7 Reasons to build strong relationships with temps/contractors
7 Reasons to build strong relationships with temps/contractors
Recruitment is a people business.
In a skills short market, being able to establish credibility and rapport quickly with potential candidates is critical to the success of any recruiter, whether executive search, permanent or temp/contract recruitment. It’s a highly competitive recruitment marketplace (over 100,000 recruiters generating over £35bn turnover), and candidates can choose who they wish to work with.
However, there are various reasons why it is particularly important to invest in building strong relationships with temps/contractors.
1) Better Matching
If you invest in building good relationships with your candidates, you are likely to gain a deeper understanding of your candidate’s skills, experience, motivations, and aspirations. A basic read through someone’s CV, and a 10-minute phone call (as I have heard some recruiters boast of as the sum total of their candidate screening!) will not give you the same in-depth understanding of a candidate as meeting them in person, or conducting a more detailed interview.
If you know the stuff that isn’t on the CV – the size of teams or projects they’ve worked with, the particular types of challenges they enjoy, how good their soft skills are when dealing with challenging stakeholders, and where they want their career to go in the next few years – you will be much better able to match candidates to the right assignments. You will know how to play to their strengths and not put them in the position of having to overcome their weaknesses.
2) More Powerful Marketing
Having access to high demand, short supply talent that the client cannot access elsewhere is a powerful marketing tool. Even if a client has a Preferred Supplier List, if you have someone they need in their business, and because you have built a strong relationship with that candidate they are working exclusively with you, the client will have to give you their business if they want access to that candidate.
The initial call you make to market that candidate will also be much more powerful if you know the candidate’s key achievements and can really ‘sell’ what value they can add to the client, rather than simply reading a CV at them. If you have a strong relationship with the candidate, you will be genuinely invested in securing that candidate great opportunities – and that will come across in the calls you make. If you aren’t excited about your candidate, how can you expect your client to be?
3) Industry Knowledge
If you are a specialist recruiter, one of the things that will determine your credibility with clients and candidates is the extent of your understanding of the finer points of your chosen industry. If you recruit Civil Engineers, for example, you don’t need to have all the technical knowledge required to design a building (if you did, chances are you would be a Civil Engineer yourself), but you do need to understand what skills and knowledge are required to do that. You should also be aware of changes in the industry, and what trends are emerging that might impact on the skills and expertise required in future.
If you have a great relationship with your candidates, you can ask them questions that expand your knowledge, and share information you have obtained from other sources that might be useful for them.
4) Market Intelligence
Temp/contract staff generally work across a wide selection of organisations. Each time they are on an assignment they meet and build relationships with people within that organisation, and may still be in contact with them after they have left.
They have firsthand experience across the industry, and this puts them in a great position to understand how their market is likely to evolve, and who the key players are in moving the sector forward. They may also be ‘in the know’ with some of the industry rumours and gossip – not always reliable of course, but interesting nonetheless.
When clients hire temp/contract workers, it is generally important to them that the worker completes their assignment to the due end date. Although the likelihood of this happening depends to a large extent on their own actions (how well they welcome, onboard and integrate the worker into their business), the relationship you have with your candidate can also play a massive part.
If an assignment is not as exciting or challenging as initially hoped, if you have a strong relationship with the candidate, they may be happy to complete the assignment safe in the knowledge you are looking for something better for them when this one comes to an end. If they have no loyalty to you and see another opportunity with another recruiter, they might leave the assignment prematurely.
If the assignment is dreadful (if there is a personality clash with their line manager, for example), and the candidate feels no loyalty to you, they may just walk out with no notice. If you have a good relationship with them, they may be prepared to work a short notice period while you find a replacement.
A loyal candidate is hugely valuable, but loyalty is something you have to earn.
The sixth reason for building strong relationships with your candidates is to generate referrals.
And not just candidate referrals.
If you are giving an exceptional service and your candidates have a great experience (and trust you to do the same for other people), they will be much more likely to refer their connections to you as candidates. All you have to do is ask*.
Remember candidates can also refer you to their contacts who may be hiring managers.
And under AWR, all agency workers must be given access to information about internal recruitment opportunities as part of their Day One rights. That can be useful information too.
7) Job Satisfaction
The last thing to remember is that working with people (candidates, clients, colleagues, suppliers) that you have a great relationship with makes your life much more enjoyable!
* Many recruiters fail to ask for referrals. Remember the old saying ‘don’t ask, don’t get’? Referrals can be your number one source of temporary/contract candidates – but only if you take ACTION and ASK for them!