What Is Exclusive Recruitment?
Exclusive recruitment is when a business only works with one partner on each role. Rather than hand the role to multiple contingent recruiters, one recruitment agency takes on the order and works to fill it.
It usually means a closer relationship where the recruiter gets to know the business well and can better embody their brand, while putting more time and effort into getting the right person for the role. While it can initially seem like more time and money can be spent with exclusive recruitment, for difficult-to-fill roles, exclusive is more likely to get the job done faster. (And therefore, less expensively.)
At a recruitment conference a few years ago, the speaker asked the crowd to put up their hand for the number of roles they fill from 10. A few went up at two out of ten, more at three, and the majority at four.
I hesitantly put up my hand at nine, wondering if I’d misunderstood the question. I hadn’t.
The difference? Most of the room were contingent recruiters while Solutions Driven works on an exclusive recruitment basis.
Contingent Recruitment is Broken
Just how broken it is often isn’t realised because the industry is so used to contingent recruiting. Contingent recruitment suffers because, even if it wants to, there’s no time to become a true consultative partner to businesses.
Every recruiter is constantly competing with multiple others, making speed vital, and value-add and insights less so.
That means contingent recruiting gets less buy-in from clients. And less buy-in from clients means less trust and more roles sent out to multiple recruiters. There’s continual competition between recruiters to be the one that fills the role. Which adds up to a continual need for speed, and less time to act as a partner and provide that value-add.
Clients Use Recruiters as an Afterthought
When there’s little buy-in and little accountability, hiring managers bring in recruiters as an addition to their own efforts. As a push for their own team to get things done or in the hope that in using multiple avenues, one of their strategies will come through.
Not only do recruiters end up working on a “lottery” basis, they do it in competition with multiple other agencies. Recruiters end up wasting time on unpaid roles and the recruitment business struggles to make a profit. Clients get frustrated dealing with low-level recruiters who don’t have time to properly invest in roles and find quality candidates.
In fact, 76% of Hiring Managers say that attracting quality passive candidates is one of their biggest concerns.
It’s a vicious cycle.
And it Affects Your Employer Value Proposition
Candidates are annoyed by continually being contacted by recruiters for one role. It devalues the job in the candidates eyes. Recruiters don’t have time to do proper screening, proper scoping, and proper candidate engagement. They make candidates feel like “just a number”.
Talentlyft recently revealed 69% of people who have a bad candidate experience won’t apply for another role with the company. 69% would also tell their friends and family about a bad experience, further tainting your EVP.
Exclusive Recruitment Solves These Problems
The chart above (inspired by Greg Savage’s excellent blog) illustrates the problem with the industry and the opportunities perfectly. When a recruiter works exclusively, the “first past the post” mentality becomes a thing of the past and they can dig more comprehensively into the role or project.
The recruiter can find people who are a perfect fit, both for the role and the company, rather than just sifting through CVs. They secure client buy-in, meaning they have time to work with them on scoping out what “great” looks like and what the client’s objectives are.
They can dig deep into the market and provide insights, look for passive candidates who fit the brief exactly. And they preserve the client’s EVP through engaging candidates and treating them well.
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Exclusive Recruitment Actually Saves Time
Exclusivity may seem like it will take longer. But, in a lot of cases it takes less time due to one recruiter or recruiting company being totally focused on the results. It also results in far more “right first time” hires. This saves hiring managers having to redo the whole process just months later.
The client gets to work with one engaged recruiter to create a better chance of getting the right person, rather than multiple recruiters who are unlikely to succeed.
The client also gets accountability. Rather than the recruiter saying “sorry, we couldn’t find anyone”, exclusive recruiters have to get the right person. And in the unlikely event the hired candidate doesn’t work out, exclusive recruiters will redo the role free of charge. At Solutions Driven, we work on a 12-month guarantee, meaning we’ll refill that role for free if they leave within 12 months.
The client receives regular check-ins and feedback on how the search is going and gets valuable intelligence that can help them in future hiring processes.
Exclusive Recruitment Benefits the Whole Industry
Recruitment has a bad rep. We know. But the way recruiters are expected to work is part of the cause for that. They manage multiple roles, often with no payment for hours of work, and end up spreading themselves too thin to complete.
If more businesses worked on an exclusive recruitment basis, the problems associated with the industry would dissipate. Everyone is paid for their work, because their work had to be completed.
Recruiters wouldn’t need to take on as many roles to hope one paid off, so they’d be able to do a thorough job. And hiring managers and Talent Teams would obtain talent partners they could work with long-term to benefit their hiring processes.