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Best Practices for Managing Offshore Recruiting Teams
(April 28, 2009)
The Value of Offshore Recruiting Teams
The deepening economic downturn is causing corporate recruiting departments to search for ways to lower costs while increasing recruiting productivity - and some recruiting departments have turned to outsourcing. Outsourcing can take many forms including retaining a US-based recruitment process outsourcing firm, sending job orders to staffing agencies, or hiring US-based contract sourcers and/or recruiters.
A less expensive solution being implemented by progressive US companies is partnering with an offshore recruiting firm. Most offshore recruiting firms have recruiting operations in India. The cost of partnering with an offshore recruiting firm can be as little as one-fifth the cost of working with a staffing agency. Offshore recruiting firms allow corporate recruiters to offload time consuming but important tasks such as candidate sourcing and screening. With the additional time corporate recruiters can work on and close more open positions, focus on complex tasks requiring the greatest skills, provide a more positive experience for candidates, and delight hiring managers by presenting higher quality candidates.
However, to achieve success with an offshore recruiting firm the corporate recruiting department must first select a high quality offshore recruiting partner and then implement best practices for managing its offshore team.
You Cannot Outsource Your Problems
Offshore recruiting is not a magic tonic. A dysfunctional recruiting department will not suddenly have success by outsourcing - whether the recruiting functions are outsourced to a US-based or an offshore firm.
Like with any partnership, management should pay close attention to make sure the relationship with the offshore firm gets off to a good start. Unarguably, success requires that the offshore firm be run professionally and consistently does high quality work. However, management should be aware that if things go wrong the problem could be internal. Corporate recruiters will virtually never tell their management if they are responsible for poor performance when it is easy to blame an overseas firm.
How to Manage an Offshore Recruiting Team for Success
The keys to having success with an offshore recruiting firm are the same as the keys to having success with most US-based outsourced recruiting partners.
High Quality Job Orders
If the corporate recruiting department sends all its "near-impossible-to-fill" positions to the offshore team, it is unrealistic to expect the offshore team to submit the same number or quality of candidates as the corporate recruiters who are working on highly "placeable" positions. The corporate recruiters should work as partners with the offshore recruiting team. The offshore team should receive urgent-to-fill job orders with a complete position description including the behavioral characteristics (as defined by the hiring manager) of the ideal candidate.
Communications and Motivation
Working remotely, especially when you are half way around the world in India, can be lonely. Furthermore, cultural differences between the US and India can lead to misunderstandings. Therefore, the best way to achieve a high performance end-to-end recruiting process is to treat the offshore team members like you would treat recruiting assistants who are company employees.
When the offshore team does good work the corporate recruiters should express sincere appreciation. Most Indian offshore recruiters are very dedicated, committed, and care deeply about how they are viewed by their American clients. As a result, a little bit of praise goes an exceptionally long way in motivating offshore recruiting teams to work extra hard.
The corporate recruiters should provide prompt and detailed feedback on candidates submitted by the offshore team so that the offshore team can learn and improve. Frequent communication is especially critical during the initial phases of the relationship until the styles of corporate recruiters and preferences of hiring managers are understood by the offshore team.
Before starting work develop a detailed end-to-end recruiting process and decide what tasks will be performed by the offshore team. Both parties should diligently follow the agreed upon work process. If the offshore team makes a mistake, give them an opportunity to improve just like you would with an assistant working for you in your company.
Effective Working Relationships with Hiring Managers
One of the tenets of Lou Adler's Performance-based Hiring is that the level of success achieved by corporate recruiters is directly related to how well they understand the needs of and are able to work as partners with hiring managers. Because offshore recruiting teams work as assistants to corporate recruiters, success requires corporate recruiters who can work effectively with hiring managers. The corporate recruiters should create job orders based on a performance profile and get detailed feedback regarding what the hiring manager liked and did not like about submitted candidates. Getting the offshore team involved in discussions with hiring managers will help close communications and improve results.
Ability to Close Candidates on the Opportunities
Another critical element of corporate recruiters' job is to build strong relationships with candidates. Even if the candidate is not hired, the impression left by the recruiter can enhance or detract from the company's brand. Corporate recruiters should promptly get in touch with the candidates submitted by the offshore team, address concerns that cannot be resolved by the offshore recruiters, keep the candidates interested in the positions, and inform the candidates about what to expect at each stage of the hiring process. Because working with candidates can be very time consuming, the offshore recruiter and the corporate recruiters should work as a team to address candidates' needs.
The Ideal Corporate Recruiter for Working with an Offshore Team
An effective partnership with an offshore recruiting firm can dramatically lower recruiting costs and increase recruiting productivity. However, achieving these results is not automatic. In most cases the best results will be achieved by pairing the offshore team with senior corporate recruiters.
Offshore recruiters work as assistants. Senior recruiters will know how to select the proper job orders to send to the offshore team, communicate with and motivate the team, work effectively with hiring managers, and close candidates on the opportunities. Senior recruiters will appreciate and be able to take the greatest advantage of the time that is freed up through working with the offshore team.
Conversely, junior recruiters often perform many of the same tasks as offshore recruiters and an offshore relationship could possibly be seen as threatening. Few junior recruiters will have developed the recruiting skills and relationships to make the most of an offshore partnership.
By: Sojwala Joshi and Aswathy Pillai
iPlace is a global recruiting company with headquarters in Vienna, Virginia, USA and international recruiting center in Pune, Maharashtra, India. We provide professionally managed sourcing and recruiting services for American companies from our facility in Pune. iPlace specializes in information technology, engineering, healthcare, and finance and accounting positions.
About Sojwala Joshi and Aswathy Pillai
sojwala @ iplaceusa.com
Sojwala has two years of international recruiting experience and seven years experience working and managing teams for leading international companies in the customer relationship management industry. She has completed her Bachelor's in Arts from Pune University and is a graduate iPlace Academy specializing in sourcing.
aswathy @ iplaceusa.com
Aswathy has one and half years of experience in international sourcing. She holds her Bachelor's in Management Studies from the University of Mumbai, is pursuing her Master's in Personnel Management from the University of Pune, and is an iPlace Academy graduate with a specialization in sourcing.
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