June 24, 2018

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Working with Contractors and Clients

Recruiters try to place the most appropriate and qualified candidates to their clients, but sometimes problems between the client and the candidate do arise. The temporary worker may not necessarily know what their rights are and what (if any) action should be taken. A good agency respects both their client as well as the temp/contractor.

There are things that both the contractor and the agency can do to minimize any problems that may arise. Some companies may feel that the temporary worker needs to essentially be willing to be a type of servant to the company they're working in. They also need to realize that while certain companies are very supportive and complimentary to temporary workers, many are not. Sometimes the regular employees feel threatened by the temps' presence and the worker needs to know if they're being treated poorly because of their insecurity and know who to stay away from in these cases.

Regardless, the temp needs to feel comfortable if problems do arise to be able to speak to their agency about them. A good agency will, during the tenure of the assignment, check in with the worker as well as their client to see how things are going, and this helps the worker to be able to talk about problems that are going on. Once an agency is made aware of a problem, they need to figure out what type of action needs to be taken.

It is the primary responsibility of the agency to ensure both the client and temp are satisfied with the arrangement by keeping the lines of communication open. If a problem does arise, then the agency comes up with some solutions to rectify the situation. It is important to talk to the recruiter before trying to handle the problem yourself with the client company about any issues because if they have several grievances from multiple candidates, they may choose not to continue with that company as a client and they are able to document it as well.

Occasionally, agencies simply want to fill assignments with bodies and not concern themselves with how the temp feels about their position. A good firm will have a sense of how the worker feels and what they want to do. This can be ascertained by how well the recruiter listened to them when they explained what they want. This will help to ensure that if any problems arise that it'll be handled seriously by the agency.

If conflicts can't be fixed, then a good agency will also try to find another position that will work better for the temp.

There are many different types of issues that can come up with a client. For example, a primary contact for a company could switch job roles leaving you with a new contact to establish a relationship with. You may feel that replacing your original contact is the most important position to fill while the client feels it's most important to fill the lower positions. While this is a delicate position to be in, fall back on what your defined role is when working with the company. If you're not sure what that is, then request a clear definition. If your role is simply to fill open positions only, then just do that. The company may have to find out the hard way that you are right.

Candidate Quality Issues
Other clients are unsatisfied with the quality of the candidates being recruited. While there isn't a shortage right now with the unemployment rates being so high, there will be another crunch for qualified candidates much like the one in 1999 and 2000.

Now is the perfect time to look at your hiring practices and make some changes to reduce the number of low-quality hires.

  1. Who is a Quality Employee?
    Find out what your definition is of a quality employee and use it to select people in the future. Look at those who perform well and develop profiles of the skills and qualifications of what you're looking for. This isn't an exact science; you still need to leave room for creativity and growth. You are looking to improve your minimum selection criteria.

  2. Educate Hiring Managers
    Managers need to be able to help you determine the criteria to evaluate candidates against as well as what the objectives of the job are. Many managers don't know much about what it takes to assess a candidate. Hold seminars, do some research and get examples to help managers understand what they're looking for as far as skills, attitude, and organizational fit.

  3. Find new tools for the hiring process
    There are many new tools available online to assist in screening and selecting candidates that aren't being taken advantage of. Find some new tools, try them out and see if they'll work for you.

  4. Teach Yourself
    While you've been busy filling positions, take this time to learn something new within your profession or pick up a new skill. Do some reading on hiring processes, talk to other vendors and find out what they're doing in the selection and assessment process. Make sure you keep your competitive edge when the talent crunch comes again.

Working with Clients
What type of clients do you have? Are you simply a vendor or are you a business partner? A good recruiter becomes the business partner. You understand your client's needs and there is a mutual respect where the client knows YOU are the best person to handle anything they throw at you. So the question is how to change from being a vendor to becoming a business partner.

  1. Keep in Touch
    Don't just call your client occasionally looking for business. Ask them if everything is going well, make sure their needs are being satisfied, give them a status report, and talk to them in general. If it's been a few days since you've called, apologize and give a reason (not an excuse). This will help in keeping the relationship alive.

  2. Get Involved
    Find out about the business as a whole. Ask to attend business AND staff meetings (even if they don't let you attend) to get a feel of the environment, read department updates, track latest releases, and keep up to date on press releases. Show you understand their world, and make sure to focus on them.

  3. Make Your Efforts Known
    If you don't tell your clients what you're doing for them, they won't know. Talk about planned events and activities (career fairs, open house, recruiting functions) and invite them to experience the candidates so they know what's out there. Invite hiring managers to your office to meet recruiters and the support team and have an office lunch. It's easier to relate to people having seen them in person and eaten with them than have an anonymous person on the other end of the phone.

  4. Be Professional
    You will be seen as you present yourself. Make yourself clear about being a business partner and what you will do for them so you avoid a potentially uncomfortable relationship where you're doing things outside of your responsibilities. For example, writing a job description is the job of the hiring manager. Make sure THEY have a complete job description, you shouldn't be writing it. If you waste time doing this, you're not finding the best candidate. Partners will succeed, or fail, together.

  5. Prepare to Discuss What's Important to You as well as Them
    Make sure to handle all open business with a client before discussing new business. While the client may ask to hire for a difficult position, or calling back a candidate who is hard to contact, you need to follow through. While this isn't easy, always give them updates on where you stand with these items to show your progress before discussing a new candidate or resume. It shows your organization and allows your client to have the confidence that you're on top of things.

  6. Earn, and Demand, their Respect
    Your value is in your control of generating resumes and successful offers. Make sure your client realizes this by being assertive and setting standards you will accept and don't accept any less. Don't let them under appreciate or diminish you by taking credit for your work. This is an unfair relationship, and should be brought to a halt before the relationship comes to an end.

  7. Be Selfless
    A vendor is self-serving, but a business partner is founded on mutual success or failure and a shared effort will ensure success. An agency's success depends on the success of the company.
Most of all, understand the relationship with your client and don't expect more than what it is. If it's not enough, you need to play the game. Business partners are concerned about long-term relationships. A good business partner doesn't send poor resumes and expect their partner to succeed with a candidate who isn't the best fit for the position open. This results in a lot of time and money that could be put to better uses elsewhere. There is a level of excellence that must be attained.

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