Dear Employer, Here is Everything You Need to Know About Recruitment Firms

You are the business leader; if we were talking basketball, you are the Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri. You only want the most talented players on your team to ensure the greatest likelihood of a championship win!

Like Presidents of sports teams, successful business leaders also surround themselves with partners and other leaders who can ensure outcomes are achieved. One often overlooked business partner is your recruitment partner. Let us explain:

Many employers who make leadership hiring decisions and extend offers do so infrequently which makes mistakes more likely to happen. Mistakes can happen when trying to go at it alone as well as with inexperienced recruitment firms. This article summarizes the importance of choosing a recruitment firm and how to make the most of an employer-recruiter partnership.

As a Recruitment firm focused on startups, we often partner with Founders/CEOs making first-time hires who will build and scale the functions they are hired to lead, whether Product or Sales or Marketing.

For example: 

  • When tech companies hire a VP Product, they do so expecting it's for the long term - they want the commitment from the hire to see through the release of the products and experiences they are ideating on.
  • Same with sales leaders; a newly hired VP Sales commits to achieving revenue growth over an extended period of time, which may include developing new markets and scaling multi-disciplinary teams to drive engagement and leads. That takes time.

These hires are taken very seriously because they impact the entire company and are expected to create long-term growth. For this reason, most business leaders we partner with rarely find themselves in this mission-critical offer negotiation situation.

I know what you’re thinking; why not leverage your People & Talent Leaders? What we have heard from the many People & HR leaders we partner with is 'most' internal HR leaders are generalists who focus on internal talent management and operations vs talent acquisition or even more specifically offer negotiations for executive hires.

Even Masai needs a talent scout who sits at the table with the elite-level talent, negotiating offers to join the team. Shouldn’t you as well?

Working with a Partner (Talent Scout & Agent)

One of the benefits of working with a professional Recruiter is that they are professional talent scouts and negotiators. Some firms like ours have a team of Talent Scouts (Recruiters) and Offer Negotiators (Account Managers) who ensure we deliver the talent our clients need to hire, then ensure both parties are satisfied with the outcome of a hire.

The benefit to you is the offer is being negotiated and presented by a professional who is an experienced negotiator. After all, this is how they earn a living and what they do every week.

Recruiters have a PoV into market insights and what average compensation numbers look like. To put it plainly, if you were buying a house, would you not want to know from an Agent why and how asking prices have been determined and where the seller may have flexibility?

Recruiters have an understanding of the degree to which a candidate may be flexible. For example, the Recruiter knows the emotional state of the candidate:

  • Are they actually ready to make a job change? Or are they kicking tires?
  • Are you their second choice?
  • Are they overly confident/cocky and prepared to walk away if you don't meet their salary expectations?

This is the insight you wouldn’t usually be privy to. In addition, your company's reputation remains intact even if things get emotional. Your Recruitment partner is the one handling the details with them. This reduces the likelihood of damaging the onboarding of your future employee and putting you in the position of rebuilding bridges should it take a while to arrive at a mutually beneficial offer.

While Recruiters are motivated to get an acceptance, they want you - their customer - to be happy long term. The last thing any Recruiter wants is to start a search again after an offer goes sideways or have a candidate walk after only a few months.

The Number One Amateur Employer Move

When working with recruitment professionals, the number one amateur move we've seen employers make is contacting the employee directly to make an offer of employment. I bet you didn’t see that coming. So why do we say this?

Employer inexperience (sometimes arrogance) can lead an employer to say/do crazy things along the journey to a hire. Most often, the leader becomes emotional (the company is their baby after all) which leads to blurred lines and emotions if everything doesn’t go smoothly right away.

Some employers want to experience perceived 'excitement' which they believe will follow an offer presentation - "I'm excited to present it!" or "We want them (the candidate) to see our excitement!” Many Founders genuinely believe the candidate will accept immediately and don't understand how a recruitment firm can be a buffer for both sides.

The Harsh Reality Check

Leverage the experience and market knowledge of a recruitment firm that understands the realities that apply to you. Based on:

  • The level of role you are hiring for
  • The pool of talent interested in your opportunity and company
  • The current market conditions, and
  • The competitive landscape of talent you are competing against

Your offer might not be as competitive as you think. A Recruiter acts as a buffer between the candidate and the employer, ensuring everyone is satisfied with the offer, and no one’s feelings get hurt.

Negotiating from a place of emotion is a no-win situation so remove this by letting a non-emotional third-party negotiate on both sides' behalf. To ensure a smooth and successful negotiation, transparency is important. Ensure your Recruitment team knows:

  • Any flexibility on numbers
  • Other levers you have access to (signing bonuses / MBA sponsorships etc.)
  • Non-cash but high-value benefits to leverage
  • Start date flexibilities 
  • A plan B if the deal does not come together

However the interview process concludes, you want everyone around involved to have had a professional experience with your company. Look for a recruitment firm with a proven track record of scouting talent and negotiating offers. Those will be the firms who can best support your executive hiring needs and most importantly maintain your reputation with talent in the market.

Are you looking to grow your team? Keep these tips in mind when selecting the recruiting partner that will help you attract and hire the best talent for your organization.