Thought Leadership


Partnering with the right agency could boost your talent pool

July 06 2015 By Melanie Bothma

March 2015

Business leaders are realising how vital a sustainable recruitment strategy is, for the health of their organisation

This is according to Melanie Bothma, Recruitment Manager at Progression, leading Recruitment and Skills Development managament consultants who specialise in placing people with disabilities. Melanie, who has over 15 years experience in the recruitment industry, believes that recruiting the best people for the job, using the best methods and partners possible, is becoming a definitive driver for many forward thinking organisations.

Aligning the HR and Recruitment partnership

The question on many HR and Talent Manager's minds though is how? How do we know which recruitment agencies to partner with? The answer is simple, it's all about alignment!

Melanie believes that the agency you select needs to align with your vision and values. "An effective and ethical recruitment agency will know exactly what your company is all about and what it is you want. They will also understand how to work with you to either assist you in developing your recruitment strategy or will be able to align its services with your company's existing strategy." explains Melanie.

Stuart Jones, Recruitment & Resourcing Strategist for Omni Recruitment Management Services, a leading talent acquisition firm in the UK, believes that recruitment cannot be a reactive process either. "HR and recruitment departments within organisations are 'fire-fighting' their recruiting, hiring as and when the need arises rather than optimising a strategy that focuses on the long-term." says Jones.

Merusha Singh, Progression's Business Development Consultant, explains the value added by partnering with an external recruitment provider who can focus on specific recruitment needs, "Capacity and time play a major factor against internal recruitment departments, it is up to external recruiters to focus on a niche and maintain a strong pipeline for their clients offering quality and efficient services."

Identifying a suitable recruitmnet agency

Melanie recommends partnering with a professional and trustworthy recruitment agency as the first, crucial step. Aside from aligning their services to your company's core values, you can look for the following in a reputable, trustworthy agency:

• Thorough background checks on their candidates including important details like a candidate's reason for leaving a previous job and more than one reference check to verify information supplied by the candidate.

• Access to an up-to-date database of suitable potential candidates.

• Aligning of your recruitment strategy with the industries' available candidates. The right agency will provide the correct information relating to the position and ask for specific details from you about what you want and how you want it! All of which should be aligned to ensuring the best chances for successful recruiting.

Historically, recruitment agencies were painted with a tarred brush and many companies were sceptical to partner with them. "Recruitment as an industry has been given a bad name in the past because some agencies displayed a lack of ethics and integrity." says Melanie. "Make sure the agency you partner with treats their candidates with integrity too. A great agency will nurture and promote its candidates' talent or treat them as importantly as they treat you." she adds.

Making use of the services offered by reputable recruitment agencies will save your organization time and money. "Agencies will take the 'headache' out of recruiting by eliminating the time consuming process of advertising, screening through hundreds of unsuitable CVs, and will rather send you only the suitable, shortlisted candidates to interview." explains Melanie.

Understanding expectations of skill and experience levels

In South Africa, the dire situation in which we find ourselves is the sheer number of people who need employment but lack critical skills. "This means that there are a lot of candidates who are less qualified than the positions out there require." explains Melanie. Clients have an expectation of the education and/or experience level they think the role requires however they are often not aware or haven't planned for our country's skills gap within their strategy. "One way of overcoming the skills gap and still creating an effective talent pool is by linking your skills development strategy for both your current employees and for the unemployed with your recruitment strategy. Up skill people with a lower level of skill than you need, bring them up to par, help them better their current education levels. You now begin to build a skilled talent pool of people that know your business intimately and are loyal to you because of the opportunities you've afforded them." says Progression's Business Development Consultant, Imogen Rossam.

If partnering with the right agency is step one, making sure your recruited talent is looked after is definitely step two. A talent management system needs to be implemented which will nurture your recruited talent in order to make sure they feel valued and are incentivised to stay. In a recent article by Harvard Business Review titled Building a Game Changing Talent Strategy, insights were given into three top performing businesses from different countries, across different industries. All showcased superior talent strategies as the driver of their successful business strategies. Their talent strategies include, developing a high performance culture, growing employee's talent, succession planning, and networking and collaboration tools.

In next month's opinion piece, we take a deep dive into how to manage your talent and make them as effective and happy as possible.

Progression offers its clients specialised recruitment services and expertise, which include permanent, temporary and contract placements, career pathing and response handling. We also source and assess unemployed candidates for our Skills Development programmes. For more information please call 0860 754557 (SKILLS) or email



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