The Difference Between a Contingent Staffing Agency and an RPO

Is your company considering the option to outsource some of their recruiting needs? Are you a job seeker that has been contacted by a third party recruiter and don’t know who you’d actually be an employee of? Are you confused about the difference between contingency staffing and retained recruiters/recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)? If so, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve worked in recruitment roles for both contingency staffing and RPO throughout my talent acquisition career. One of the common issues I’ve seen in regard to this is the fact that companies or candidates are not educated about the difference between the two. So, let me try to shed some light today.

Contingency agencies, also known as staffing agencies or temporary placement agencies, are typically used when a company has a job opening that needs to be filled quickly. In some instances, it is used for a one-off situation or for a position that has a low volume of needs but are hard to fill. In other instances, they are used because the client has a huge number of positions to fill and their needs needed to be filled, like, yesterday. Contingency agencies are usually very fast paced because they’re not only in competition with the internal HR/recruitment department at the client’s organization, but they’re also in competition with other recruiting firms that are trying to get their candidates to the client first. The reason for this rapidness and pressure?: these agencies only can charge a fee if the client decides to bring their candidate on-board.

Retained recruiters or RPOs usually have an exclusive contract with their client and the client typically pays an upfront fee (whether a candidate is hired or not). The retained/RPO recruiters and clients formulate a plan about what type of candidates they need, how to go about finding the candidates, and determine what candidates fit the profile. It can be considered a strategic partnership. Very often, the retained recruiters present several qualified candidates to the client on a continuous basis to help build a pipeline and also increase their interview flow. These types of companies are typically utilized by larger companies with many positions to fill or by companies that have a specific need that is hard to find.

Personally, I love working for an RPO. Although we still have goals to meet on a weekly basis, there isn’t as much pressure as there was at a contingency firm. Additionally, I feel like I’m able to provide better service to both my clients and my candidates because of the relationship I build with the recruiting department at the client. I understand the company better and I know what their needs are. I’m able to relay information to the candidates to help them get a better understanding of whether or not this is a job or company that fits with what they’re looking for. Additionally, I can take the time to find better candidates for my clients because I don’t have to worry about beating out other agencies. But, of course, that’s just my personal preference. Both are extremely good options depending on what your company needs are.

For more information, feel free to read this article on UnderCover Recruiter.

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Knowing the Line between Standing Apart and Standing Alone

In today’s job market, employers are flooded with resumes from interested candidates. People are unemployed or underemployed and are fighting for the limited jobs that are available. Candidates are doing their best to make their resumes impeccable so recruiters can find the keywords and see that they are the best candidate for the role. But even a nicely formatted, customized, and keyworded resume might not be enough to catch the recruiter’s attention. Savvy candidates are recognizing this and started constructing creative resumes to really set them apart. But are these creative resumes helping or hurting them?

Being in talent acquisition myself, I stare at resumes all day long. So, naturally, a resume that is different from the common, mind-numbing format and font is always a welcomed surprise. It can be something as subtle as a colorfully displayed PDF version, an infograph, a chart, or an additional portfolio of their work. These simple things can really add value to a resume and catch a recruiter’s eye.

Some candidates have even gone bolder. For example:

Although these “alternative” resumes have received quite a reaction to them, it’s important to consider what you’re promoting in your resume. Is your resume going to help you stand apart from other candidates, like these examples did, or is your resume going to backfire?

Remember the important aspects of a resume: experience, education, skills, and so on. Those are the bare necessities to help recruiters determine if you have some or all of the skills that are needed to be considered for this job. Then, you can get a little more creative: find ways to show recruiters that you have more to offer than just your experience; help them see that you fit the culture; show them your passions and values; and make them clearly see why hiring you would be their best choice.

Many candidates have done this successfully but some have lost sight on the important aspects of a resume, traditional or not. Make sure you double check what you’re presenting to your recruiters to ensure that the information you’re sharing isn’t: potentially misconstrued; irrelevant; potentially make them question your abilities or professionalism; full of useless facts that wastes their time; or so over-the-top or out there that they lose the message and can’t see how you would be a good candidate.

There’s nothing wrong with being creative to try and stand out against the overwhelming candidate pool. However, it’s important for you to research the companies that you are targeting to ensure that you know your audience well enough. Knowing a company’s culture, values, missions, and so on can help ensure that your alternative resume is appropriate. And remember: there is a fine line between standing apart from other candidates and creating a resume that might make you seem unhireable.

Recruiters: Are You Going Beyond the Call of Duty?

Last week, a group of recruiters and I were talking about some of the things we do to help our candidates make it through the interview process. We discussed tips, resume restructuring, and coaching. Some of us had success stories about how their tips helped a candidate land an offer. But I asked them: what about the candidates that didn’t make it through the interview process? What about the candidates that weren’t a fit from the start? Are we doing anything to help those candidates?

Maybe I’m overly empathetic, but I really identify with the job seekers and their daily struggles to find work. I’ve been the underemployed before. I’ve been unemployed. I’ve also been the employee that felt like my abilities were not being recognized or utilized for the benefit of the company. And even though I’ve been involved in Human Resources and talent acquisition, that advantage didn’t always help me when it came to securing my next job. Even with the knowledge of knowing what recruiters and hiring managers looked for, I still struggled. If I struggled, I can only imagine what it is like for people who don’t understand the recruitment processes or tricks of the trade.

As a recruiter or talent acquisition specialist, have you ever spoken to a candidate that you knew wasn’t going to be a fit for your job opening? Or have you talked to a candidate that had potential but needed some extra guidance? In those instances, what did you do? Did you simply send a rejection letter or pass them through the hiring process knowing that they might be rejected due to the areas that needed coaching? Or did you act like a consultant? Did you go above the call of duty and make it your job to help the candidate be employable and attractive to other employers even though you couldn’t offer a job?

I know that not all recruiters have time to do this. We’re overwhelmed and most of the time we don’t even have a second to breathe. But I often try to help out candidates as much as I can. I’ll give them tips on their resume, let them know what recruiters look for, coach them on their interviewing skills, tell them how to be easily found by recruiters, and so on. Most importantly, I let them know that they are always welcome to call me or email me if they need help or have questions. That extra time and effort feels rewarding especially when you hear the appreciation in the job seeker’s voice. I love it when I get emails and calls down the line from these individuals asking me for advice or when they let me know that they landed a job because of the tips I provided.

I remember wishing that someone saw the potential in me when I was a job seeker. I hoped that employers could see my passion and hear the conviction in my voice when I told them that I wanted to do great things for their company. Eventually, a company saw that and took a chance on me. Now, I want to be the person that returns that favor, even if I can’t initially provide a job to these candidates who honestly want a future for themselves. Maybe my assistance will help them get the interview they needed so they can sit in front of that specific manager who will see their intentions and give them a chance.

It shouldn’t just be about YOUR job opening that you need to fill. It should be about helping people get back to work. People have unnecessarily suffered the situations caused by the changes in the workforce. What are we doing to help them adjust?

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The Benefits of Video Interviewing

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Recently, I have come across the company, Wowzer, which specializes in video screening and interviewing. Being a remote recruiter, I was extremely interested in learning more during their recent webinar that took place this January. At first, I assumed it was generally going to tell me about the features of their service but I was thoroughly impressed by the fact that video interviewing can go beyond screening candidates. In addition to this benefit, it can also be utilized for employer branding.

Some interesting take-aways from this webinar:

  • Video recruiting can cut down time: recruiters are overwhelmed with resumes and often need to take time to call these candidates before they determine if they meet the basic requirements. Video interviews with predetermined questions can allow candidates to pre-record their answers and help recruiters cut down phone screen time.
  • Video recruiting can cut down costs: instead of flying out potential employees and paying for hotel rooms, video recruiting can help employers get a better feel for candidates before determining if they can make it to the final interview stage. Essentially, it can even cut out the need to fly out candidates for a face-to-face.
  • It can help everyone be on the same page: having a recorded interview can allow hiring managers, HR, and recruiters to all review the same thing. This can cut down biased opinions, help reduce missed information, and document things accurately. This way, everyone can make more informed decisions based off of the SAME interview, rather than reviewing notes from those who interviewed the candidate. It can help make the interview process fairer for candidates.
  • Candidates can be stronger interviewers: sometimes resumes and phone interviews don’t present candidates the best way possible. Some candidates are superstars during face to face interviews. Video interviewing can help even out the playing field and give these candidates the option to put their best foot forward.
  • It can help brand your company: video doesn’t need to just be used for candidate screening. Companies can pre-record videos or even do live interviews of their company, the culture, and so on. This can help create transparency of the organization, allow companies to personalize their employer brand, and help build engagement efforts to attract candidates.

I’ve always heard of video interviewing but never realized how much more it had evolved over the years. The benefits seem to be increasing by the day and as technology allows recruiters and HR professionals to be more mobile/remote, this can be a fantastic option for them to do their job effectively while cutting down time and costs.

More Links:

Wowzer

Video Tips to Attract and Identify Talent

Video Interviewing Research Report by Sarah White & Associates

Interview or Interrogation?

Being in the HR industry and having been a job seeker before, I have encountered many different interviewing scenarios. I’ve been the interviewer, the interviewee, and sometimes even the spectator. Some experiences have been great, while others had me cringe. Recently, a few acquaintances and I had discussed some of these cringe-worthy situations which shed some light on the experiences candidates have during this. One of the most notable experiences has been delightfully dubbed, “the interr-iview”. Basically, it’s an interview turned interrogation. Regardless of the candidate’s experience in the workforce, both early careerists and seasoned professionals find this experience to not only be unsettling, but it also turns them off from wanting to work for your organization. With that being said: are your interviews scaring talent away?

Not everyone is a pro at interviewing candidates, and that’s perfectly fine. However, there are some steps you can take to help you create a better interviewing experience:

  • Create a list of questions: having a list of set questions can not only ensure you are fair to each candidate, but it can also allow you to focus on things that matter. Having these questions can help you focus on important facts and can prevent you from asking things off base (or even potentially illegal).
  • Limit the barriers: sometimes having a desk or a conference table separating you and your interviewee can seem rigid and cold. Interviews are about getting to know one another. You need to not only see what the candidate’s experience is, but also get a feel for how they can fit in your organization and vice versa. Having a barrier could create an atmosphere that is stuffy, calculated, and overly “perfected” – AKA not a great indicator on who either of you really are. It’s best to find out about each other beforehand rather than realizing it’s not a fit a few months down the line.
  • Think about your follow up questions: it’s not unusual to have follow-up questions for elaboration or clarification purposes. However, it’s important to be aware of your delivery of these questions. Are you abrasive or accusing? Are you confusing or judgmental? Think about your wording and tone to allow the candidate to know you are generally curious, not disbelieving.
  • You have an impression to make, too: candidates are interviewing your company just as much as you are interviewing them. Are you welcoming? Are you open to answering questions? Are you creating an experience that allows opportunity to build relationships? Or are you treating a candidate like you are above them and shutting them out? Remember, your impression can be a factor when a candidate is deciding if they would like to work for you or not.

Having good interviewing skills is crucial when it comes to obtaining talent. Not only that, a good or bad candidate experience can also help or hinder your chances of attracting talent in the future. Think about your interviewing skills and experiences- is there anything you would change?

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Hate Your Résumé? Learn From My Mistakes

Hating your résumé is a terrible feeling. Believe me, I’ve been there. My first post-college résumé was a document that was almost personified by how much I loathed it. It was free of typos and used proper grammar. It met all of the standard requirements of what a résumé is supposed to be. So what was the problem?

Simply put, it wasn’t me. It was devoid of all of the qualities that made me special, all of the details that made me a great hire. I had a résumé that did not yet reflect professional experience in my field and looked like a template. There was nothing on that piece of paper that said “you need to hire this person.”

As a recent graduate, my lack of experience was common. However, just because I was new to the professional landscape didn’t mean that I didn’t have other experience. My mistake was that while trying to make the résumé look neat and professional I stripped away all of the important things.

There were no keywords to help HR software find my résumé. Not getting the résumé into someone’s hands is a crucial error. Even if a résumé is stellar, it will do no good if no one sees it. My résumé also failed the six-second test. If a recruiter or HR manager looked at it for just six seconds, it would almost certainly go into the reject pile.

My terrible first professional résumé ended up being a huge lesson in what not to do. Here are some of the biggest lessons I learned from the experience:

  • Optimize for keywords: the first step in the job-search process is getting your resume into someone’s hands. Most companies use some sort of applicant tracking system to sort through potential candidates before deciding who to call for an interview. If you tailor your resume to feature keywords mentioned in the job posting, you are more likely to have your résumé picked up.
  • Highlight your skills: don’t rely solely on keywords to make your résumé shine. Take time to showcase your specific achievements and abilities. The skills that the job posting doesn’t mention could still help get you hired. Think of it this way, the applicant tracking system pulls résumés based on keywords and similar factors. This means all of the potential interviewees probably used the same keywords as you did. Highlighting other noteworthy skills or accomplishments can help you stand out from the stack of applicants.
  • One size does not fit all: every résumé should be tailored to a specific job with a specific company. No exceptions! It may be tempting to send the same résumé to 15 companies rather than taking the time to tailor it for 5 specific companies, but this is not the most effective strategy. The time that you spend personalizing the résumé will help make it easier for you to get results.
  • Include a personalized cover letter: this may be a polarizing topic, as some recruiters dismiss the importance of cover letters. For me, however, a strong cover letter is a must-have. In fact, it was my cover letter that got me in the door for my first post-college job despite my sub-par résumé. A cover letter gives you more freedom to be yourself and really connect to the hiring manager.

Your résumé should be as strong on paper as you are in real life. Whether you are fresh out of college or have over a decade of experience, your résumé should be tailored to suit the specific job and highlight your experience and skill-sets.

I didn’t know better when I wrote that first résumé, but I do now. An over-formatted piece of paper that lacks any real sense of your abilities will not improve your chance of getting a job. If you can’t seem to fix the problems on your own, there are professional services that can create your ideal résumé for you.

Don’t hurt your chances of being hired by sending out a résumé you hate. Creating something that you are proud of can help you land an interview and even increase your chances of being hired. When making your résumé, be yourself and be smart. You have what it takes to get hired, all you have to do is show them why.

 

erin_palmerThis guest post was provided by Erin Palmer. Erin is a writer and editor who covers topics found in the Masters Degree in HR online programs for the University Alliance. Learn about human resources careers such as HR manager and other career information at villanovau.com. Feel free to connect with Erin on Twitter: @Erin_E_Palmer

 

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Early Careerists: Are You Utilizing Linkedin Effectively?

Recently, a colleague of mine had mentioned that she spoke at the college where she had graduated from. She taught current students and soon-to-be graduates about the professional social media networking website, Linkedin. Some of the students informed her that adults or professors had advised them against using social media when it comes to landing internships and jobs. Other students weren’t really sure how a website like this would help them. Being that she is a talent acquisition specialist, she made sure she properly educated the students on why it is crucial for them to not only use this site regularly, but also to keep it updated and accurate.

As a student or early careerist (or anyone, really), here are some important things about using Linkedin:

  • Keep your resume updated and accurate: Recruiters aggressively use this site as a tool to search for candidates to fill their job and internship opportunities. Make sure you update your profile regularly to have the most recent experience and education present.
  • Make yourself searchable: if you’re in the market for work or looking for opportunities to gain experience, update your resume to be as visible as you feel comfortable. Additionally, research appropriate hot keywords that are relevant to your experience and education. Place these in your experience, summary, and skills section.
  • Respond in a timely manner: if you have a smartphone, make sure you download the app or have your emails forwarded to your phone. Since the recession, it seems like there are a ton of candidates available for limited positions, therefore, it’s important to respond ASAP to ensure you can secure a potential position before another candidate does.
  • Network: join in groups, participate in discussions, connect with individuals, and respond to emails. Linkedin is a great way to connect with people in the industry who can teach you about companies or roles you’d be great for. Additionally, individuals posting thought leadership questions in groups and links to great articles can make it be a great resource and learning tool.

I strongly agree with my colleague when it comes to this. I am also in a talent acquisition role and I currently rely on this site heavily when it comes to finding candidates to fit job openings that need to be filled immediately. I appreciate individuals that have detailed profiles because it helps me search for them and I appreciate those who respond to me in a timely manner. I also love it when candidates personally try to reach out to me to let me know that their interested in a job I have posted. These are the people who end up getting hired quicker because they made themselves available, present, responsive, and searchable.

Additional Links:

Are You Searchable?

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