What is the added value of a staffing agency for the IT customer's business?

📅   09. 07. 2022
👤   Jan Barášek
In commercial software development, a developer has many options for where to go. For example, he can obtain a trade license and seek contracts "on his own". Or he can get hired - but in this case he usually won't get the best offer on the market and will be directly influenced by how much money he can win based on his experience not only in programming, but also in business and persuasion.

Companies themselves also have a problem in finding quality specialists, and placing public advertisements is often not enough. To solve the problem of how to get quality specialists into companies, and how to offer the best conditions to specialists, rzv, recruitment agencies solve the problem.

I personally went through such a recruitment agency once. I met a very nice recruiter who offered me a job as a PHP developer in a mail order company. Since during the cooperation the topic of this website, which you are reading right now, came up, we came up with the idea to publish an article about how cooperation with an HR agency can look like and how a particular recruiter gets the job.

The following texts were written directly by Anna Lišková, who guided me through the whole process of finding and getting a job.

My beginnings in recruitment

I got into recruiting by accident. I was looking for a part time job to go to school, I was sure that my strongest weapon was communication and empathy. So I sent my resume to 2 recruitment agencies. I had no experience in the industry, so unexpectedly only one wrote me back. The beginning of "learning" all the technologies, frameworks and acronyms was a baptism by fire. I remember it like it was yesterday. My first position I filled was a C# developer - hashtag developer in my mind - but I made it! And that was with the help of my colleagues and no doubt the candidates, who were supportive and most importantly taught me a lot. I still have a lot to learn, but we all know that. Beginnings are challenging in any industry and there is always room to move on.

My shift was a change in the company. It went from part-time to full-time. I now work as an IT consultant - at Antal. Even though we are an international company, we have a startup atmosphere - we work in small teams. We always try to meet the candidates and also the clients. We know the current state of the market well and keep an eye on the competition, which helps us to deliver better results even though candidates often see recruitment agencies in a negative light. In this article, we'll explain what the role of a recruitment agency is, and that it's not necessarily a company that will send you unsolicited messages. In fact, it can often open up career opportunities that you would otherwise have a hard time getting.

The market is overcrowded with recruitment agencies, which results in some people perceiving recruitment agencies negatively. Unfortunately, not everyone has had the opportunity to come into contact with a quality agency or recruiter who has a good understanding of technology and also knows what they are doing. In our experience, quality people are often hunted on all fronts, having messages overloaded on LinkedIn, hundreds of emails in spam, or in the worst case scenario, calls to their private number. If you've had that experience, trust that's not how a quality recruitment agency works. They are very aware that they are not only selecting candidates for a specific company, but the candidate is also choosing where they will work and spend a significant part of their life. And believe me, a quality person wants to choose well and know that they are in good hands. So I try to be empathetic in this regard and provide relevant offers (for example, I know that Java is not JavaScript, so I don't send such an offer to Java developers at all). We always communicate openly and don't hide specific facts. We always provide the candidate with as much information as possible that is relevant to them.

How does cooperation with an IT recruitment agency work?

The client is at the beginning of all our work. The client is usually a company looking for new colleagues to expand their internal or external team. Our clients are mostly technology companies that are looking for developers in particular. After an initial agreement with the client (the company we are looking for new colleagues for), we start looking for a candidate tailored to the requirements of both parties (both the client and the candidate - we don't want to send irrelevant offers). In order to perform this task well, we always need to know detailed information about both the company and the position, as well as the profiles of the people we need to reach (often the description "middle-aged man who likes PHP" is not really enough and we need to go into much more detail, such as other interests, professional goals and other criteria to make the collaboration work sustainably).

Finding a candidate who will be a good fit for the position, either technically or people-wise, is a challenging process and you need to have not only a range of technical knowledge, but also trained soft-skills and a general ability to communicate amicably with people out there. Currently we are primarily focusing on long term roles, so it is important for us that the client and candidate get on well and sit down for an initial interview. As we want the candidate to continue to grow professionally within the company.

The moment we find a suitable candidate, a so-called prescreening call, online interview or personal meeting takes place (this does not apply in 2021) - a basic conversation about the candidate's requirements and ideas, followed by a specific introduction to the company and the position. The advantages and disadvantages of the job are stated transparently to avoid situations where expectations of both parties may not be met or disappointment that something has not been said. After this conversation with the consultant, who will give all the information to the client along with a CV, and preferably a sample of the candidate's work, and perhaps references, a suitable interview date is selected - either online or, ideally, in person at the client's premises.

Why look for a job through an agency?

  • Quite simply, we save you a lot of time and nerves, not to mention support during the hiring process.
  • We urge the client to send feedback as soon as possible that is valuable and the candidate takes something away from it - not just a brusque response. In addition, we will often supplement the feedback with additional background information that you wouldn't otherwise get, which will help you get the best possible offer for the position.
  • We also fill jobs at companies that don't actively advertise. We keep track of offers, and if we don't get an interview with one client, there are other options/variants, and we try to find another suitable position as soon as possible that will fulfill the candidate in the long term. Often times we can negotiate better terms than if you had applied to the advert yourself.
  • In addition to job offers, we also provide candidates with a consultation on the current state of the market. Many candidates were afraid to change employers during the current situation - the two-month trial period was a risk for them. However, we can reassure candidates that the client is stable (this is especially true for the IT industry!) and so there is almost no risk of changing employers.

What we really pride ourselves on is that the relationship with the candidate does not end when the candidate joins us. We keep in touch with the candidate and find out if they are doing well and are generally happy. Of course, we also get feedback from the client. The moment any problem arises on any side, we are the ones who can resolve the whole situation to the satisfaction of both parties, as we are the mediator between the client and the candidate and have all the information and long-term experience from dozens of companies that we take care of. Above all, we already know how to react.

However, I don't like to make us superheroes. As they say, nobody is perfect, we know that and we improve and actively address our imperfections, helped by various training programs and others. I myself have made many mistakes - some were laughable, others more challenging to correct.

As hard as it may seem, this job is quite mentally challenging. You can sense the negative energy from some candidates, and it's up to us to convince them that we are not a bland agency that "randomly" calls the 30th candidate in the database in a row. But I am always happy when the candidate himself "switches" and recognizes that I am really calling him. Most of our calls, however, are already arranged. We're not just a call center.

Jan Barášek     More about the author

The author works as a senior developer and software architect in Prague (Czech republic, Europe). He designs and manages large web applications that you know and use. Since 2009 he has gained a wealth of experience which he passes on through this website.

I'd be happy to help: