30/08/2011

By Bernard Morgan, General Manager, Computer Recruiter Ltd

In the current employment market where applicants far outweigh the number of posts, many small businesses are wary of using recruitment agencies as they are reluctant to pay the fees involved. But is this a case of false economy?

Let’s take a look at the various stages of the recruitment process and see exactly where a recruitment agency adds value.

Job Spec

However when you decide to recruit, it is essential to create a detailed and accurate job specification. Not only will it help you focus on the essential skills needed for the role, it will also form the basis of advertising, the interview process and even appraisals once the role has been filled. Be realistic in the job spec when categorising skills as either essential or desirable. Think about your likely requirements in the future as well as the skills you require now.

Advertising

Where you choose to advertise should depend on how specialised the skills required to fill the role are likely to be. If you are looking for a general labourer then your local newspaper or job centre may be the best option; alternatively, if the role is more specific then you need to advertise in a location which your target audience will be exposed to. As advertising costs are likely to be greater for more specific roles, it is definitely worth considering whether a recruitment agency which specialises in a particular area will be able to drastically reduce the costs of recruitment, as well as save you time.

Recruitment agencies regularly advertise on job boards at drastically reduced rates due to their frequent custom; this ensures you will not find yourself paying inflated fees on top of any advertising costs. Recruitment agency fees come in at just a fraction of the costs involved with regional or national advertising.

Recommendations

When choosing a recruitment agency it’s important to find a company which is well thought of in your local area and the industry as a whole. By flicking through the Yellow Pages or scouring the web you are unlikely to find a service particularly geared towards the needs of your business. A lot of agencies will jump at the chance to work with you. Of course they will; however, unless they understand exactly what it is you are looking for they will usually present you with a vast amount of candidates, of whom very few meet the required criteria (this is one of employers’ main gripes about recruitment agencies). It is important to pick an agency with an intricate understanding of your industry and a track record of targeting the right staff.

Processing Applicants

If you decide to advertise directly, be ready to sift through a huge pile of hopefuls (many from hopeful applicants who do not possess the required skills or experience). Recruitment agencies will carry out this process for you, saving you a vast amount of time and presenting you with a shortlist of suitably qualified candidates. In the current employment market it is not unusual for companies to receive over 500 applications for any particular role. The process of whittling down these applications can take weeks, costing your organisation time and money.

Once the shortlist has been drawn up the next step is to contact the remaining candidates individually to arrange a time and date for interview as well as responding to any queries they may have. With many candidates already in employment this can be a lengthy process as you try to fit an interview around their existing commitments. Alternatively, a recruitment agency will complete all such administrative tasks on your behalf, leaving your business free to concentrate on what it is you do best.

Computer Recruiter Ltd is a specialist IT recruitment agency based in Cardiff. Find out more here

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