Three weeks ago, I wrote a newsletter about misconceptions surrounding what I do as a third-party recruiting consultant. That article can be found here.
So, with those misconceptions addressed, what is it that I actually do on a daily or weekly basis?
The short answer is that I talk to people in my industry. That’s it! I talk to people about all kinds of things – The industry, sports, their careers, kids, health stuff, the industry, their careers, the economy, how much I hate the cold, the industry, pets, family, their careers, national parks, the industry. You get the idea.
A big part of what I am doing as I build relationships is checking in to see if the person’s needs are being met according to the Oberg Hierarchy of Needs we established a few years back.
- Are their financial needs being met via compensation and additional benefits?
- Is their work schedule predictable and their facility safe?
- Do they have clear expectations and understand how their performance will be judged?
- Are the processes and procedures in the company consistently applied?
- Is the Leadership of the facility direct and respectful, and do they listen to the many voices that make up a company?
- Do they have opportunities for advancement, and a clearly defined growth plan, if they want it?
My goal on every call is to find the best way to be a resource for the person I am talking to in relation to these needs. Sure, I want to get something out of the call too, but I always want my relationships to be give AND take, not just take, take, take.
So, what does someone like me bring to the table? What does a good third-party recruiter do all day while talking with the industry?
Provide Insight, News, and Information
The news and insights people share with me range from innocent topics, such as a funny story that happened in a facility, to much juicier topics – so and so got fired because they did not properly follow lock out-tag out. Maybe they just heard a new green field is going in.
So, without breaking confidentiality, I use that information to help my network out when I am able. All kinds of information crosses my desk, such as compensation averages, market trends, new plants being built, old plants being updated or shuttered, and when facilities lose or pick up big accounts.
This free flow of information that I tend to have access to allows me to have a pretty good finger on the pulse of what positions are particularly in demand right now (who might be best suited by making a change for a better opportunity) and what positions are undervalued (who might be better off staying put for a little bit).
Providing Career Advice
This leads to the next thing we do, which is consult and advise contacts on what moves might make sense for them based on the landscape of the industry. We may not always be able to share detailed information because of the risk to someone else’s confidentiality, but we can still point you in the right direction.
Because long-term relationships are the goal, and not hit-and-run transactions, a lot of the time this advice is that it is in their best interest to stay where they are. That the person has a good job already and the grass is not necessarily greener.
I can also help with information such as what hiring managers look for in certain roles, or what we are hearing from candidates on what they expect from a new employer. On top of all of this, our team spends an incredible amount of time looking at resumes, so we are a pretty good source if you feel like yours needs to be spruced up!
One of the more important things I do as a third-party recruiter is prepare people for different stages of the interview process. This includes generic best practices for interviews, such as making a positive first impression, but it also goes so far as sharing what a candidate might see or hear about a facility, and what the candidate or client will be looking for on the other side of the call/meeting.
Why is this such an important process?
I know without a doubt that you know your history, you lived it! I know you know what you do on a day-to-day basis, you do it every day! But I say it all the time – I do not know how to run a plant, sell a box, or operate a flexo, but what I do know is how to help people with their careers.
If you have not interviewed in a while, or talked about your background and accomplishments, it can come across as stale in the interview process. It can sound like you’re fishing, or not very engaged.
So, we always encourage and facilitate walking through background and expectations beforehand, knowing this can be the difference between sounding totally unprepared, and showing well and being engaged in the call/meeting.
Guiding Both Sides Through Offers, Relocation, and Orientation
A bonus misconception from the last article is that a recruiter’s job stops once the offer has been signed. They have somehow earned their fee and are never to be heard from again (unless the client’s check bounces!)
There may be some out there like this, but my effort does not stop when an offer letter is signed. Again, it is all about long-lasting relationships.
So, I work hard to make sure candidates get where they need to go and receive the funds/assistance to get there before start date. I work to make sure all sides fully understand expectations and the process after start, including making sure orientation covers everything both sides need covered for a long-term productive relationship.
And then I follow up often, but formally at 30 days and six months after placement to ensure everything is still running smoothly and correct anything that is not. Informally, we talk more frequently than that. Retention and long-term satisfaction are very important.
Hopefully this mini-series has been a helpful look into what it is recruiters like myself are supposed to do. There are certainly plenty of recruiters out there that give the rest of us a bad name, the ones that are trying to force people into positions that are not a good fit, get paid and run, or who only call to take, take, take from you without bringing any value in return.
But there are plenty of us out there that genuinely want to help. My goal on a day-to-day basis is to focus on our relationship, get to know your career goals, who you are, what your character is, what your preferences are, so that if you ever find yourself unexpectedly needing my help, we can save a fair amount of headache because I already know YOU.