The bottom line in the recruiting and staffing industry, as it is in just about every other aspect of the employment marketplace, is value.
However, when that word is over-used, it starts to have less meaning. That’s the case with just about every word in the English language. If you take a word that was supposed to mean a certain thing and then apply it to an ever-growing number of objects and/or situations, then it starts to lose its original meaning.
The same thing happens with the world “value.”
Specifically, it’s happened with a variation of the word. That variation is “value-add.”
What recruiters do: value vs. “value-add”
The problem arises when recruiting agencies attempt to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack by claiming that they provide “value-add.” In other words, they provide value beyond the main value that they claim to provide as a recruiting agency. This proclamation of “value-add” is supposed to convince an employer or prospective client to use the agency for their search needs.
Unfortunately, all of these mounting claims of “value-add” have amounted to little more than just “smoke and mirrors.” What recruiters do—what they’re primarily paid to do by employers—has less to do with “value-add” and more to do with plain, old VALUE.
And the plain, old value that recruiters and search consultants provide to their clients is the ability to recruit the top candidates in the employment marketplace. And by top candidates, we’re talking about the top 5% to 10% of candidates. (And yes, these candidates are gainfully employed and relatively happy with their current employer. That’s why hiring managers and decision makers consider it valuable if a search consultant can recruit those candidates away from their employer. They consider it so valuable that they’re willing to pay a fee to the search consultant.)
So let’s cast aside all thoughts of “value-add” and focus solely on value. Specifically, let’s focus on what recruiters do that provides the most value to employers. In other words, what recruiters do that results in placement fees and grateful clients.
To help explore this topic fully, we’re going to draw upon the wisdom Terry Petra, one of the recruiting industry’s leading trainers and business consultants. Terry has extensive experience as a producer, manager, and trainer in all areas of professional search, including retainer, contingency, and contract, as well as clerical/office support and temporary.
According to Petra, he receives calls and emails from owners and managers who, faced with increased challenges in their marketplace, are looking for an advantage. In short, they want an edge over the competition. As a result, they’re trying to come up with a “value-add” that will make them the number-one option when their clients have a need.
The concept of “value-add,” providing something of value that goes above and beyond what is expected, certainly has merit. However, in many recruitment and staffing agencies, the search for “value-add” has distorted their view of reality. Fact be known (and it should be known), most companies that are serviced by recruitment and staffing agencies would trade “value-add” for “just deliver what you promise.”
For most companies in this high-demand marketplace, good people are difficult to find, hard to attract, and many times even harder to retain. “Value-add” has little relevance for them if you cannot deliver good people, on time, every time.
What recruiters do for clients
Consider the three things that companies value MOST from recruiters:
First, and most importantly, they attach the highest value on your ability to identify, approach, attract, and deliver qualified employees for their organization.
Second, once the individuals you have delivered have been hired or assigned, they must perform the essential job functions at or above the criteria that define success for the position.
Third, if you have delivered the proper employees to their organization, your clients should be able to retain them for an extended period of time.
For your clients, these should be more than factors, they should be expectations.
As management guru Peter Drucker has stated:
“The most important decisions an executive (manager, supervisor) makes are decisions about people because those decisions will ultimately determine the performance capacity of the organization.”
Of these “. . . decisions about people . . .” the most important one is the hiring decision. Depending upon which survey or expert you reference, success in management is 70% to 90% the result of hiring the right people. If the right people are hired, they will perform well in the position since they are matched properly to the company and the job. Also, the likelihood of a long-term employment relationship dramatically increases.
Therefore, if you can consistently enhance your clients’ ability to make good hiring decisions, you can say, “The heck with value-add, we deliver.” However, in order to “deliver,” you must do more than just match candidate qualifications to client selection criteria.
You must identify, recruit, and help your clients successfully hire the top 5% to 10% of the candidates in the marketplace that will most directly and immediately affect those clients’ bottom lines. And you must do these things in the shortest amount of time possible.
If you’re not able to do that, first and foremost, then you might as well forget making claims about “value-add.” Because those claims will fall on predominately deaf ears.
What recruiters do: training!
In addition to the three things outlined above, what recruiters should do is engage in continuous training and education.
Top Echelon offers a free monthly webinar as part of its Recruiter Coaching Series. After the webinars are over, we post the recorded version of the webinars in our Recruiter Training Library. These webinars touch upon a variety of recruiter-related topics. These topics deal with both candidates and clients. As always, our goal with these webinars (and corresponding videos) is to help recruiters make more placements.
In addition to training and webinars, Top Echelon offers other recruitment solutions. These solutions include the following:
For more information about Top Echelon and the products and services that it offers, visit the Top Echelon website by clicking here.