Building a network is the key to successfully placing consultants and contractors. Building and maintaining relationships with clients results in getting a "heads-up" before other recruiters on their upcoming needs. Let your new clients know about your best candidates a month or so before their contracts are up to build interest, and always stay well informed of their level of satisfaction with your consultants.
To build your relationship with the candidate, take time to listen to what they are looking for in their career and in life as well. While it may be inappropriate to probe personal issues, take note of those that the candidate shares with you - these are issues that they feel relate to their career path. Make sure you "stay in touch" by sending cards, voicemail, or email messages to keep your name in their minds and foster a relationship that allows you to really tune in to their needs.
Gathering referrals is another benefit to building relationships. Eagles fly together and your best consultants will supply you with the best referrals. You also start in a position of trust with a new consultant based on your successful placements in the past with their colleague. Tip: The most efficiently sourced skilled candidate is a quality referral. Never forgetting to ask for referrals will lower your cost per hire and cycle time.
W2s and 1099s
Tax status is an important consideration for consultants and contractors. Usually workers will be classified as a "W2" or a "1099". W2s will be paid as a regular employee, often with full benefits and other perks associated with full-time employment. Most importantly, they will have their tax withheld by the employer.
How does this factor into the recruiting process? The "hot-buttons" of a "W2" will usually be geared more towards benefits, career advancement, technological training and challenges. They may be more willing to compromise on their rates for the right position that meets these needs. Other important motivators include location, company environment, and the possibility of advancement or transition to a full time permanent position. In short, probe the areas that you might associate with a candidate seeking full time permanent employment to establish clearly where they would want to be placed.
"1099s" on the other hand are "true independents". They function like an autonomous company and are wholly responsible for providing their own insurance and other traditional benefits. Their financial needs are often greater and they may tend to compromise on the issues that are important to the W2 or full-time perm. Typically, they will be more money-motivated.
Tip: In establishing a good fit between your candidate and the client, make sure you get detailed information from the employer on the tax status of the consultants they are seeking. This could make or break a placement if discovered in the "eleventh hour."
Know Your Client
Getting good job specifications and thoroughly assessing the client is as important as determining your candidate's skills. This is critical in successful placements across the board, but in placing consultants and contractors it becomes even more relevant. You may occasionally feel like you are the one being interviewed by the consultant. Provide complete information on the tax status, corporate culture, specific task, lines of responsibilities, technology, and length of assignment, as well as the possibility for advancement or repeat placement. This will tell the candidate that you are professional, thorough, and looking out for their best interest. Again, relationship building is key, and indicating that you are looking out for your candidate by accurately assessing your job requisitions will help establish trust. Remember, you are "selling" the client to the consultant as much as the consultant to the client.
Getting Repeat Placements
Repeat placements beget good relationships between all three parties - candidates, clients and recruiters. Making repeat placements will lower your cost per hire by decreasing both your candidate sourcing allocation and the effort devoted to developing new client relationships.
If sales and recruiting duties are divided between two individuals in your organization, make sure that the sales representative calls on the client to assess their degree of satisfaction with the contractor that you've placed. If it's an exceptionally good fit between the contractor and the company, the company may want to retain this talent even if that particular project is over. Stay in touch and keep abreast of your client's needs to anticipate an opening that might fit your highly skilled worker.
Sales and Recruiting Working Together
When sales and recruiting work together, successful placements result. The relationship between the candidate and the client is modeled within the recruiting firm by the sales and recruiting arms. If the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing, valuable opportunities for up-selling, repeat placements and general client satisfaction will be lost.
We've stressed the importance of the recruiter understanding the candidate's "hot-buttons" and the sales representative understanding the client's needs - these strengths are doubled when an effective channel of communication exists between the two. Start the relationship-building process in the office with skillful handling of any challenges. Both parties need to buy-in to any process that affects sales and recruiting. Build trust by establishing strong lines of communication and keeping everyone's "eye on the prize", i.e. increased quality placements.