Why recruiters need to consider retention

As a recruiter, it is obviously important that you match an employee and potential employer well. Aside from the obvious issue of compensation, there is the longer term issue of your reputation (you know what I mean - if too many of your placements don't "work out" you end up wearing this reputation and it can be hard to shake).


So whilst I know recruiters are all nodding in agreement with me "yes, retention is important", what are you actually doing to ensure that you have as much control as possible over this issue?
Most recruiters tell me the same things:
  • know the employer/manager,
  • know the office culture/environment,
  • know the candidate,
  • understand the needs/requirements of the employer,
  • understand the wants of the candidate,
  • ensure the candidate has all of the relevant qualifications/experience AND in the case where there might be a shortfall for a perfect candidate, ensure there are pathways for this to be fulfilled by both the employer and candidate.
Straightforward right? This is just part and parcel of being a recruiter - but what is it that GOOD (nay GREAT) recruiters do that increases the likelihood of successful retention?!
They make sure there are policies and procedures in place! Now, a lot of recruiters at this stage of the conversation start saying things like "well that's out of my control", "well that's up to the employer"; but a truly great recruiter will know that there are things you can do to ensure you have the best possible environment for success!
  1. The employee - the first thing you want to do is test and measure the resilience of the candidate (see our previous article here for tips). You want to find out how the potential candidate takes a scare - will they fight or fly? WHEN you know the answer to this, you need to communicate it to the employer. If you think the candidate they like could be a bit flaky at the first sign of trouble, or if they are likely to burst into tears when someone raises their voice - you want to communicate this to your client. If they are a tough old boot, let your potential employer know they might be resistant to change. It's not about changing the candidate, it is about communicating to the employer the type of employee they will be!
  2. The employer - the next thing you want to do is ensure that the employer is truly giving the new employee every chance of success. I recommend you find out what the employer offers to the employee, eg: are there social clubs/groups, are there performanced based rewards, what culture does the employer have and what grievance procedures do they have for failure of performance (either from the new employee OR from the employer themselves).
So, it is actually more in your control that you think. Recruiters can indeed increase the chances that a new employee will be happy in a role, that an employer will see the good points of the candidate enough to look past the initial teething that can occur!
Lastly I thoroughly recommend that you have a process to follow up both your employer and the new employee. Too many recruiters think one phone call a week in is enough. Make sure that you have some clear questions to ask, so that you can pre-empt any potential issues that may be building up and ensure that you have the opportunity to correct them before it is too late and you do have to offer a compensation of some sort!

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