Recruitment for small and medium sized businesses – Fishing vs. Farming

Recruitment for small and medium sized businesses – Fishing vs. Farming

You need people, but you’re not a major company with hundreds or thousands of employees. Maybe you don’t have a dedicated Human Resources person let alone an entire department at your beck and call.

Or maybe you do have an HR person, but that person is handling the day to day back-office duties of your business and doesn’t have the time or maybe the expertise to source candidates for you.

So, what are your options? Do you keep with the status quo, or is it timely or affordable to consider engaging an agency to support the growing requirements of your business? How do you find out?

You ask. A quick google search will help you find your local options as a local agency is generally more tied into the local/regional talent pool, trends and movement in the communities they work in.

Now not every business has a need for agency recruitment and for those that do, do not need it every time they want to hire. Chances are you have your own network to pull from and know the players in your industry and/or community better than anyone, and as you’ve grown your business, you’ve leaned on that network.

But sooner or later, every business gets to a point where it has exhausted the low-lying fruit and the hunt for talent has become tiresome or beyond their field of expertise. This is the time to consider whether an outside partner can help you get that next great addition to your team.

What sets the Recruiting Agency apart from what you are doing, or have been doing, is that we aren’t bound by what you’ve done in the past, only what you’re doing now and in the future. Generally, we’re specialized in sourcing talent just as you’re specialized in providing the services you do. Think about it like purchasing a television. If you’re truly passionate about technology, you will do the research. You will source out the best brands, the retailers that carry them, the trends in the technology, all to give you the best return on investment.

You do that because you enjoy it and it’s something you’re passionate about. Sourcing talent is the same. If you (or your HR) truly enjoy sourcing talent, it’s something that comes naturally and is part of what you, or they, enjoy about the job. But if you’re not passionate about it, or if you’re not adept at delving into hidden talent networks, sourcing and cold-calling candidates, it quickly becomes a frustrating exercise and ends up in what we refer to as “Post and Pray”.

Post and Pray is a term we use when posting a position and waiting for the talent to find the opportunity. Consider it like fishing, and while fishing has its place it’s not the end-all and be-all of recruiting talent. Fishing is part of a larger equation and not always a great way to guarantee your dinner. When you post your opportunity online or in any myriad of publications, you are essentially fishing and there is a difference between fishing and what I like to call “farming”.

Farming is not fishing. Farming is a long-term investment and requires countless hours of effort and maintenance. In Farming, you prepare the soil. You plant the seed. You monitor and feed the land to ensure that seed germinates. You coddle and cajole that little sprout until it’s big and strong and then you harvest it.

So agency recruiters are essentially farmers. We spend our time getting to know our candidates. We learn what makes them tick, what they need from a fitment standpoint. We learn what motivates them and what special considerations they have at home. And when we come across that client that has a specific need, we have a candidate that can fill that need from a professional and personal standpoint.

Now this isn’t to suggest that the agency “farm” is always ready to be harvested and anybody who tells you otherwise is…well…fibbing. Every field is different and so is every crop, which is to say your requirements are different than your competitions requirements, and your place in the world is built around what you have created.

Because of this, the chances are that you’ve created your professional world in your own special way and in order to feed that, the agency needs to ensure it has planted and grown the appropriate crop, and that’s not always the case. In fact, the field may need to be replanted, or the soil may need to be fertilized with more potent or diverse well…fertilizer. The recruiter (or farmer) may have to get back to planting, but thankfully, the recruiter (or farmer) is generally an expert at tilling the soil.

To summarize: You are a consumer of people. People are vegetables. Vegetables help you grow big and strong. Recruiters are farmers. Fishing is fun, but not a great way to get fed.

To get back to the original question of when to engage an agency? Sooner is better. The initial conversation doesn’t cost you anything and will give you the information to know, one way or another, whether or not bringing in a 3rd party is the right choice for you.

So make the call or send the email and set about having a conversation. Think about any farmer you’ve ever met…they love to talk about farming, don’t they?

Recruiters are no different, we love to talk about recruitment. Take advantage of the tools you have at hand and be wise in the use of your resources and you’ll be better equipped to handle the growing requirements of your business.

Written by Geoff Simpson, Business Development/Recruitment Consultant – Northern BC

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