If you’ve been in any sort of hiring capacity over the last several months - or even in a job seeking capacity - you’ve noticed that despite a super saturated market, it’s harder now more than ever to land the talent or role you need. Everyone is hiring, and everyone is looking for work - so it seems like there should be no issue. Yet still, transactional recruiting is killing the market. Here’s how we beat it to the punch.
Transactional Recruiting vs. Relationship-based Recruiting
When you think of the standard hiring process, you probably imagine that there’s an employer who posts a job online, qualified people apply, they review these applicants, interview the ones they like, and eventually make an offer of employment. There’s no middle man bringing the opportunity and the candidate together. This is transactional recruiting. In transactional recruiting, the people applying to those LinkedIn job postings are active job seekers - meaning, they’re either looking to make a move or are currently unemployed. These types of candidates are either desperate for a change, or desperate for income, and usually take the first job that comes to them. This can result in quicker turnover, bad hires, lower rates of job satisfaction, and so many more negative consequences that come from the transaction-like hiring process.
Relationship-based recruiting on the other hand, while offering a mix of active applicants and urgent hires, depend more on consultative “selling” and targeting passive candidates. Recruiters have an extensive network of employers and employees alike in their given industry, AND they have working knowledge in the industry that can be indispensable for hiring. They might know of companies closing, new technologies hitting the market, or other shifts in hires that can impact the open jobs market. With this insight they are able to look at currently employed, “passive” candidates and help them find a smarter career move that offers something their current job doesn’t - even if they aren’t looking to move jobs. This process follows more of a: client calls the recruiter they want to work with, then the recruiter looks to their own network and creates that bridge between the qualified candidate and the job opportunity. Because of the relationships the recruiter has built, they are able to make connections that would otherwise be missed if the employer were to just make a post on LinkedIn.
There’s merit in both recruiting styles. Sometimes, transactional recruiting can be very successful and can give people opportunity when they need it. However it tends to be a bandaid fix that requires future strategizing, creating more work in the long run. Relationship-based recruiting, with its personal touch and insight into people’s needs beyond a paycheck, offer a more long-term solution. This style also usually builds into a partnership, where a recruiter can supply a constant stream of top tier candidates, rather than just one-off hires.
Why Transactional Recruiting Doesn’t Work
Did you know that 20% of turnover happens in the first 45 days of work at a new company? This can be attributed to several factors, most of which are side effects of transactional recruiting. Maybe the candidate applied to the job description posted online, and accepted the job without knowing all the details. This leads to feelings of distrust. There could have been a lack of support within their first few weeks, where the person who hired them hasn’t made contact since. This absence of a long term relationship leads them to believe there is no one advocating for them behind the scenes.
Transactional recruiting, in its rush to fill a need, ends up leading to more open roles when that early stage turnover sets in. It feeds its own cycle of bringing people in fast, and losing them just as quickly due to poor handling. Sometimes there are too many applicants in the pool and the first one in gets the gig. Other times, the time allotted for hiring fills up quickly with reviewing resumes and contacting references and the decision has to be made before all candidates have been properly evaluated. In a similar situation, hiring managers could be worried about losing talent to competitors and in turn, hire too quickly. Whatever the reason, transactional recruiting often results in cutting corners - and recruiting is all about timing.
The simple nature of posting a job online and gathering a large pool of applicants can speed up the time it takes to get a resume on the desk, but can give hiring managers the anxiety of choice. They always want the best of the best, but it’s hard to know for sure what they’re getting when the market is so vast. According to Dr. Leaf, “Too many choices lead to bad decisions, indecisiveness, or dissatisfaction with a decision.” Worse yet, by only posting jobs and reviewing candidates from job applications, they’re missing a huge chunk of the market by not approaching currently employed, passive candidates. There aren’t enough hours in the day for leadership to review applicants, interview, run background checks, AND do their normal 9-5. It typically takes companies 100 hours over the course of 4 weeks to get an offer to a viable candidate. With millions of people in the workforce, they don’t have the time to weigh all their options and are often not satisfied with their final decision.
Why Relationships are Better
Relationship-based recruiting is here to help alleviate that buyer’s remorse. Because of their in-depth understanding of the hiring need, and the market the role is competing in, relationship-based recruiters can create long-term matches resulting in better retention. Great recruiters are better than bartenders, therapists, and best friends rolled into one. They’ll listen to client and candidate needs, delivering thoughtful results. Hiring is motivated by more than money. People invest a lot of emotion, time, and effort into career changes, relocations, and job moves. Recruiters know how to sympathetically yet effectively manage money, relationships, and emotions throughout the entire process. They offer onboarding support, ongoing candidate follow up, and act as an advocate for both the candidate and the client company when communicating between the two parties - making sure both are happy in the long run.
Relationship-based recruiters are in it for more than just one placement. In this long-term partnership, they will establish a 360° understanding of an organization, its team, and its needs both currently and strategically for the future. They advocate for the business by keeping an eye on the market, capturing talent when it’s available - not after it’s needed - sending clients alerts about top talent even when they aren’t actively hiring. When actively hiring, these recruiters don’t waste a hiring manager's time by just sending whatever applicants come their way - but by pre-screening candidates to ensure they are qualified with both the background experience AND the soft skills needed to do the job and feel at home with the company. Recruiters seek to learn from what’s working and what’s not in the world of employee retention, before a business has to learn the hard way with a bad hire. By consulting on what perks employees actually want - for example - they can advocate for what the candidate wants from their job, and give the client company positive action items they can use to make measurable outcomes with employee satisfaction. As more good matches are made, this mutually beneficial relationship grows and continues to produce good hiring outcomes for years to come.
How to Break out of the Transactional Cycle of Bad Recruiting
Unfortunately, transactional recruiting remains a fairly commonplace hiring practice. If you’re working with a recruiter already today, try to determine if they are transactional or relationship driven by watching their actions. As a client - do they have touchpoints outside of when you post a job? Do they follow up on the progress and successes of new hires? Do you find yourself wanting to refer friends, family, and colleagues to them? As a candidate - do they contact you outside of when they have a job for you? Do they ask about how satisfied you are in your current role, and celebrate positive answers? If any of these were met with a “no,” they are using a transactional recruiting approach and are not a good long-term choice for any organization or individual.
Now that you know how to identify the bad, you’ll have to start working on uncovering and engaging with top recruiters in your industry. Start by getting referrals to recruiting firms from other hiring authorities in your organization. Conduct the right research, looking for things like placement guarantees, high retention rates in placements, and repeat clients - NOT just cheap rates and fast turnaround times. Read online reviews from LinkedIn, Yelp, and Glassdoor. Google the name of the recruiter you’re looking to engage with, and see how they fare among industry postings (i.e. Do they have blogs written about the newest technologies in the space? Or do they not exist online at all?) Ask them questions. Get quotes. Shop around. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Just like making the right hire, it’s in your best interest to take your time when selecting a long-term recruiting partner.
Finally, although seemingly counterintuitive, know when and when NOT to work with a recruiter. Many hires can be made through your own internal network. When building out established business units, ask for current employee’s references or consider promoting someone up and filling the role internally. However, if you’re replacing someone confidentially, being discreet could be in your best interest. In that case, look for a recruiting firm that offers a privacy/confidentiality policy. Recruiters should be used for larger, strategic moves when your own network is lacking what you need. If you’re unsure how to properly support building out a new business unit, or if a recruiter would even be beneficial for a specific role, ask! Recruiters thrive on market intel and love to offer their expertise where they can. When working with a strategic, relationship-based recruiting partner, you’ll be rest assured in their honesty if a particular search is better for you to try filling alone.
How Blue Signal Kills the Average Transactional Recruiting Model
We’re All About Building Long-Term Relationships
Blue Signal offers every search a 12-month guarantee. The way we see it, our client’s success is our success. The more our clients hire great people, the more they’ll thrive, and the more help they’ll need to grow! 94% of our placements are retained after 12 months, meaning our impact lasts long after contracts are signed.
No matter the search, or the history we have with a particular company, we always work through our process from start to finish, giving the same white glove service to veterans that we do to new clients. With long-term partnerships in mind, we want to make sure that we make no assumptions about needs for the position and instead leverage knowledge from past engagements to give us insight into what will always be an ongoing hiring process. Instead of assuming we know the space and launching into taking shots in the dark, we transcend transactional recruiting by building a long-term relationship and using that as a stepping stone for future engagements.
We Place Priority on Good Matches, Not Temporary Fixes
The problem with the transactional recruiting model is that it places too much emphasis on getting someone hired fast, not getting the right person hired. People working with transactional recruiting firms often feel pressured to pick a candidate quickly, rather than doing due diligence and reviewing options. With relationship-based recruiting, recruiters will be able to better manage that emotional component - that “right” feeling you get when you know someone will be a good fit for your organization. In fact, 63% of Blue Signal’s candidates are promoted within 18 months of being hired - meaning these candidates are not only making an impact in the company, but are far exceeding the role they were originally hired for and are supporting long-term company goals.
“I really appreciated the fact that (Blue Signal) took the time to understand what we were looking for instead of simply throwing a bunch of resumes at us. I never felt pressured to move forward with a candidate that I didn’t feel was a good fit for the role.” - Electrical and Electronic Manufacturing, Hiring Authority
When choosing candidates that are right for the role, AND for the future of the organization, clients will hire better matches - not band-aid fixes. Blue Signal deploys a 12-point interview process that matches a candidate’s actual wants and needs with what a client can offer them. We match career aspirations, compensation needs, timelines, key motivators, and more to ensure that candidates line up with what the company can give them in the long run, not just because they can cut a check the fastest.
We’re Passionate about Helping People
When working with the right company, for any service, it’s always the greatest feeling knowing they have your best interests in mind. That’s how Blue Signal got to where it is! Each of our recruiters are passionate about helping people reach their goals - whether that’s building their own company into further successes, or by making a career move into a better opportunity. We’re not happy 'til you’re happy. The guarantees we’ve put in place and the processes we have established are all deployed to make sure whatever the match, that all parties are excited to start the work!
“(Blue Signal’s) drive to ensure successful, win-win placements for both clients and candidates helped accelerate our recruiting process, eased many of the burdens typically associated with recruiting efforts, and resulted in our making exceptional hires.” - Wireless Integrator, Hiring Authority
With over 220 combined years of recruiting experience, Blue Signal’s personal touch has built an incredible network of top performing candidates. Our current rolodex of contacts is priceless.
The methods we use to post jobs gain us excellent applicants, but more important (and a greater attestment to our success), is our list of referrals. 78% of recruiters find their best quality candidates through referrals. Transactional recruiting falls short by using only the here and now talent, and not leveraging an established referral network. By creating long-term relationships, Blue Signal keeps our candidate’s and client’s best interests in mind for far more than the immediate hiring need.
Here Lies Transactional Recruiting, Relationships for the Win
Armed with this knowledge, it’s difficult to go back to the old ways of transactional recruiting. Whether with Blue Signal, or with another firm out there, never settle for anything less than a partnership with your next recruiter. Remember to look for recruiters that make touchpoints outside of when you post a new job, recruiters that check in to see how your hires are faring, and recruiters that you’d refer to others. Leverage online reviews and your own professional network for referrals. Know when to - and when NOT to - work with a recruiter at all! And if you ever feel pressured - just like with a bad high school ex - break up with them. When you know what to look for in making the decision to work with a particular recruiter, remember that the right recruiter can change the trajectory of your company. For better or worse, the choice is up to you.
Blue Signal is always here to call upon if you have further questions, aren’t sure what your needs are, or just want a second opinion! Recruiters know the markets and the movements therein. With our focus on industries like wireless and telecom, IoT, information technology, finance and accounting, emerging technology, cloud and managed services, manufacturing and industrial, lighting, logistics and supply chain, food and agriculture, human resources, and medical and healthcare - leverage our expertise! We’d love to chat.