Under the hood – what is your recruiter actually doing for you?

gildo-aleshinsky-lrgIn an increasingly connected world, many clients ask us “does the recruitment industry still have relevance?” Gildo Aleshinsky, Director, Life Sciences, en world Singapore highlights some of the hidden values that recruiters bring to improve the candidate experience that helps clients to hire the best talent on the market.

When you look at your recruitment agency through the lens of process improvement rather than volume introductions, you get a greater understanding of what you recruiter is actually doing for you!

1. Getting your team on the same page

Before the search even begins, we are able to help our clients who are having some difficult and controversial internal conversations around requirements. A recruiter gives you a third party to ask difficult questions and force an agreement around key criteria. Having a consultant ask both HR and the line manager probing questions can unearth some hidden assumptions and save you time and confusion later on.

2. Approaching passive candidates

I recently met with five internal recruiters and the global head of procurement for a global oil and gas company. Despite investments in job adverts, none of the last three hires at the management was hired from a job advert or direct recruiting.

In addition, putting themselves into the job seekers shoes, these A-player employees could not remember the last time that they looked at a job advert, job board or any type of direct recruiting content.

As professionals at the top of their game, they represent the type of person most employees want: the elusive passive candidate. Recruitment agencies give you the resources to reach out to these top performers.

3. Screening for skills

For the typical management role (over 10,000SGD per month), a recruiter will usually have an initial long list of around 100 people. After screening, this drops down to about 30.

It is at this point we approach the candidates directly and a more detailed screening to find out those who are both suitable from a technical and cultural perspective as well as motivated. As a lot of this work goes on “under the hood”, it can be hard for clients to quantify the savings of having this screening outsourced when they only receive a handful of resumes.

4. Face to face screening for culture and motivation

So much of the long-term success of the placement comes from cultural fit that I believe we should not rush this initial screening phase. As part of my professional approach, I also try not to introduce a candidate until I have met them in person. Whilst it does slow me down a little, my clients can be confident that the candidate research is solid.

In the face-to-face meeting, I am able to eliminate potential time-wasters, those who are trying to play the “counter offer game”. Through probing questions, I can discover the candidate’s real motivations as well as understand how they really feel about current employer. The goal is to have a balance of push and pull factors to make a smooth transition to you as their new employer.

5. Preparing the candidate for interview

We put a lot of effort into preparing the candidate for the interview. Passive candidates are by their nature rather time poor. We try to support their research into your company and provide them with detailed information about the role, needs and personalities of the interviewers.

Passive candidates are also not professional job seekers. I help them to focus on the details in presentation and preparation that will help them make the best impression.

6. Able to get to the real objection

I worked with a pharma director who nearly rejected a 25% pay increase with a great company because of the terrible conditions of the staff restroom. It was hard for the candidate to raise this type of issue directly with the company. However, as a trusted third party I was able to address the issue on her behalf.

The male HR director had of course never visited the facilities. A straw poll of existing female employees confirmed that the restrooms were terrible! The HR director was able to arrange a renovation of the restrooms so it became a win-win for both hiring and retention. The HR director was so grateful because without the outsider information he would not have been able to fix the issue.

7. Closing throughout the process

From the first interview, I advise the candidates to start imagining themselves in the role. From the moment they leave the house, what is the commute like? Could they do this every day? Is it crowded? Can you sit if you are on public transport? How is parking?

What is the area like around the office? Does it have the facilities you need – dry cleaners, lunch spots, banks post office, clinic etc. that will make your life easy?

Once you arrive at the office what are the people like – and this means everyone ^ security, cleaners, and the current employees. Do they seem friendly, motivated?

Getting the candidates to imagine themselves in the role is a powerful way to support a smooth transition later in the interview process.


Some teams focus on talent acquisition KPIs in terms of volume of resumes received but I have always believed that where a recruiter adds real value is in the area of soft skills – matching culture, understanding motivations and supporting both sides in creating long-term career success. Please contact us for more infomation on how en world can help you create long-term recruiting success in your organisation.


Gildo Aleshinky, en world Singapore spoke with Jennifer Shinkai, APAC Marketing Communications Manager.