How to Improve Your Agency’s Time to Candidate Submission

When you work with direct hire agencies, how long do you usually wait for your first candidate submission? How many candidates do you receive?

As we mentioned in our post about performance benchmarks, this metric may vary by position and industry but good headhunters will usually submit their first candidate within two weeks.

But what if you can’t wait that long? Maybe you need to fill a position before it’s vacated by a current employee, or prior to conference season, and two weeks to submission just won’t cut it. Or perhaps you have pressure from your hiring manager to get candidates in the door ASAP.

If you want to speed up your time to candidate submission, here are a few tips:

Hold a kickoff meeting

When you first engage a direct hire agency on your search, hold an agency kickoff meeting to get on the same page.

Discuss the job in detail, and separate out your must-have and nice-to-have requirements. Include the skills, experience levels, technologies your candidate should know, as well as the job titles your ideal candidate would have and the companies where they have ideally worked.

Also be sure to include anything you would like to exclude, such as candidates from specific companies or candidates who may be over-qualified.

Allow your agency recruiter to ask questions to dig into your specific requirements and clarify what your ideal candidate looks like. This ensures that the agency recruiter knows exactly what kind of candidate they’re going after, so they can get right to their search.

Ask for candidates from your agency’s database

Direct hire agencies are constantly networking and pre-screening candidates to add to their database, so they may already have a great candidate ready to go.

However, they may not submit that candidate until after they’ve sourced several more, to ensure that they’re only showing you the best candidates they can find. The upside to this is that they don’t waste your time, but the downside is that this may delay the time to candidate submission.

If you’d like to see candidate submissions come in sooner, ask to see the best candidates they can find in their database right now.

They may or may not be the best candidates the recruiter can find, but you can review them right out of the gate and use them to provide specific feedback that will fine-tune the search.

Request to see candidates as they’re sourced

Again, if you want to see candidate submissions on an accelerated timeline, you may ask your agencies to submit qualified candidates as they find them.

Normally, a direct hire agency would source 15 candidates that fit the minimum requirements, but would only submit the best 3. While they may have found your winning candidate on the first day of their search, you won’t see it for another week or two.

If you ask your agencies to submit candidates as they’re found, you may have to review more resumes than a recruiter would normally submit, but you may also find your top choice candidate sooner.

If nothing else, you can provide additional feedback to help your recruitment agency fine-tune their search.

Respond to questions quickly

As your agency recruiter gets into sourcing and screening, they may come up with questions that help them understand the job requirements and find the best-fit candidates.

To improve your time to candidate submission, be sure to answer your agency’s questions within 24 business hours.

Responding sooner means that your agency recruiter can refine their search sooner. Delaying your response, however, can slow time your time to candidate submission – or cause you to lose wh

at would have been a great candidate.

Introduce a little friendly competition

Your tried and true agencies are a great place to start when you open a new search, but you may receive your first candidate submissions sooner if you also work with one or two new agencies.

Using a new agency will give you access to different talent pools, as they have their own pre-existing candidate databases and different sourcing methods.

In addition to working with a specialist you know and trust, seek out a new specialist recruitment agency, as well as a generalist recruitment agency.

Between those three sources, you should have a good mix of qualified candidates from which to choose – and the competition can encourage each of them to submit their top candidates faster.

Do you have any tips to add? How long do you usually wait for your first resume?

2017-08-03T04:52:50+00:00 June 3rd, 2015|

About the Author:

Jen Dewar is a marketing consultant in the HR technology space with a focus on developing educational content for recruiters, corporate HR professionals, and staffing agency owners. She has spent the past 10 years working with a wide variety of companies — from corporate marketing for healthcare organizations and recruitment firms, to startup marketing for both Identified and Bright.com, prior to their respective acquisitions. When she's not doing marketing, you can find Jen snowboarding in Tahoe with her husband, traveling abroad, or enjoying a night in with friends and a good bottle of wine. She's a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in Socio-Economic and Political Global Studies.