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A Recruiter Explores the Intangibles

July 2, 2002
Related Topics: HR Services and Administration, Candidate Sourcing, Featured Article, Staffing Management

For Bill Jones, vice president of operations for Point2Point Global Logistics, choosing a recruiter is all about personality. "The relationship you build with your recruiter is an important thing," he says. He has a primary contact at Randstad North America’s Houston office. The two talk regularly on the phone and occasionally go out for a beer. "We chitchat, talk about my hiring needs. I don’t get that from other recruiters."

Small Company
Name:Point2Point Global Logistics
Location:Houston, Texas
Business:Video-game Distribution house
Employees:20 permanent and 2 to 30 temps, depending on the season

But the relationship is about more than just camaraderie. From the beginning, the recruiter, Kim Gearing, made an effort to understand his intangible needs. As a result, she makes better recruiting decisions. When they first met, she reviewed the company’s training courses and spent time in the plant to become familiar withthe environment. In exchange, Jones spent a lot of time letting Gearing know what he expects from his employees. He also gives her feedback on the candidates she sends so that she can make better choices in the future.

Jones recognizes that when he’s looking for $7-an-hour temps, he’s going to get people with basic skills. What Gearing does is to find people who fit Point2Point’s culture. "She understands my value system. We hire smart people who fit our mold," he says. For example, the temps are always expected to be working, even if it means making boxes or sweeping the floor. And, says Jones, employees must have a thick skin. "We pick on each other. It’s a tough group." So he doesn’t want lazy or overly sensitive people who won’t fit into the culture. "Those are intangibles."

Jones also appreciates the time that Gearing invests in the relationship. Even though the company does most of its business in the eight weeks before Christmas, Gearing frequently calls just to say hello or stops by. "It shows that she’s thinking about me. She doesn’t just have a note in her calendar to call me in September."

Because the company is rapidly expanding, Jones selects every temp with the goal of hiring the ones who fit the culture. Because of that, Gearing provides him with higher-quality people, even for low-paying positions. She often sends candidates who might get better assignments elsewhere, because she knows they have an excellent chance of getting a permanent position with Point2Point, he says. For example, she might place a dockworker, who could get $10 an hour somewhere else, in a $7-an-hour position at Point2Point. "She tells recruits what they can expect if they put the time in here." If things work out, the temps who are hired can expect to get better-than-average pay, benefits and training, and 20 holidays per year, Jones says. "Once they are hired, they’ll never leave."

And, Jones says, Gearing is willing to negotiate certain contract points for the long-term profitability of the relationship. For example, if a temp isn’t working out after 45 days, she might be willing to release Jones from the 90-day contract without additional fees. "Other recruiters will bill you whether you use the person or not," Jones says. At the same time, she might let him hire someone who’s working out before the 90-day trial period is up.

"It’s a mutually beneficial relationship," he says. "She’ll make concessions for me to keep the relationship, and she knows she’s the first person I call when I need someone." Jones works with other recruiters on occasion, but none of them show the interest or flexibility that Randstad does. "Most recruiters come in telling you how great their companies are instead of listening to what you need. I don’t buy that."

Workforce, July 2002, pp. 74-77 -- Subscribe Now!

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