recruitment myth debunked: the disadvantages of client organised “multi-agency briefings”

Any experienced person within the recruitment industry should be familiar with the term “multi-agency briefing” in recruiting. Just to clarify, this is a scenario when a client calls a few select recruiters to come down to their office and take a specific job brief that would normally involve either the HR or Talent Acquisition (TA) specialist & the line hiring manager. 
 

Multi-agency briefings are popular in the recruitment industry for three main reasons:

  • It saves time (both for the TA/HR professional & hiring manager)
  • It’s efficient (not having to repeat the same message, over and over)
  • It’s fair (all recruiters, get the same information and the mandate at the same time)

Having been in the industry for nearly a decade, I’ve seen my share of job briefings. When you invite 10 recruiters to a brief, 10 will turn up because a decent recruiter will never miss an opportunity to demonstrate support and readiness to their client (even at the expense of spending time with direct competitors).


the drawback of multiple agencies briefing.

However briefing multiple agencies for the same job doesn’t necessarily make for a meaningful and high impact exchange between client and recruiter, and here’s why:

The recruiter’s motivation can wane, impacting service delivery.

At the end of the day, the client will only pay one fee for the successful placement. Therefore, the more recruiters you invite to the party, the less motivated recruiters are to focus exclusively on filling the job role. While an element of competition is welcome in the recruitment game, nobody likes a resume race. Savvy recruiters might rather focus on another exclusive role or an opportunity where they know they have a clear upper hand over their competitors.

Talented recruiters are one step ahead and have already gathered the essential data.

Like it or not, the best in their field would have already spoken with the hiring manager and have an idea of the job requisition to be discussed. I have been in attendance to many multi-agency briefings where prior to the meeting I had qualified the role and already started the search. “But what about the strict process you have to follow, ie don’t contact the line manager” I hear you scream, the harsh reality is any good recruiter worth their pay cheque got there by having a brilliant network, and with this will most likely already be one step ahead.

A competitive environment can result in bland exchange with few valuable insights shared. 

Recruiters are less likely to share their hard earned market intelligence in recruitment or seek valuable insights from the client in front of their closest rivals. In this scenario, questions and answers from recruiters in attendance are often laughable, basic and only skim the surface. Alternatively, the feedback and market intel that recruiters will divulge in individual meetings result in more valuable insights and current market conditions. In short, multi-agency briefings can often have the reverse impact of putting additional pressure on speed, but compromising quality.

The bottom line: While the idea of a multi-agency briefing in recruitment might be tempting as an efficiency shortcut, it can present disadvantages.

The best solution for business results can often be summarised with the old adage that “less is more.” Clients who work with 1-3 recruiters see better results from their recruiter relationships. Those who partner with one, quality recruiter on a specific brief can rest assured that their partner will bring all their resources to bear in the talent search. In short, the fewer the agencies you use, the more you are incentivising those invested to maximise their efforts and secure the best-fit candidate for your business.

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