The Story of Sisyphus

Greek mythology tells us of the ancient King Sisyphus, who was punished by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it come back to hit him, repeating this action for all of eternity.

This story always comes to mind when people ask me why companies should hire a recruitment agency.  It comes to mind because I believe it illustrates one of the most compelling cases for working with a recruiting firm.

Depending on the size of your business, your internal Talent Management infrastructure and your talent needs, the cost/benefit analysis of hiring outside help can certainly vary.  But there are certain variables that ring true no matter what the situation.

Any new hire requires certain demands (costs) from your Talent Management function.  Demands such as advertising, coordinating, evaluating (and re-screening), interviewing (and re-interviewing), reaching consensus, offer negotiation, checking references, etc…  Now imagine this process is the proverbial boulder in the story of Sisyphus.  Imagine that bringing the right candidate to the brink of hire represents pushing that boulder to the apex of the mountain.  And finally…imagine that boulder rolling back down to hit you.

Perhaps ‘eternal punishment’ is a stretch, but there are certainly consequences to the story, most notably your time and the company’s expense.

Thus, one of the most compelling reasons that companies hire recruitment firms is illustrated.  When the boulder comes crashing back down the hill, it is the firm’s time and expense that has been sacrificed, and the internal Talent Management team’s that has been saved to apply towards further development of existing human capital, culture, etc.

Other Advantages to Hiring a Recruiting Firm

The direct efforts that can result in lost time and expense are easy to imagine (and even quantify), but there are also more subtle examples of advantages that recruiting firms bring to the table which should be considered.

Candidate Database and Networking

Agencies are in the business of continuously building, refining and cultivating their networks.  This gives employers access to a much broader and deeper candidate pool.  One that has been more thoroughly vetted, and that can produce quality applicants quickly, and not just from job posting responses.

Sourcing Passive Candidates

Active candidates, or those actively seeking new employment, are the easiest to find.  Unfortunately, they only represent about 20% of the workforce, at most…and they often do not represent the most qualified candidates.

Through continuous networking, recruiting agencies are able to interact with passive candidates, those who are not actively searching for a job.  Often, the most qualified candidate for a company’s need is someone they may not know would be interested.

Their Role as Consultants

Quality recruiting firms spend the time necessary to make sure candidates and companies are a long-term fit for one another.  Simply put, great recruiting agencies get you the right candidates, not just a pool of applicants.

From the company perspective, a consultative recruiting firm seeks to understand not only the technical skills desired, but also the soft skills that are important to the company mission, vision and culture.  They do this by thorough and effective communication with hiring managers, and any other parties that have input and consequence for and from the hiring process.

From a candidate perspective, it is certainly important that they understand the long term vision and culture of the company, but also the long-term career opportunities that the position affords.  Matching up both a candidate’s qualifications and aspirations, along with company needs, is absolutely critical.

This consultative approach may take more time on the agency end as well as investment by the company, but it increases the likelihood of more quality, long-lasting placements.  It shows the company that the agency is putting their long-term success first, which will ultimately result in a lasting relationship between employer and recruiter.

Finding the Right Recruiting Agency

Working with the right recruitment agency can save a company time and expense, provide access to a broader and more qualified pool of candidates, and help leverage a company’s resources in a more efficient and scalable fashion.

The right agency seeks to build lasting relationships with client companies by placing their long-term success in front of short-term transactional goals.

By taking a consultative, service-based approach to the hiring process, the right recruiting agency can play a critical role in a company’s growth and success…and in theirs.