#TalentQA: Charlotte Steel, Talent Director @ Paddy Power Betfair

Digital transformation is radically changing how people look for work, challenging companies to source candidates differently.

If you engage recruitment suppliers to plug resourcing gaps at your company, this Q&A with Charlotte Steel, Head of Talent at FTSE100 business Paddy Power Betfair, will help you understand how to drive more value from your agency PSL, and gain access to better qualified candidates.

What’s your biggest hiring challenge at the moment?

Finding the talent in the first place. Big cities like London and Dublin are very competitive locations. There is high demand for good talent, especially in tech, and we are competing with the likes of Google, Facebook and the banks that pay very large salaries.

Plus recruitment agencies don’t always package a company’s value proposition correctly when taking its offer to market and this can delay the hiring process by engaging mismatched candidates.

What do you think of recruitment agencies?

The industry is out of control! I am bombarded with calls and emails every day and I know many other heads of recruitment are facing similar frustrations. I’ve also been seriously disappointed in the past by agencies that overpromise and under deliver.

The best thing we ever did was to clean up our preferred supplier list (PSL) for when we outsource roles to agencies. We gave it a thorough review and now it’s looking sharp and delivering better qualified candidates. Often, a company’s recruitment issues can be traced back to its PSL if their in-house teams are not capable of hiring specialist skills.

If agencies don’t understand the culture of your company or fail to deliver real results, get rid of them! Agencies that just sit on your PSL gathering dust are a waste of your time.

How often do you review your PSL?

It’s difficult to do a full review that often, but we try to re-examine and adjust our PSL quarterly. It’s vital that recruitment agencies are kept on their toes and hit the KPIs that you’ve set them. PSL’s should definitely be agile and easy to adjust.

Cleaning up our PSL has made a big difference for us and we’re now working with the most competitive agencies in areas like tech where there is a huge demand for talent.

How do you decide whether or not a recruiter stays on your PSL?

There are several factors to look at – sourcing techniques, and the way in which agencies engage potential candidates.

The quality of candidates is obviously the most important factor, but a close second is how quickly they can manage the hiring process and get the chosen candidate on board. If they are not delivering an outstanding service in all these areas, don’t work with them!

How should a new agency with an interesting value proposition engage with a company like yours? 

Here’s what they must NOT do – don’t send through candidate profiles that are of no relevance to our business needs. Sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how often this happens! Don’t try and sell us on their ‘amazingness’ and don’t waste our time.

To get our attention they need to engage us by sharing relevant articles and blogs via email or LinkedIn. They need come across as strategic, not desperate!

What is the most common mistake people make when appointing a recruitment agency?

Focusing too much on cost rather than quality. There’s no point fixating on fees if you know you’re going to get a great service and the best candidates.

How do you identify research the market to ensure you are engaging the right agencies for your business?

We talk to other companies and in-house networking forums. Then we respond to agencies that approach us with market insights and useful strategic content that demonstrate their expertise.

How do you drive value from your recruitment agencies?

We consistently check that our agencies are hitting their KPIs. We ask them to send over their performance metrics quarterly which means they are always striving to deliver.

On top of this, we regularly relegate those that aren’t, and promote other agencies in their place.

What are the top tips you would give someone who is looking to drive more value from their recruitment suppliers?

It’s crucial to take the necessary time to ID forward thinking agencies that are using modern resourcing methods and focus on the quality of candidates that each can deliver, not the quantity. Make sure you understand each agency’s areas of expertise and match them correctly to your job families. Having these modern agencies on your PSL will massively improve your chances of working with companies that are able to access the right talent.

If you’re looking to source talent, get in touch with the team today!

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