It’s Time to Reengineer Your Relationships with Recruiters

By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman

Engineering managers count on third-party recruiters to find talented professionals for contract and full-time positions, even on short notice. But relying on a reactive, last-minute approach to talent acquisition and outsiders may result in higher bill rates and fewer engineering candidates to choose from in a competitive labor market.

Recruiter Relationships

Treating recruiters as talent partners and practicing collaborative, proactive workforce planning can result in a shared vision and a long-term, strategic approach to talent acquisition, selection and placement. Best of all, creating a robust pipeline of internal and external candidates ensures that you’ll have the right talent to successfully execute your firm’s business strategy – both now and in the future.

According to research from the Corporate Executive Board, shifting from reactive to proactive talent planning drives 19 percent greater business impact. But, at the same time, fewer than one in five companies are effective at projecting talent needs or aligning the need for talent with business objectives.

So how can you turn a reactive, transactional recruiting relationship into a strategic talent partnership? Here are some suggestions.

Choose Carefully

Successful talent partnerships require a strategic mindset and approach. Choose a staffing firm that is capable of: conducting a thorough needs analysis, bringing innovative solutions to the table and incorporating customized sourcing strategies to build, maintain and enhance a customized talent pool.

According to Express Scripts CIO Gary Wimberly, strategic partners not only excel at transactions, such as filling contract requisitions; they are trusted advisers who provide new ideas that further your agenda.

Bring Partners into the Fold

Workforce planning isn’t effective if done in a vacuum. Foster engagement by educating your strategic partners on your business goals, talent needs and challenges. Consider upcoming projects, projected expansion, and the need for bench depth and succession resulting from planned and unplanned turnover (including retirements).

Treat partners like family by weaving them into your team and assigning them a dedicated contact. Teaming up on recruiting efforts involving sponsorships, advertising and career fairs can help both partners achieve success. Remember, involvement begets engagement, learning and collaborative problem-solving.

Create a Roadmap to Success

A true talent partner should work with you to devise a holistic plan to find and develop the right talent to achieve your business goals. The proposed solutions should take into account labor market trends, untapped talent pools and streamlined hiring and onboarding practices to alleviate bottlenecks. It should also incorporate outside-the-box ideas such as organizational/job redesign, the development of customized talent selection and vetting processes and effective use of contingent and full-time staff.

For instance, if developing future partners is critical for growth, commissioning contractors might give full-time engineers the opportunity to tackle stretch assignments or mentoring relationships to hone their management skills.

As CareerBuilder’s Mary Lorenz points out, “A talent advisor should also consider the longer term implications of their recruiting efforts, taking into consideration the skills the organization will need in the coming years – not just currently.”

Measure Progress and Success

Strategic partners create scorecards complete with relevant metrics that measure the execution and impact of their promises and recommendations. Key benchmarks might include time-to-fill, submits per hire, and size of the talent pool, as well as contractor turnover and quality. A benchmarking approach ensures your partner’s alignment to your firm’s business objectives, and helps to drive continuous improvement.

Most importantly, regular reviews of scorecards and results create a foundation of trust and mutual accountability toward the successful execution of shared goals.


Other information of potential interest

5 Ways to Get an Engineering Contractor to Accept Your Offer

Modern Tools for Managing an Engineering Team

Staffing Firms vs. Independent Contractors: What Engineering Managers Should Know

How to Engineer a Just-in-Time Talent Pool

Engineering Solutions to Today’s Talent Shortage

What to Look for in Contractor Engineering Resumes

What Engineers Really Want from Employers

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