Find the Right Recruiting Partner. Build the Right Relationship.

Find the Right Recruiting Partner. Build the Right Relationship.

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 20, 2017

0 Hiring Strategies and Tactics get connected

Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your relationship with your recruiting partner!

For us its eye opening to talk with a new or prospective client to learn why they became unhappy with their former staffing agency or recruiter and turned to PACE.   While we certainly don’t want to send them back to the recruiting service they just left, we often learn that to deliver a real service difference, we  need to re-frame how they view  their  recruiting partnership, in particular their role in that partnership.

The operant word in our discussions with new clients is always  “partnership” = where both parties agree to work together to achieve a common result.

Below are 8 things employers can do to get the most of out of their relationship  with their recruiter.  These are things that apply to all recruiting partnerships, whether they involve a third party agency, independent recruiters, or internal recruiters assigned by your HR team to support your recruiting needs.

  • Communicate with your staffing partner proactively – before there is an actual need.  It’s never too early to engage your recruiting partner – to let them know what type of staff you might be looking for in the next 3-6 months or to  involve them in the planning for an upcoming staffing project.  While there will always be staffing needs that come up “last minute”, the  more time your recruiting partner has to proactively recruit for the type of employees you will be needing, the better the candidates they will be able to provide, the more efficient your hiring process.

The right partner will want to profile your team even before there is a business need. By knowing what your team does, what types of skill sets are important to your team’s performance, what factors are important to your culture and individual success, the more they can proactively pipeline candidates for your future needs.  They can also make you aware of candidates who would be a good fit for your business even when you don’t have an open need but might like to make a place for the “right” talent.

The bottomline for you is that when you are under pressure to find a staffing solution quickly, they will already be prepared!

  • Provide great information up front and throughout the recruit. Before you ask your recruiting partner to begin a “search”, make sure you update the current job description.  The job content needs to be accurately  described; the required skills, experience, and work style of the “right candidate” clearly defined.

If, as part of interviewing candidates or new stakeholders, a new requirement is uncovered, let your agency partner know right away.  Even though an experienced recruiter will be able to anticipate the range of candidates that might “fit”, they cannot read your mind.  Ongoing communication with your recruiting partner, from the point of request to when the employee actually begins work, is key to great hiring outcomes.

  • Place your staffing requests exclusively!  While many clients believe that when it comes to third party recruiters, some competition is necessary, in reality, the opposite is true.

Recruiting, like most professional services requiring an up front commitment of resources, is not a service that works well in most competitive settings.   Imagine the impact to your attorney, for example, if you asked them and two other competitors to prepare a contract, with only one being paid for the contract you selected.   Would you get anyone’s best?  The same is true in recruiting where the best recruiting agencies won’t work on a recruiting assignment unless they know they can work on it exclusively.

In the contingent staffing world, where agencies earn their fees when their candidates are actually hired or put to work on a temporary assignment, asking multiple agencies to compete for the same placement, is not a winning scenario for either the agency or their employer client.  Recruiting agencies need to charge more for successful hires, in order to absorb the costs of the unsuccessful ones.  Candidate quality can be compromised when the need to move quickly out weighs the need to move thoughtfully.  In the heat of competition agencies will refer candidates who are   “immediately available” rather than committing recruiting time and resources to find a candidate who is a better fit.

At PACE, we provide our clients with significant pricing discounts for exclusive staffing requests because we know that exclusivity  produces the best outcomes for our clients.

  • Be generous, straightforward, and timely with feedback. There is nothing like candid, ongoing communications to create a truly partnered recruiting relationship.

Regardless of how clearly you think you have communicated your recruiting requirements,  a good recruiter will uncover your real needs based on the feedback you provide throughout the hiring process.

  • Review candidate referrals quickly, and let your recruiter know what you liked and disliked about what you saw in each candidate’s profile.
  • After each interview, share your thoughts and concerns about the candidate’s chances of being selected for hire, and why.  Keep them aware of competitive candidates they may not be aware of, so that they can effectively manage their candidate’s interest.


  • Work collaboratively throughout the hiring process. There are numerous places within a hiring process where the hiring manager and recruiter need to exchange perspectives in order to optimize the chances for a great hiring outcome.  For example, a hiring manager may have questions about something a candidate said in their interview that didn’t come up  during the recruiter’s vetting process.    By sharing your question or concern, your recruiter can circle back with the candidate to make sure you have the clarity you need to make the right hiring decision.

 Eliminating a great candidate because of an “interview miscue” is a frequent and costly hiring error that can be prevented with effective “recruiter/hiring manager collaboration”.   

For as much as we might like it to be, a great recruit is never as simple as ordering a “ham on rye with mustard” and getting just that.  Sometimes the “ham on rye” will evolve into a BLT, and the collaborative process is what keeps everyone at the same restaurant, ordering off the same menu.

  • Ask for and act on your recruiter’s suggestions. Staffing agencies and recruiters have multiple clients and have accumulated a lot of information and ideas about how to solve staffing challenges.

For an experienced recruiter, finding a solution to most recruiting challenges can be fairly easy. In some cases what’s needed is an adjustment in what the client is offering for employee pay.  Recruiters have data on what other employers are paying for the same set of skills and experiences that they can share with the client.

In other situations, the client needs to adjust their hiring criteria and be willing to accept candidates with a slightly different set of skills or work experiences in order to increase the size of their recruiting pool.

Regardless of the recommended solution, it is important that clients value the input of their recruiting partners who work in the candidate marketplace 24/7.  They can often come up with ideas and solutions you wouldn’t come up with on your own.

  • Commit the needed time and resources to the staffing or hiring process.  One of the most difficult challenges  faced in the staffing process happens when a hiring manager doesn’t adjust their regular work schedule  to allow the time needed to perform their part in the hiring process.

The symptoms are typical.  The hiring manager doesn’t have time to review candidate profiles quickly; they are not available for interviews;  there are long delays between when they interview a candidate and when they give us feedback.  These are the scenarios that can throw what could be a simple recruit into wasted time and effort, and disappointing results.

In today’s competitive talent market, every employer’s hiring process needs to be built around moving quickly and opportunistically.  The client and their agency partner must set aside the time to win!

  • Negotiate service pricing to meet your needs and budget. A common complaint is that “agency fees” are too expensive or “outside our budget”.  This belief may or may not be true depending on what’s at stake in your hiring outcomes, or finding a staffing agency or recruiter willing to customize their work to meet your needs.

At PACE, we offer packages that un-bundle the components of the hiring process so you can pick and pay for the services you actually need, and avoid paying for services you don’t!  All  service packages are custom designed to meet our client’s service needs and budgets, with a variety of pricing options.

In general, our service fees for all of our recruiting services – whether for direct hire or temporary staffing – are based on factors that impact our service costs.  This includes things like…

  • How many candidates the client wants to interview before making a decision
  • How difficult the candidate is to find
  • How long the employee will be on assignment (if wanting to hire them for temporary assignment)
  • The employee’s rate of pay
  • The costs to administer your compliance requirements

For as much as we like to talk about the importance of forming a real partnership with your recruiting resource, it  goes without saying that there are times when after talking with a prospective client we realize they simply have not been working with the right partner –  a recruiter who is unwilling to work proactively, has little or no new ideas for addressing a particular staffing challenge, or an agency that won’t negotiate any of its “one size fits no one” fee schedules.   These recruiters or agencies are the ones you need to take off your list, so you can make room for an agency or recruiter who knows what it takes to be a true partner!

This article was written by Jeanne, Knutzen Founder and CEO of The PACE Staffing Network. PACE has been helping Northwest job seekers find employment and employers find the right talent for over 40 years!  To find out more, email us at


The PACE Staffing Network has been providing recruiting and staffing support for Northwest employers for over 40 years.  We’re part of that elite group of staffing companies who have been voted by our customers as being in the top 2% of the staffing industry, earning the BEST of STAFFING designation by independent industry surveyor, Inavero.

You can check out our unique NETWORK solution by talking personally with Nancy Swanson, our VP of Partnership Development by phone at 425-537-3312 or email at

All service programs are custom designed to fit your specific staffing needs which means we start our relationship with a conversation about your staffing challenges to learn about what’s important to you.



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