Corporate Eye

Recruitment agencies and the corporate website

I recently invited Aaron Blower, from Chelsea Search Group, to explain how recruitment agencies use corporate recruitment sites, and what services the corporate site could provide for the external recruiter.

Targeting the One

An astute Corporate Eye editor recently noted that “Most corporate sites, it seems to me, are designed for the new graduate or the experienced hire – individual potential applicants, not agency recruiters …” 

Oh how right she is! 

This raises some interesting questions, both about the structure and usability of corporate recruiting sites, but also about their purpose. 

Let’s start by laying out some of the general goals of the different groups here:

Recruitment Agencies

The primary goal of headhunters is always to make the most money with the smallest amount of effort.  They work for two types of clients:

  • Type 1 clients, who actively source active job seekers and use recruitment agencies only for the most difficult positions after they have exhausted all of their options
  • Type 2 clients, who use agencies for most or all of their positions and do not do much to attract direct applicants. 

Recruitment agencies are always on the lookout for type 2 companies, but their bread and butter is the passive job seeker for type 1 companies (a passive job seeker being one who would consider a job if made aware of it, but isn’t actively looking, unlike the active job seeker).

Corporate Recruiting Website

Corporate websites are designed to attract potential applicants for current and future positions as well as inform all applicants of the benefits of working for the corporation.  This is one of the primary things that turns a type 2 company into a type 1 company; the better the corporate website, the more attractive it will be for active job seekers.  A company with no online careers presence is unlikely to attract the same quantity of applicants. 

Since agencies are hoping your corporation is a type 2 company, they will be talking to active candidates as well as passive candidates.  What this means of course, is that the corporate website is in competition with recruitment agencies for the same active candidates!  If a corporation can get a candidate to apply through the company’s website before an agency submits their resume, the corporation saves significant quantities of money. 

How to Make Them Work Together

With regards to agencies, the corporate website should serve a couple of primary goals.

First, it should be easy for everybody to see all of the open positions without registration or too many clicks.  Most recruiters are going to corporate websites to find out what jobs are open, to see if they might have any candidates that they can skill-market to that company. 

Second, it is nice when they have their corporate policy regarding use of recruiters in plain sight.  These are all examples of sites that clearly spell out their policy towards recruiters.  Some take the extra step of providing information on how to inquire about providing recruitment services.  This one seems to go the extra step of even listing which positions might be open to recruiters if they have a contract.

The point is to have a website that works towards your recruitment goals.  A note specifically tailored to recruiters may decrease the number of cold calls you get and most certainly will decrease the number of unsolicited resumes received – both of which saves HR a lot of time. 

I would probably take an additional step and note which positions the company would be open to filling via recruiter, with specific instructions on how to inquire with specific candidates.  Corporate HR departments cannot spend a lot of time fielding speculative calls from recruiters, but most would be willing to receive targeted contact from recruiters with candidates they would actually be interested in. 

Thanks, Aaron!

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