By Perminus Wainaina
There are several reasons why Kenyan employers are increasingly outsourcing their recruitment function to third parties. One of the reasons is the need to professionalize their business.
After getting tired of hiring relatives and friends who might not be qualified or committed, business owners are now opting for candidates who don’t have personal ties with them.
For established companies, they will outsource for efficiency and therefore save on time and money. They would rather have someone else handle all the paperwork as processing 5,000 CV’s is not an easy job. That way they are able to concentrate on their core business.
Doing business in Kenya has become very competitive and one way to stay afloat is by attracting and retaining top talent.
Companies routinely contact us to head-hunt candidates from competitors, while some employers use recruitment agencies to maintain privacy. They don’t want competitors to know what they are up to.
So, how then can you position yourself to reap the most benefits from working with recruiters?
1. Know Yourself & The Recruiters. The first step is by analysis your skills and level of experience.
By doing this, you will be more confident when approaching recruiters because you will have an idea of the kind of employer that can make best use of your talents.
That way, a recruiter will not be calling you for jobs that don’t suit you. The recruiters will also be at a position to share market information like salary range and new companies setting up. By researching on different recruiters, you’ll identify their strengths, value proposition and how best you can partner.
For example, it doesn’t make sense to send your CV to a recruitment agency that only deals with unskilled labor i.e. casuals. They are also recruiters who specialize with Middle East jobs. Start by visiting recruiter’s website to learn more about their target clients, professionals they place and their success rates.
2. Go An Extra Mile. It takes little or no effort to email me your CV asking whether there are job opportunities that suit you. It is also easy to upload your CV to a website and hope for the best. I call this the lazy job seekers guide to getting a job. Does this work? It does but the success rate is less than 5%.
The reason why you will keep sending emails and uploading CVs and yet not hear from a recruiter is because you are doing what everyone else is doing. You haven’t taken time to differentiate yourself.
3. Establish a relationship. Between Monday and Friday, I usually receive on a daily basis at least 100 email requests for a job. On LinkedIn, I get 50 invites to connect and my phone will ring at least 30 times in a day.
I don’t mind because jobseekers are integral part of our business. However, this is overwhelming and there’s no way I can get back to everyone who contacts me.
I wouldn’t be left with time to deal with employers and get you that job! Having said that, it is your responsibility to cultivate a business relationship with a recruiter. Just like you don’t get married after the first date, it is no different when it comes to jobseeker/recruiter relationship.
Give the relationship time and get to know one another. And a relationship does not mean calling daily or on weekends. Once in a while drop an email or text. Make it personal. Your conversation should not always be about whether there’s a job.
Would you take it well if I only called when I am need of a soft loan? Would you accept a marriage proposal from an individual who after the first date is always nagging you to marry them?
4. Patience Is A Virtue. It takes six months to one year to get a decent job. If you are a desperate jobseeker, it is possible to get a job say in a week’s time but I am sure that would not be a job you love or plan to stick. You’ll be working to meet your basic needs of food and shelter.
With recruiters, do not approach them when desperate. I meet many candidates who’ve just been laid off, retrenched or fresh from campus and I always wonder why they didn’t make a move a year ago. Last week a finance manager who lost his job in 2015 last year came to see me on Monday.
Funny thing is, I had a perfect job for a candidate with his level of skills two weeks ago. He would have been the chosen candidate but there was another candidate who came before him. Now he has to wait for the next opportunity and there are no guarantees.
5. Recruitment is a relationship business. Recruitment firms have to know their clients (employers) well by studying their industry, knowing the salary market rate, identifying gaps and acting as trusted advisors. The relationship with candidates is not different.
Those that have benefited most from recruitment firms is because they took time to understand their processes, decision makers, their strengths and sometime by being a resource.
Industries all over the world are moving to outsourcing and recruitment is not being left behind. You need to know how to work with recruiters. And for more on the services we offer as a recruitment firm, watch this video here.
Perminus Wainaina is the Managing Partner & Head of Recruitment at Corporate Staffing Services Ltd.