Deciding whether or not to hand over your recruitment process to an agency is a decision that really depends on the values and priorities of your business. Yes, there are benefits to recruitment agencies; they cast a very wide net and are often good at reeling in candidates for very niche jobs with tight specifications, but they can also be costly. It’s all well and good for them to pull in highly qualified people but what about culture? How does someone outside of your company know the kinds of people who will fit in?
1. Information and creativity
When we set up UKFast, we read a lot of business and marketing books, and one of the most influential was Jim Collins’s Good to Great. His research on companies that achieved greatness illustrated an approach that we now emulate. He said that the leaders of these companies started by getting the right people on board (using the metaphor of a bus driver) so that the focus was not on where they were going but on getting the right people in the right seats. Our company culture is slightly different from many other companies with a focus on fun and creativity in the workplace. Our core values drive the whole recruitment process as we look for people who are dynamic, innovative, passionate, professional and, above all, supportive.
2. CVs and attitude
Having an in-house recruitment team means that you are more likely to get great people on the bus before you start off on your journey or, if you’re already an established company, before you make a change in direction. External recruitment agencies might pull in candidates with sparkling CVs but is this really the most important thing? Skills can be taught but what about attitude? That’s harder to change. We’ve made the mistake of hiring people in the past who have had great qualifications and skills but who, when introduced into the team, have created discord. When you take on new people, they will either strengthen the culture or dilute it. Now we have our in-house recruitment team, labelled the Dreams Team, we can stick to our own bespoke process and hire based on our unique priorities, the highest of which is company culture.
3. Training and skills
A great friend of mine who trains for Tony Robbins in the US describes what we do perfectly: “I look for the skills in people you cannot teach.” Rich Cohen of the Anthony Robbins Foundation explains, “Once you have the right people on your team, you can teach them anything.” At UKFast, the Dreams Team, use social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn to reach out to great people. They also set up stalls at graduate recruitment fairs to seek out superstars. We have also invested in a small film team who create video content, which shows how life at the company works, viewable on our YouTube channel. These are all ways to get great people interested in your company. Applicants go through an online application, a telephone interview and assessment day with aptitude and psychometric testing before a final interview. People are what our business is about, so we like to be hands-on, and this is why an agency just wouldn’t work as well for us. It’s also less costly to keep everything in-house when you are recruiting large numbers of people.
4. Growth and superstars
When you are growing your business, it’s important to develop the talent you have internally. Having dedicated people recruiting and managing your people development helps identify superstars and allows you to promote from within. It’s very easy to think that outside talent is the answer, but it’s imperative to recruit senior people with an understanding of the existing culture of your organisation. This is why recruiting internally for a senior position is an integral part of every businesses development. Giving someone an opportunity that they might immediately feel is above and beyond their ability will engage your team member to grow and develop and rise to the occasion; above all you create tremendous loyalty by doing this.