Does the manufacturing sector need recruitment agencies?

GARY TOWERS • 21 Feb 2022

With a good basic Applicant Tracking System costing as little as £5k, it quickly pays for itself when you consider that's maybe the fee for just one hire from an agency.

Perhaps your Hiring Managers love the ease of using Agencies and are loathe to change. After all, they make a call and a week later, 3 CVs land on the desk for review.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg with regards to the activity the Agency took to get to that point.

Recruitment agencies don’t have a special exclusive vault of candidates, they are just sourcing them quickly from the big wide world. You can too, and that activity can be executed through your ATS, and a lot of it can be automated too.

First, let’s look at how the agencies do it, then we will explain how you can do it through your ATS, and the benefits. We’ll do so in the typical order of a vacancy arising, through to it being filled.

rafael-juarez-hTUdXgbhd3o-unsplash (1)What happens with a briefing call?

What a recruitment agency does:

  • Agencies will have a brief conversation with the hiring manager to ascertain what they are looking for.
  • They know they are only to glance at CVs and look for keywords related to qualifications or experience.

What you can do better:

  • As for the process, ready-made vacancy templates can mean the manager can simply click a button or two and choose how many heads they need and add any special requirements. Salaries can be flexible or pre-determined.
  • It’s a few clicks for the manager, but compliance and control for the Organisation.
  • You will know your Organisation already, and maybe also the Hiring Manager, and you may already know about the role. So you can save time for the Hiring Manager by only doing a briefing on any gaps you have or checks you need to make prior to sourcing.
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How does sourcing candidates work?

What a recruitment agency does:

  • Agencies will quickly get an advert on a variety of the main job boards or job aggregators, such as Indeed, Adzuna, Total Jobs, Reed etc.
  • The adverts are simple and to the point, and don’t mention your organisation by name. They will give a description – that might have some clues and list attractive benefits.
  • They will run a cursory check of their own ATS for details of people they’ve already spoken to and search LinkedIn if the role is specialist enough.

What you can do better:

  • Your ATS advertises on these types of job advert platforms automatically, and even free of charge!
  • It should also share vacancies with your existing staff, so they can share and refer suitable people they know.
  • Have ready-made job adverts in your ATS, so when a vacancy is created and/or approved, it can be sent straight to the job advert platforms at the click of a button, with no need for briefings or time spent writing adverts.
  • Your ATS might tell you there is already a candidate within it that matches the vacancy.

How does screening work?

What a recruitment agency does:

  • As soon as someone applies, the Agency will screen the candidate’s application form/CV.
  • They will be checking the candidate meets the essential criteria.
  • Any candidates that don’t meet the grade will be disregarded but might not get the courtesy of a ‘’no thanks’’ reply.
  • If they do, they will likely call them for a conversation to validate their details, understand their motivations and expectations, and find out any other desirable information.
  • Once they have their best candidates identified, they will email them to the Hiring Manager.

What you can do better:

  • The ready-made vacancy template should include essential and desirable criteria for screening, and any special requirements added by the Hiring Manager.
  • When candidates apply the ATS will automatically screen the candidates’ details and automatically reject those that fail to meet the essential criteria, and score and rank the remainder on how well they meet the desirable criteria.
  • This happens automatically and within seconds, so no time needs to be set aside for screening.
  • The ATS also automatically keeps candidates informed of progress and emails a rejection letter to those who are unsuccessful.
  • This puts your Organisation in control of the decision making, and the communication with candidates, which is an important but easily overlooked factor in how attractive your Organisation is to future candidates.

How does arranging the interview work?

What a recruitment agency does:

  • Agencies will liaise with the hiring manager to check their availability, and likewise with the candidates.
  • When they get a match, they will confirm with both parties.

What you can do better:

  • A manager can link their diary availability with the ATS which is then shared with the candidates who passed the screening
  • Candidates simply choose the data and time slot that suits them, making it easier for all.
  • The ATS can automate all of the administration too, like confirmation emails that include instructions or maps.

How offering a job works

What a recruitment agency does:

  • Agencies will take instruction from the Hiring Manager as to who they wish to offer to and the proposed terms.
  • They will then liaise with the candidate to hopefully confirm their agreement.
  • Sounds simple but be aware! The agency may also be marketing this candidate to their other clients too. They say they don’t influence the candidate’s choice, but if their other client is paying them a 20% commission fee, and your agreement is to pay only a 10% fee can you trust that?

What you can do better:

  • It’s much better if the hiring manager can be supported to make the offer direct to the candidate. After all, it's who the candidate will work for, and the offer will have more impact.
  • Nothing gets lost in translation, and you are in full control of any negotiation.
The ATS can pick up all the administration automatically, such as the offer and contract, allowing the candidates to easily read and sign online from their phone or computer. This is so fast, and secure. It can also be fed directly into your payroll system if needs be, saving further time, and meaning no additional forms for the new hire.
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Are agencies quicker than an ATS?

Some agencies might have some pre-registered candidates on their book, but given the scarcity of candidates compared to the number of vacancies, it is pretty rare. Most are going to market with adverts and then screen the candidates down to the best shortlist of circa 3 CVs.

They are used to it and so can do it quickly and effectively.

But once you change to the direct sourcing approach, so too will you be able to do it quickly and effectively. And you will have the bonus of it being cheaper and owning the conversation with all the candidates you engage with, meaning you can promote your organisation in the best possible way, and keep in touch with others for future roles.

Following this tact, your ATS could become your own agency database!

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