Working with a REcruiting Firm

Written by Eric Petersen, CIC

I recently used a recruiting firm to hire our latest team member and let me tell you, I was overwhelmed by the ease of the process and the quality of the candidates that we received. I was so impressed that I felt that I should write this weekly tip about working with a recruiting firm to encourage tree care companies to look in this direction for their next hire. 

Historically, I had been closed off to the idea of using a recruiting firm to find new employees as I figured the recruiting firm would have a hefty price tag for finding top talent for me. However, like many tree service owners, as my business has grown so have my responsibilities and the time that I can spend on any one area of the business has shrunk as I’m pulled in so many directions. I’m sure most of you can relate to the feeling of not having enough time to commit to finding great people for your company, but knowing that it should be a priority of yours. This feeling ultimately led me to contact a recruiting firm to inquire about candidates for a new position that we had just created. I still was skeptical but thought I should give it a chance.

Immediately, and I mean immediately, after getting off the phone with the recruiter, I had 12 resumes of very qualified potential employees. They were 12 individuals of varying backgrounds and experience, probably all very capable of doing the job that I didn’t have to go find. All I had to do was tell the recruiter which ones I wanted to interview and they facilitated the conversation. Now, the rush of emotion that came over me was totally different. In a matter of minutes, I was feeling so confident that we were going to find someone to fit our agency that I realized the power that this form of hiring has. 

We ended up doing an initial interview with 5 of the 12, a second interview with 3 of them and a third interview and personality profile assessment with the final 2. The outcome was hiring a fantastic new team member (Hey Liz!) in a matter of weeks as opposed to the process taking months if I had to do it alone. Not to mention the fact that I can almost guarantee our paths would not have crossed if it were not for the recruiting firm.

Though I’ve only had one experience with working with a recruiter, I did learn a few tips that I want to share with you. 

1. Understand the Value of Your Time – The time that it took for me to hire through the recruiting firm was a fraction of the time that it would have taken me and my team to post the job posting, filter through resumes, set up initial interviews, etc. All of that time that I would have spent on those activities was focused back into our business, where it allowed me to make a bigger positive impact for my team than the fee we had to pay the recruiting firm. In our situation, we paid 25% of her first year salary as the fee for the recruiting firm bringing her to us. At first, that seems like a lot of money, but considering how easy it was and how I could focus on what I needed to for the business, this cost was well worth it.

2. Know What You Want – Because recruiting firms have so many candidates to send your way, knowing exactly what you are looking for in an employee is a must before working with a firm. We created a job posting with required experience included so the recruiting firm knew what not to send our way, which is such a tremendous help when trying to hire, I can’t even explain how much that fact helps. We also had internally discussed the role and how this new person was going to integrate with our team. This allowed us to quickly work through the interview to narrow our focus. 

Within the tree care industry there will be some roles that you need to hire for that will work well with a recruiting firm and others that may be difficult. Discuss that with the recruiter so they understand your entire business and staffing needs. You may have heard people talk about only using recruiters for management positions and that is because those positions can be more difficult to hire for and have a larger risk (both positive and negative) to your business due to their responsibilities. 

3. Have Hiring Process Ready – Over the years of working with tree care companies on our Thrive’s Hiring & Recruiting Package as well as hiring employees myself, I’ve learned that having success in hiring starts with having a well defined hiring process. One that is repeatable and consistent from interview to interview, position to position. The consistency is the only way to adequately compare candidates to each other and give everyone a fair shake. Before engaging a recruiting firm, make sure you know how you want your hiring process to go. Will there be multiple interviews with multiple people on your team? Will you have any background check (driving record) or skills test needed? Think about all of the steps that you will want to have the candidates go through so you can tell the recruiter from the start.

4. Give it a Try – My last tip is to actually just give it a try. Don’t stay closed off to this potential avenue of new employees for your team. There are many different recruiting firms that specialize in the green industry that will have some common experience to help in the tree care space. I also have heard of tree care companies looking at recruiting firms that specialize in trucking, because we all know that an arborist is actually a trucker first, then an arborist. 

If you are struggling with finding new employees for your company, reach out to an ArboRisk team member today to discuss our Hiring & Recruiting Thrive Package.