Article originally appeared on Forbes.com
If you work in HR or recruiting, you might have heard the buzz around agile recruitment services recently.
Although it certainly sounds nice on paper (who doesn’t want to be agile?), there’s some confusion surrounding the term. At Qualigence, we’ve been offering agile recruiting services for 20 years now. As such, I have some thoughts to share on why agile recruiting is so relevant in today’s hyper-competitive labor market. Let’s make sure we’re on the same page with this term first and foremost.
Agile Recruitment Services Explained
Agile recruitment services are basically on-demand recruiting services. Whereas traditional recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) or retained search models operate with long-term, detailed contracts, agile recruitment is all about getting your company the specific and timely recruiting support it needs.
Different companies will define agile recruiting in different ways, but essentially it refers to flexible, responsive recruiting models.
It’s no secret that the recruiting industry has a bit of a bad reputation. Recruiters get a bad rap for poor candidate quality, poor candidate experience or even a lack of candidates in general. Unfortunately, a lot of these issues are caused (or exacerbated) by the nature of our recruiting practices.
A Look At Traditional Recruiting Models
Take in-house recruiting teams. Demand for recruiting services naturally ebbs and flows, and businesses typically staff to the mean. If they hired enough recruiters to handle spikes in demand, they would be wasting money during slow periods. If they staffed to slow periods, they would be completely overwhelmed when demand rises.
This means that there are often three to six-month periods where recruiters are overworked and overwhelmed and simply cannot make quality submittals at the volume expected by hiring managers.
Recruitment process outsourcing carries some of the same limitations. While the average RPO contract has shortened from three years to two, it is still far too long and rigid for today’s ever-evolving marketplace. Businesses will inevitably lose money in the RPO contract when hiring is slow.
Furthermore, it makes it hard to adapt on the fly to new shifts and trends. In today’s day and age, it is important that businesses be able to rapidly respond to new consumer demands, regulations and other changing circumstances. Businesses need recruiting solutions that they can adjust and reevaluate on a monthly or even weekly basis.
An Elegant Solution To Changing Recruiting Needs
Naturally, the most obvious benefit of agile recruitment services is the cost-savings associated with their flexibility and scalability. Anyone can see the benefit of only paying for recruiting services when you need them or using a “pay-as-you-go” approach to handle high demand. When demand falls again, the business doesn’t have to lose money with an overstaffed recruiting team or lay off any recruiters.
It’s also important to keep in mind the adaptability that agility offers an organization. There’s a lot to be said for being able to quickly implement new initiatives or ramp up staffing in a short period of time. Utilizing agile recruitment, companies can tackle their short-term hiring needs without a long-term commitment or costly contract.
Even if you won’t be using agile recruiting services at your company, the rise of this recruiting model is a good excuse to ask yourself how you can make your process more adaptable. Below are three points to consider when reevaluating your talent acquisition strategy.
1. Build a strong talent pipeline: Every company hustles to build their talent pipeline when they have lists of open requisitions. However, a lot of businesses will neglect the pipeline when hiring is slow. Unfortunately, this can make it hard to keep up with demand when hiring needs inevitably spike. Keep track of past candidates and try to stay in contact with candidates even when you don’t have open positions to suit their line of work. For example, try to spark up conversations that you’re always looking for great professionals and build a genuine relationship by asking about their career goals. Finish by asking if they want to stay in touch — in which case, you know who to reach out to when a position opens.
2. Bolster your employer brand: Piggybacking off the last point, a strong employer brand is crucial for a strong talent pipeline. Companies should always be working on the brand with promotional materials and content on social media. Furthermore, keep a close eye on reviews on Google and Glassdoor and make sure you’re responding to negative reviews and reporting any that are obviously fake. Lastly, don’t be afraid to sell your geographic location. Here in Detroit, we put a lot of effort into showcasing all that our city and state have to offer. Candidates from other regions sometimes put the Midwest in a box, but this happens with every region. Get the drop on negative perceptions with marketing materials that impress candidates.
3. Shorten and simplify the process for candidates: One of the biggest frustrations as a candidate is submitting your resume and then being asked to fill out a form detailing your work experience. Unfortunately, tons of companies still subject candidates to this miserable process. Likewise, many companies still make candidates go through three rounds of interviews or complete several tests. If companies want to be able to recruit top talent on a tight time frame, they need to make it short and sweet for candidates to apply and interview.
There’s a reason why agile recruitment practices are drawing a lot of attention — they work! In today’s fast-paced labor market, talent acquisition teams need to make sure they can keep up. If you work in talent acquisition, now is the time to ask yourself if you can sustainably meet hiring needs with your current process.