“Won’t we lose control of hiring?”

Case Study

“Won’t we lose control of hiring?”

Concern: Outsourcing recruitment v client control

As part of RTM’s problem-solving approach to recruitment, we spoke with Director of Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), Nicola Dunne, to tackle the common concern that outsourcing your hiring means being left outside in the cold. Here’s what industry expert Nicola had to say.

What would you say are the common misconceptions about recruitment outsourcing?

A common misconception is that the client will lose control over their recruitment process and that there's more risk than benefit to outsourcing. However, often the reality is that there’s more lack of control within the client’s current systems, as resource is being stretched so thin to support the recruitment, that critical business development areas get overlooked.

In recruitment there is sometimes the belief that we don't have the same ethical or professional standards, so our services often get compared to buying a used car or a property. If you've come across a dodgy car dealer or estate agent in the past – or had a bad experience with a recruiter, that can lead to this reputation in the market. So, we make it our goal to provide a first-class experience from the very start of the relationship.

There is a misconception that we do what we do to just get the hire, opposed to us caring about the happy person in the job and the real matchmaking. It really is about understanding the business need for that one hire, not the overall business case, finding that perfect match for the team fit. That’s when you really see both hiring managers and recruiters energised and delighted that they've done a cracking job.

Do a lot of businesses think they can do recruitment on their own?

Yes. Everybody thinks the can recruit and so our teams spend a large proportion of time educating on what the end-to-end process actually entails. From an outsourcing perspective, there’s so many strands to the service we offer. We’re effectively making improvements to the client brand and implementing best practises in the recruitment process - like not leaving 100 people sitting in the pipeline and not talk to them for 6 months.

There are also sensitivities from a D&I perspective, where some managers just aren't equipped to ask the right questions or respond in the right way, so not just about looking at CVs, it has a much greater business impact and getting it wrong will bring costly consequences.  

What makes your team particularly successful when it comes to getting results?

One of the huge benefits we bring is expertise to both the process but also demonstrating that we have our finger on the pulse in terms of what's happening in the market. I call them candidate whispers. Being able to be ahead of the curve in terms of viewpoints on competitors and provide insights into why a candidate wouldn't come to that particular client. For example, being able to say we’ve found that 8/10 people don't want to enter the recruitment process because it's found that your leadership team have a poor reputation in the market or there's lots of turnover etc. It’s about bringing that data and industry knowledge.

What could alleviate a client’s concern over losing hiring control?

The first side is being able to demonstrate that you truly care and understand the client’s concerns. Then it's about visibility on performance and setting expectations around what they expect to see in month one, 2, 3, 6, etc. Having an agreed set of principles and details you're going to report on helps with this – then once you start actually making it happen, you can keep the client aligned on as much as they want to be.

Monthly quarterly business reviews are invaluable for removing any concerns as once the client has confidence in what we’re doing, people begin to let their grip soften and handover the reins a bit more. Once the relationship is established and you begin ticking HR, stakeholder, or Director boxes, we can really start to achieve great results. For example, if they see we're bringing in hires within 35 days when before it used to take 60 days, their cost per hire drops and the business impact is stronger, generating roles, converting into revenue, and generating hires quicker.

What are the benefits of embedding your team within the client brand?

There’s a huge number of benefits from being on-site with a client 24/7, but the main benefit is cultural alignment. We almost go into the client environment as a white label. Our teams immerse themselves so deeply in the client’s world that the challenge we have our side is reminding our teams that they're employed by us!

We are social animals and there are so many things you miss if you're not present – like the nuances and sensitivities that emerge from building relationships. We've all learnt we can clearly do that working fully remotely from home too, which you'd never have thought before the pandemic. Everyone is much more technology savvy now but there’s still something to be said about being there for those water cooler moments, being in those day-to-day situations, on the ground with your client.

For us, it’s about total alignment and being sensitive to the environment to understand what's truly going on.

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