There has historically been much discussion in HR circles surrounding desirable attributes to seek out in potential recruitment partners. The abilities to listen, offer value for money, understand corporate culture and comply with legislation are understandably seen by HRDs as essential traits to consider. But bearing in mind the fact that effective collaboration is a two way street, what do potential recruitment consultancies expect in return?
Of course, HR departments of employer organisations demand first class service levels while simultaneously seeking out increasingly greater value – and professional recruitment consultancies strive to fit the needs of their end clients by taking on board their requirements. But there is certainly a feeling amongst some in the sector that HR and recruitment teams could work together even more effectively if HR departments had a deeper insight into what the recruitment profession values in the clients that it works with.
With this in mind APSCo surveyed its members to find what it means to be a great client, which yielded over 70 responses from consultancies. The survey explored the relative importance of seven key attributes that help form a strong client relationship; shares business vision and strategy, communicates requirements clearly and effectively, is keen to seek and implement new ideas, is loyal and fair to suppliers fairness, has a collaborative approach to working, is knowledgeable about the recruitment sector and sets realistic budgets and timescales.
Communication, fairness and realistic understanding of budgets and timescales were seen as the most attractive attributes in a client – with 83%, 79% and 79% of members respectively ranking these as important or very important. Collaboration, sharing vision and innovation also scored highly (74%, 71% and 54%). Knowledge of the recruitment sector was viewed as the least significant factor, with only 46% of respondents rating this attribute as important or very important.
The firms were also asked to score the effectiveness of their relationship with their top 20% of clients – on a scale of 1-100%, the average score was 80%. This contrasts strongly with how they rated their worst 20% where the average score was only 39%.
So, while communication is unsurprisingly viewed as being fundamental to building successful client relationships, loyalty and realistic budgeting are also key to building strong ties with the recruitment profession.
I hope that the findings from the research will ultimately help HR professionals to better understand what attributes recruitment professionals value in a client, and by harnessing this knowledge, HRDs can refine the way they work in order to improve the efficiency of their relationships. After all, as competition for professional talent continues to intensify, it is clear that HR decision makers will need to ensure that they are developing effective relationships with their external recruitment partners. Only those organisations that are able to develop strong ties will be able to attract the very best talent.