Recruitment companies delivering solid performers: Microsoft Services

Source: Shortlist

Microsoft’s local professional services and consulting arm has been drilling into its recruitment data, and the results show that agency recruiters are sourcing some of its best candidates, says Asia-Pacific staffing director Fiona Hathaway.

Speaking at the IT18 Conference in Sydney today, Hathaway said Microsoft Services was starting to use big data analysis techniques to inform its hiring decisions, and had determined that employees sourced through recruitment agencies were performing better in the medium term than some of their peers.

Hathaway said Microsoft Services used third party recruiters only for executive or specialised roles.

This made up about 6% of annual hires, she said, with the vast majority handled by the company’s in-house recruitment team.

“When we use external providers… we are using them usually at really senior, executive search levels, or for deeply technical positions where we need an extra reach out into the market.”

Hathaway said when Microsoft ran an analysis of the source of new candidates and their performance after two years, recruiters were at the high end of the scale, as were referred applicants. (She did not give exact rankings.)

“We saw – probably not surprisingly – that the candidates that came in through an employee referral program, over a period of two years, had performed higher than the individuals who had applied through the job boards,” she said.

The performance of candidates from recruitment agencies was also typically strong, she said, as they had generally been passive candidates.

“If it’s an agency that’s actually headhunted the individual, [they’re] more likely to be someone that wasn’t… on the job market,” she said.

No “Chinese whispers”

Allowing external recruiters to genuinely engage with the business was important to getting the most out of the relationship, said Hathaway.”I’m a big believer that if you’re using an external provider you have to [give them access to] the business leaders, as well as via HR, or via staffing.

“It’s no good me [passing on] the Chinese whisper of what we need, to you, and then saying ‘Good luck with that’. We want all external suppliers to have a relationship with the business themselves,” she said.

Hathaway added that if recruiters wanted to prove their value to clients like Microsoft Services, sharing useful data was one of best ways to go about it.

“I would want to see trends, movements and facts – that’s the sort of thing that’s really important if you’re managing [recruitment] in a strategic way.”