How many times has this happened? You open a job to your agencies and they begin submitting candidates. One by one you review the résumés, separating the candidates into “yes” and “no” piles, but quickly the flow of applicants turns to a trickle and the quality of candidates seems to stagnate--or even worse--decline. Your boss and HR is pressing you to fill the position and you throw up your hands, saying, "I need better agencies.” Your first reaction may be to put the job out to more agencies, but there may be something you haven’t considered... you!
As soon as the opening is in the hands of the agencies, too often the employer goes dark, or at least dim, but that’s the wrong approach. In our two years of research, what we’ve learned is that employment agencies will take almost any job order, placing the job into one of three buckets. We’ll call them Buckets A, B, and C. Here are the criteria:
Bucket A: The agency has direct communication with the hiring manager, the job expectations and salary range are believable, and the job has been out less than a week.
Bucket B: The agency has direct communication with the hiring manager, and the job requirements and salary expectations are believable.
Bucket C: It’s an open job, with a pulse.
A new client opportunity will almost always push any job to the A bucket, but only temporarily. Agencies prioritize, giving their highest attention to Bucket A, and will reevaluate on a weekly basis. Do you get it yet? As the employer, if you are not giving the specific feedback your agencies need to find your candidate--if you're not part of the process--if you don’t help them help you, then the job will go to Bucket C. And you do not want to be in Bucket C!
Bucket C is the like the Island of Misfit Toys, where job orders go to die. To avoid this, when giving agencies rejection feedback say what was right with the submittal then use the “Why, Why, What” method.
Good agencies are the ones who ask lots of questions up front and throughout the process. Let the agency know you’re approachable by engaging in a dialogue with them. Anytime you get a question, give the most complete answer possible and then invite follow-up questions to ensure they’ve got it. Put everything together and well-done feedback will look like this:
“Technically you're right on, but this candidate is not a fit culturally because they do not have experience working in a startup. We need someone who can be part of a close-knit team and can change course quickly. Let me know if you have any questions.”