How to build a constructive collaboration with external recruiters

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Michael Andreyev
December 19, 2022
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At Toughbyte, we find developers for companies as external technical recruiters and aim to build long-term relationships with our clients. However, making the partnership successful requires action on the companies’ part as well. Before you engage an external recruiter, you need to take a few steps to prepare, which we have covered in our blog post on how to choose a tech recruitment agency to work with, so check it out to learn more.

In this post, we’ll talk about what you should do after signing with a tech recruitment agency to make sure you have a constructive collaboration with them.

Establish clear communication and expectations

The first thing that usually happens after you sign the contract with an external recruiter is a kickoff call or meeting where they collect all the necessary information on your company and position and fill a recruitment assignment. If the recruiter shares a pre-filled assignment before the call, try to fill in as much information as possible to save you the time it would otherwise take to go through each point on the call.

If you are unable to answer all the questions on the position, such as those on your company’s tech stack or the must-have and nice-to-have skills the candidates should have, ask your technical colleague who can provide this information to join the call. Doing so will eliminate the unnecessary back-and-forth between you and your tech team that might be busy with other tasks and take too long to reply. Another thing worth doing in advance is preparing additional materials to tell the candidates more about your company and help the recruiters better represent you during the interview. These include presentations, videos, blog posts and social media links.

Make sure to communicate your needs and goals during the kickoff call so that the agency understands the profiles they should look for. Cover the key areas, such as years of experience, must-have and nice-to-have skills, the compensation you’re offering, the tasks you expect the newly hired employee to perform and your company’s mission & values.

Ask the recruiters to provide quick updates on the progress made each week. Also, agree on when you expect to reach certain milestones, e.g. the first candidate presented within two weeks, X candidates - by the end of the first month, etc. Set communication guidelines for the recruiters - which channels to use, who to contact on your side and when, what to include in the candidate presentation email and so on.

Another crucial aspect of building a constructive collaboration with external tech recruiters is being responsive and timely in your communication. Don’t make them wait for your reply or chase you for updates on their candidates for days. If you can’t reply on time or haven’t yet received feedback on the candidate, inform the recruiters so that they can update the candidate.

If there are many topics you need to discuss with the agency regularly, schedule a weekly sync-up call. If you’re unavailable on specific days or someone on your team is substituting for you during your absence, inform the recruiters that they won’t hear from you and introduce them to your colleague well in advance.

It is also critical that you inform the recruiters of any known candidates. Tell them if they present someone you have already interviewed or received via another recruiter to avoid misunderstanding and help the agency adjust their sourcing parameters.

Foster a positive working relationship

We’ve covered the importance of providing external recruiters with timely updates on their candidates, but that’s not the only factor that matters when it comes to productive collaboration. If you reject a candidate, give constructive feedback. Explain why this person didn’t meet your expectations. The recruiters will then adjust their search criteria and improve the quality of the candidates they present.

Be open to the recruiter’s suggestions and expertise. They will provide valuable feedback on your positions and the interview process, if needed. For example, they can suggest improvements to your search criteria, help you decide what salary range to offer and improve your employer branding. They can also help make your job ads more enticing for potential candidates. To learn more about making a job description appealing, check out our blog post on how to write a good developer job ad.

If there are difficult topics to discuss, jump on a call rather than sticking to email. Calls are more helpful since, unlike email, nothing gets overlooked or misinterpreted, and you can agree on the necessary actions faster.

If the contact person on your side changes, inform the recruiters and do an intro. Also, brief the new contact person on the status of the agency’s candidates so that they know where each candidate is in the process and can take things forward smoothly.

Finally, if you want to reconsider a candidate you interviewed but didn’t proceed with in the past, you should inform the recruiters about it. The agency might retain ownership of this candidate for a certain period of time, so checking with them will help avoid potential disputes and reduce the amount of unnecessary work on your part.

Evaluate the success of the collaboration

Agree to review the agency’s performance regularly - monthly, quarterly or when pausing the collaboration. Consider the number of candidates they present and how those candidates did in the interview process. Pay attention to how quickly you’re providing feedback and whether the recruiters take it into account or not.

Assess the overall efficiency of the recruitment process, noting what works well and what doesn’t. Communicate this to the recruiters and see if they improve. If they are underperforming, but you’re otherwise happy with their work, change the locations they source from or the roles they work on to give them another chance.

Determine if the collaboration met your initial needs and goals. Regardless of whether you’re happy with the results or not, schedule a feedback call with the recruiters to let them know what you liked about their work and what they could have done better. You will maintain a good relationship with the agency and they will improve their processes to meet your expectations if you ever work together again.

Summary

Once you’ve partnered with external recruiters to fill your tech positions, building a constructive collaboration is the responsibility of both parties. To sum it up:

  • Start by clearly communicating your needs and expectations
  • Provide the recruiters with as much information on your company and position as possible
  • Agree to evaluate the results of their work and determine the timeline for reaching certain milestones
  • When you receive the profiles, provide constructive feedback on time
  • Be responsive and remember to inform the recruiters about your absence
  • Take their suggestions into account when considering improvements to your recruitment process
  • If you decide to reconsider the candidates you talked to in the past, take the agency’s ownership of this candidate into account
  • After reviewing the results of the collaboration, share your feedback with the recruiters to help them improve their processes

The time and effort you put into being constructive will make your experience working with a tech recruitment agency as smooth as possible.

Looking for external recruiters to help you with tech positions?