with your recruiter about how your relationship is going. Be explicit about what is working and what is not. There may be unspoken issues that are seriously affecting your job search. Consult with Talent Spot International to learn more about improving the recruitment process.

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