4 myth-busting facts about how recruitment agencies find the best talent

Many myths and stereotypical misconceptions blight the recruitment industry. Here Sam Davies, CEO & Co-founder of Real Links, sets the record straight on four.

Most companies have used a recruitment agency at some point, whether they’re looking for a quick and efficient hire or the next executive manager, getting someone else to do the recruiting for you can seem like the easiest way to go.

But, what if recruiting through an agency meant you were missing out on some of the best candidates? I’ve taken a look at the most common myths of how recruitment agencies find the best talent, with a specific focus on how this could negatively impact more diverse candidates and how we can overcome these stereotypical recruitment myths.

Myth #1: Recruiters have a wider choice in candidates

Whilst recruitment agencies have a wide choice of candidates who are eager to work, the harsh reality is that only a few of them might have the relevant experience for the job you need them to do. Recruitment agencies traditionally meet all of their candidates, and although this gives them a better understanding of the individual, it also means they could be more susceptible to  unconscious bias towards more diverse candidates based on age, race or even sex.

Using your current employees’ connections, means that you can tap into just as many candidates as a recruitment agency with the added bonus of also receiving an employee endorsement. This means that your pool of candidates becomes a pool of potentially 1000s that are already trusted contacts.

Around 80% of recruiters say the best channel to recruit quality candidates is employee referrals. This is because they usually take less time to hire, are a better cultural fit, better performers and stay longer.

Myth #2: You can find staff quicker through a recruitment agency

When you need a new member of staff as soon as possible, a recruitment agency can seem like the quickest solution to finding someone, due to the sheer amount of candidates they’ll have on their system. If you’re in a hurry to find an employee, the process can be fairly short.

This process might be quick but it may prove expensive if there’s need for it to be repeated often. We’ve found that retention rates for employee referrals are actually 39% better than other methods of recruitment.

Additionally, it’s not always quick and the recruitment agency could take months to find and hire the right candidate. Using an automated referral platform has the potential to speed up the hiring processes as candidates found via employee referrals are three-to-four times more likely to be hired, significantly cutting down the time required to find your perfect new member of staff.

Myth #3: Agencies will find the most suitable candidate for your company

Agencies have access to a lot of candidates, but that doesn’t always mean they will always have the right candidate. Diversifying your recruiting strategies can help you find better candidates, but it also means that more diverse candidates stand more of a chance of being given an opportunity.

Using an employee referral system means that public profiles on networks such as LinkedIn, enriched with other publicly available data can be utilised to ensure that candidates have precisely the correct skillset for the role being advertised – without revealing any personal information.

Myth #4: Using an agency means using fair recruitment

Due to the diverse range of candidates that a recruitment agency has, you would assume this means fair recruitment but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. There can always be unconscious bias in agency recruitment.

Although recruitment agencies will do all they can to minimise any potential prejudice, having a selection process that’s initial stages are based around using staff to paper-sift applicants means there will inevitably be some form of bias.

Using blind recruitment rather than the approach taken by agencies can help to eliminate any unconscious bias surrounding race/ethnicity, age, headshots or even names. This can help to ensure that candidates are only picked for the skills that they have rather than any other traits.

 So, whilst recruitment agencies can be a great way of finding staff quickly, there are better ways to make sure you find the best candidate for your company, as well as a means of giving more diverse candidates a chance.

>See also: Diversity recruitment strategies