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Making Your Employment Agency Work for You

14 Apr, 2003 By: Frank Masi imageSource

Making Your Employment Agency Work for You

Instructions for
reading this article: o Tear this article out! o Make a file folder labeled
"Employment Agency Portfolio." o Read this article thoroughly (maybe
even twice). o File article in your folder. o Begin preparation of your
employment agency portfolio.

In the December
issue of imageSource, we established that office machine dealers who are
successful at working with employment agencies utilize several common
strategies: o They contract with agencies on a "contingency" basis -
no money up front. o They consider the agency as a partner in their business,
not the enemy. o They meet face-to-face with the agency to establish the
relationship and prepare them for the candidate search.

Developing and
maintaining an Employment Agency Portfolio on each prospective search will help
to ensure that the relationship -- and the search -- will be productive and
fruitful. The best way to do this is to plan a visit to your employment agency
to meet with the principal(s) and recruiter.

Preparing a
Portfolio Take along the portfolio for discussion. Review each item and solicit
their comments. You may wish to encourage the agency to do likewise, that is, to
prepare a similar portfolio on their company to orient you to their organization
and personnel. If you are going to consider this agency as a "partner"
the development of a healthy mutual respect will be necessary and the exchange
of information will foster this kind of relationship.

Your Portfolio Items
will include: o Company History -- Do you have one printed? If so, insert as
your first item. If not, prepare one. Be brief -- one page, single-spaced. How
did the company start? What products do you carry (by brand)? What is your
company's philosophy? Do you own your building? Did you move into larger
quarters? Have you won awards from your manufacturers or from the community for
your volunteer efforts? Use a chronological approach, and be proud. A little
boasting here is very acceptable.

o Corporate
Officers' Bios -- Whether there are one, two or three owners keep it to one
page. A quick review of each owner's business background will impress the agency
(i.e. formerly served as Eastern Regional VP for the XYZ Company). If you have
advanced degrees or certifications, or if you served in a prestigious
government, military or educational capacity, include that information. The
agency will get to know you better and pass on the information as they assign
new recruiters to your account.

o Company
Products/Literature -- For this section, include brochures, copies of
advertisements, PR releases or any other information that will lead the agency
to understand who you are and what you sell. Be sure to include information on
your service or technical support. Describe the department, dispatch/response
times, guarantees/warrantees, service contracts, technical training and even
average tenure of service staff, if it is noteworthy. Service capability is
crucial to attracting new employees. One dealer proudly told this writer,
"my technicians average 11 years. In the last five years, we've had only
one technician leave." Obviously, this promotes company stability,
professionalism and happy personnel.

o Job Description --
Do you have job descriptions for each position in your company? You should, and
the very process of preparing them will surprise you, even enlighten you, to the
responsibilities and accountabilities of each employee. These are easy to
prepare and should include at least 5 to 10 of the major job responsibilities.
This document can also serve as an attachment to your letter of offer so new
sales representatives will understand their responsibilities at the very start.
If you have an Employee Performance Review program, whether formal or informal,
this job description can also serve as a guideline for the review by
interpreting how well the employee has met each assigned responsibility?

o Candidate
Requirement -- Before we discuss this, let's do a reality check. Who really
knows what makes a salesperson successful? Who can forecast human behavior so
accurately? Does the "perfect hire" really exist? Basically, each time
we recruit, we do our best to stay within broad guidelines and requirements.
Don't get hung up on "musts" and "absolute knock-outs." Let
the agency know this, but hold them accountable for staying within reasonable

requirements should include no more than five to six items that will help to
further define the type of person and the experience you are looking for. Items
can include the number of years of experience, degrees or equivalent experience
required and track record. Your list must stay within Equal Employment
Opportunity guidelines and may include professional appearance, dress codes,
availability of transportation, and suitability of work hours.

o Source List - I
know what you're thinking, "Must I give the agency a heads-up on where to
find candidates? Isn't that their job?" Yes, it is and no, they don't know
what you know. Help them to help you with a list of where you feel they may find
quality candidates. For example:

Competition (by name
of company) Business Shows (by name) Colleges/Schools Professional Associations
Industries (Insurance, Real Estate, etc.)

Keep in mind that
the more you can point them in the right direction, the better their performance
will be. You're the expert in your field; they need your guidance. As the
relationship grows, they will become wiser and more efficient at sourcing
candidates for your openings.

o Interview
Procedure -- Prepare a document showing how many steps there will be in the
process, and what is to be expected at each step. For instance:

First Interview --
Held with Sales Manager -- 20 Minutes -- General introduction. Second Interview
-- Rides with Sales Rep. -- Two hours - Experience what the job entails. Third
Interview -- With Sales Managers -- One Hour -- Discuss job specifics.

With this in hand,
the agency can then alert the candidate to the procedure so they are not
surprised or angered by the various steps or delays during the hiring process.

Also include your
policy for background or reference checking. Keep in mind that background checks
should only be conducted on candidates you are about to hire. Checking every
candidate is a gross waste of time and is counterproductive. Decide whether you
want the agency to handle checks, or you will undertake this responsibility? Do
you want two or three reference checks? Do you want two business and one
personal check? Do you want it in writing? Do you want criminal, driving and
credit checks? Will it make or break a hire? Only you can provide these answers
and the agency needs to know. Don't surprise them later with, "I thought
you were going to take care of that."

Agency Experience
One valuable addition to this Employment Agency Portfolio might be to ask the
agency to interview one of your sales representatives and then ride with them
for one-half day. If the agency knows the business climate in which the
representative must function each day, they will be in a better position to
assess if a candidate is "fit" for the job -- physically, emotionally
and intellectually.

After this field
experience, the agency may consider a candidate "not tough enough" for
the field work, or "too laid back" to generate excitement about your
product, or very compatible with the territory or marketplace. Give your agency
the ability to have a "gut" feeling for candidates.

The more you educate
your employment agency, the better the chances for their identifying good
candidates for your openings. Keep your Employment Agency Portfolio current. It
will become one of your best investments.

T. Masi, CPC is the president of The Masi Group, executive recruiters of sales,
marketing and service management personnel for the business machines,
computer/networking, and consumer electronics industries. He can be reached at
973-285-0097 or via e-mail at ftmasi@themasigroup.com.

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