So, you have decided to partner with an offshore recruitment services company. Where do you start?
Recruiting is one of the most competitive industry. Lack of new vacancies, reduced margins, continually increasing costs, and competition has made the agencies explore the offshore recruitment services model.
As per this article from the Recruiter Magazine, there are circa 31,000 recruitment agencies employing approximately 119,000 people in the UK.
The offshore recruitment model operates as a growth engine for several recruitment agencies. Endorsed by industry influencers and thought leaders the offshore recruitment services model addresses and resolves one-too many problems for the recruitment industry.
Just like the recruiting industry, the offshore recruitment services sector is highly commoditised. There are numerous players in the market suiting respective recruiting business’ requirement. However, as a recruiting business, you want to ensure that you review these factors before deciding to work with the offshore recruitment company.
I know, a lot of you out there would say, the aim is simple, to reduce cost. Maybe as a byproduct, but not a primary factor anymore. Agencies partner with an offshore recruitment service company for various reasons. Reasons mainly depending on the trajectory of their business, human resources, and other logistics, some of them listed below.
- Access to resources, i.e. multiple job boards, CV database, etc.
- Increase fill ratio
- Reduce back-office/admin workload for their team
- Out of Hours cover
- Access to skilled talent
- Scalability and flexibility
- International recruitment
Access to Multiple Job Boards: Many start-up recruitment agencies and several others want fresh candidates on their database without increasing the humongous costs of job boards. Many offshore recruitment companies still offer CV sourcing services where they source using multiple job boards, sometimes ten plus. What better option for agencies then to utilise this route at a fraction of cost compared to subscribing to the job boards.
The arrangement is straightforward. Recruiter sends a set of jobs to the offshore recruitment service provider, a Resourcer sources CVs using multiple job boards and shares the collection of CVs every couple of hours or at the end of the day, depending on the process mutually agreed.
This defines your objective that you are looking to generate a new database of candidates. Depending on your need, this also establishes the tenure, i.e. most agencies sign-up for this service ranging from one week to 3 months.
Increase Fill Rate: Secondly, the number of agencies work on high volume jobs and vendor management systems (VMS). One and the only way to make more money is by making more placements, i.e. increasing the fill ratio. Offshore recruitment teams have a proven track record on contributing over 30% of the total margins for many healthcare recruitment agencies.
An objective like this can only be achieved when the recruitment agency is committed to make this model work—investing time, money, and resources, i.e. in the training and development of your offshore team.
Reduce admin: Agencies partner with offshore recruitment service providers to reduce the administrative burden of their teams so that they can focus on core tasks that help agencies generate more sales.
What tasks consume the most amount of time and costs in your business? Some of the task’s recruitment businesses outsource to the offshore recruitment company are:
- CV formatting
- CV processing
- Job posting across job boards, company website, social and business networking sites
- Reporting for the senior management team (SMT). Detailed reports of jobs, submissions, placements, revenues, etc. using tools such as Cube19
- Timesheet Processing and Payroll
- Database mining using emails
Out Of Hours Cover: Number of recruitment agencies especially within the healthcare staffing sector partner with offshore recruitment services company to ensure their clients and candidates benefit from a 24×7 cover, i.e. especially hours between 5 pm to 8 am GMT.
Most agencies have one of their onshore (UK) Recruiters carry the laptop home with calls routed to their mobile. It is always great for the existing team to cover for you during the out of hours and take calls from candidates, hospitals, care homes, etc. However, this is not a robust arrangement. A reactive approach like this hardly contributes to the process and fails the objective of out of hours cover as Recruiters are bound to miss calls, jobs, etc.
The arrangement weak as the Recruiter could be having dinner, at a pub, visiting a friend, etc. The consequences manifold. E.g. the recruitment agency might not book a respective shift, manage the cancellation from the hospital or leave an agitated client unheard as the candidate put forward by the agency did not turn up. The impact is the loss of revenue and reputation.
To address these challenges, agencies partner with an offshore recruitment services company. A dedicated recruiter(s) manages all the respective tasks, e.g. making service calls, contacting candidates for shifts, answering calls from hospitals, handling cancellations both ways, shift bookings, checking candidate availability and making service calls to increase both top and bottom line, etc.
Out of Hours is a premium service offered by healthcare recruitment agencies to their clients. A premium service deserves a premium process and dedicated support.
Healthcare recruitment companies have out of hours support outsourced to an offshore recruitment company for years. If you are a health and social care recruitment agency and don’t have a dedicated out of hours support, you must explore.
These were some of the critical factors highlighted with brief details, and now you know what to look forward to when deciding what your objective to offshore is.
Many recruitment agencies give little importance to “time” when deciding to work with an offshore recruitment services company. You can have all the budgets and physical resources (read infra) on hand, but if you cannot spare time, you cannot do justice to this arrangement. It is bound to fail.
Depending on your objective, you will need to dedicate yourself or your team accordingly. It does not matter if your aim is to only offshore CV sourcing; it will still demand a certain amount of time when executing the trial to make it a success. Post the commercialisation, on daily, weekly, and monthly basis for tasks such as allocating work, explaining the jobs AND/OR clarifying queries and the most imperative factor, i.e. feedback on the output.
Similarly, in cases of another objective as well. Your time is most imperative in making the offshore recruitment model a successful project and should be worth the investment. Do not proceed at all if you cannot spare time for this project. You would not appoint someone in your office and leave them on their own without assigning tasks regularly, directing, enabling them with resources, reviewing their work and providing feedback. Then why treat this arrangement any different?
- HUMAN RESOURCES
When was the last time you launched a project without a dedicated workforce?
Depending on which objective you want to achieve, the recruitment agency must have an Expeditor (Point of Contact) that will coordinate with the offshore recruitment services partner to meet the respective objective. Not having any expeditor or having multiple contacts (at least at the start) is undoubtedly a recipe for failure.
Hence, nominating, your best-suited member of the team is of utmost importance. This staff is your Project Management Officer (PMO) that will work on several tasks, some of them outlined below.
- Coordinate with your team inhouse for tasks to be assigned to staff offshore, i.e. scoping out the work to be assigned to the offshore recruitment team
- Assign tasks to offshore recruitment team (depending on the scope of work to be offshored)
- Coordinate with offshore staff, i.e. clarifying the scope of work, processes, systems, answering queries, etc.
- Reviewing the output with the onshore team for collective feedback
- Evaluating the overall arrangement, feedback, and action points on feedback
- Increase in volume of work to be offshored, ramp up/down the team, etc.
Do not venture into this model if you do not have adequate human resources to manage and drive this arrangement; it will fail.
- PROCESSES AND SYSTEMS
Meticulously outlined processes and systems are one of the most crucial aspects for the success of offshore recruitment services model. I have seen multiple projects fly and fall owning to this factor. Housekeeping is imperative and depending on the objective you want to achieve; you have to have transparent processes mapped out and systems in place internally before even thinking about partnering with an offshore recruitment service provider.
Let me give you an example and a more realistic scenario. You want to offshore your payroll, which is currently managed internally.
There are a couple of staff members involved in executing this task which also works on other job functions. There is a process in place which is arbitrary (read verbal). Given that the staff have been working together for quite some time, a non-documented process based on understanding works smoothly, i.e. as a standard process.
What happens when you decide to outsource payroll with this type of practice in place?
The process is all over, and the offshore partner will have a lot of dilemmas to start mapping the function. What happens next is disastrous as they will not be able to process timesheets as per your requirement, resulting in delayed payments.
You will be inundated with calls from candidates querying their payments, your recruiters frustrated and busy trying to convince candidates to go for the shifts and not cancel them.
Last but not the least your current team who has been processing payroll will feel frustrated as this model did not work out and question your decision (even though it will not be on your face).
The entire process falls flat, and you decide to insource everything and continue working as you did in the past. The objective of improving efficiencies and reducing operating costs goes for a toss.
Fast forward, imagine an utterly different scenario, where you have your staff map out the existing process step by step and document it in the form of an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) which outlines every step along with the Dos and Don’ts. Post this when you work with the offshore recruitment services partner, you first handover this document, discuss the process and train the staff either in person or via remote desktop. The hassles you will face is probably 10% of what you faced in the earlier scenario when transitioning.
Hence, proceed when your critical processes are mapped out in detail along with required systems in place. Alternatively, recruitment agencies can also opt for a process mapping service provided by the offshore recruitment services company.
- BACK-UP PLAN
Now, not many offshore partners will discuss this factor upfront with you. However, as a business owner, you must always consider this. The question is “What happens in case this model doesn’t work out?” There are various reasons why this arrangement could fail; some of them listed below.
- Restructuring in your business
- Legislative changes
- A key member of your staff decides to leave
- Your team stops cooperating
- Your clients do not support this model
- Quality of service
- Drop in the business
- Lack of cash/funds
Having a back-up plan, i.e. at least for critical tasks and having documented processes to action in case this arrangement does not work out is a significant area of the project to consider.
You will have an indication early in the transition in terms of how this pans out and will have enough time on hand to decide if you want to continue with this arrangement or terminate. What you will need in case of termination is, some points outlined below:
- Your handover processes
- Expeditor or Point of Contact who will ensure the handover is effective
- Effective communication to the respective stakeholders when and where applicable
- The process to allocate work internally, hence focus on your internal workforce management
Therefore, considering all the above points before deciding to offshore can make your offshore recruitment strategy a success when worked upon meticulously.
Many top recruitment groups and several small-to-mid-sized recruitment agencies have 2 to 400 team members working offshore across varied business functions.
Executing an offshore recruitment model is a project just like any other project a recruitment business expedites. The project needs dedicated care and focus on being nurtured into a successful growth engine for the recruitment agency.