The Recruitment Royal Rumble

The recruitment Royal Rumble between Line managers, internal recruitment teams, the recruitment agency, the other panel recruiters and at time the candidates is a complex set of relationships that can create great team work, lasting relationships, competition and at times conflict (often within the same piece of recruitment).

The External recruiter shows the ‘best in market’ candidate to the Line manager, who then asks the internal recruiter to arrange an interview to see the candidate but the internal recruiter refuses as they are in need of some contractual terms as well needing to maintain a fair transparent recruitment process. At this point things can get tricky. Knowing that the line wants the candidate, the battle ground has got tougher for the internal recruiter when agreeing percentages, payment terms and guarantee periods with a well-trained recruitment predator who is an expert at exploiting this. It becomes even trickier when, the external recruitment agent is not even on the panel of recruiters that their competitors spent so much time investing in a recruitment tender process and giving up so much of their beloved recruitment percentages in order to be included. There are so many eventualities in this situation and it is easy to see that the relationship between line manager, internal recruitment teams and the external agency can at time be a difficult one and not always long lasting. So where do skills testing services fit into this Recruitment Royal Rumble? A valuable service to line and to internal recruiters as well as being a useful resource to the external agent who can also use the service to sweeten their recruitment stakeholders or use the service internally, you would think it would be straight forward.

“This all sounds great, I get it and would find it useful but you need to speak to HR?” is a common response we received when we first started marketing our product to hiring line managers. In rings similarities with some of the content of a blog written last year by Ben Batten, (Country General Manager at the VOLT – Singapore) who was articulating the difficulties external recruitment agencies face when working with internal recruitment teams. Although Examagram is not a recruitment service we were keen to know whether some of the early difficulties we had when marketing our product was similar to the difficulties faced by recruitment agencies.

Ben describes his early observations when he moved from Australia to Asia – “I moved to Singapore six years ago, and one of the first things that struck me, was that in the vast majority of cases, hiring managers do not have the same ownership over recruitment and hiring as I had experienced during my recruitment career in Australia. In fact, many hiring managers (who) are afraid of their HR colleagues and for fear of a beating, will many times refer any sales call directly back to HR. I may exaggerate a little, as on occasions this may be nothing more than an easy excuse. However, the reality remains that recruitment is a process (tightly) controlled in a lot of companies, by their HR and talent acquisition teams.”

In the remainder of the blog, Ben explains that due to cost drivers and the continual need to cut that recruitment budget, it appears that the internal recruitment teams are set to increase in size and importance in the future. It also concludes that in many parts of the world such as Asia, the recruitment process is a lot more tightly controlled by the internal recruitment teams.

In the early days of Examagram, we knew that we had to take a dual approach. Internal recruitment teams are busy and have a pressured work environment where they are continuously being asked to achieve the impossible when sourcing for candidates. Therefore the level of engagement is more limited amongst HR/ recruitment professionals with all new processes (not just Examagram) taking time to implement and to also get business buy in.

The reality has been that the understanding, interest and engagement levels in Examagram by CFO’s, Sales Directors and Customer Services & Operations Director has been a lot more fluid, something external recruitment agencies probably feel when they deal with the line managers in trying to sell candidates. The average Finance Director sees a lot of incentive in ensuring that his finance team can speak, read and write good English. He also sees great value in ensuring this is tested before he has to spend 30 minutes of his time interviewing a candidate whose communication skills are not fit for the purpose of the role. Regularly, a line manager will put us in contact with the HR or Talent Acquisition team in the expectation of including our service into their recruitment process. However, on some occasions the level of engagement from the internal Recruiter or HR contact will go dead and we were faced with the important question of asking WHY?

We knew it could not be on the basis of cost (similar to the difficulties to that of the external recruitment agency) as Examagram is a FREE English testing service tool. We also knew it could not be because of time as Examagram saves time by reducing lengthy pre-screen interviews or even reducing the amount of face to face interviews required. In a previous blog we have spoken about how a business intern (The rise of the intern) can provide project based assistance in ensuring that all potential candidates are tested. We have also spoken about the advantages of using Examagram prior or in conjunction with a face to face interview in Face or Fiction – a great recruitment myth?

Having thought about all of this and not being able to conclude, we decided to revisit a senior Talent Acquisition manager of a large Government Linked Company based in Malaysia to try and find the answer. In the first instant a Senior Operations Manager had put us in contact with this the Talent Acquisition Manager to discuss the service and their requirements.  After questioning him on why he had not implemented the service into the recruitment process, this is what he had to say:

“I tried your test it was great, I did not get top marks but that’s OK. I tried to speak to the management team about it but I found it difficult to articulate the concept and the benefit. I had watched your videos and done the test myself but that did not really help me when I was sitting in front of 4 or 5 senior members of staff trying to explain all of this. You have to understand that there really is nothing else like Examagram out there in the market so no one really understands how or why it is free or what your service proposal is. In the meeting I got it on the agenda and after a discussion in where I did not really have the right information to hand we put it on the “we will come back to it in the next meeting” pile which essentially meant we would not come back to it all. I got asked so many questions that I simply did not have the answers too. I know I should have pushed it harder, we do still use Examagram as it is a great service but have not written it into our official company recruitment policy yet.”

It was at this point that we realized the difficulties internal recruiters may face when implementing change even in their own areas of responsibility. We had naively thought that a free product and a clear benefit would be enough but we were wrong. We had to come to terms with the fact that in our belief that everyone would see the value in this then that would be enough, however, not everyone will assign time to understand Examagram or look into new services. What we did not factor in was that in order to explain the concept along with the service and to get buy in from the business, the internal recruiter had to also be able to “sell” our product to their own business. Our solution was easy, we put together a detailed service proposal that includes the information about the service level agreement, the testing process, history, case studies, Terms of usage and Privacy Policy. This has enabled the talent acquisition teams to take this information to the Senior Management team of their businesses expressing the information to line managers and more junior members so that they understand the service better. They can also articulate this to candidates why they want them to take the test and what the reasoning is for this. This has all contributed to a higher level of engagement from the internal recruiter. This is a lesson the external recruitment companies could also learn. Assuming they do have a great proposal, a smooth pitch and a great service may not be enough to stand out – after all isn’t that what all external agencies offer? Do external recruiters really give the internal recruiters enough differentiators within their proposal to put their company above the competition? Offering a business a free online English testing service in their own proposal would be a good start in their value proposition to their clients. This might just make them stand out above all others as it is important to their clients.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *