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Getting the most from your recruiter: a guide for clients

So you've decided to use a recruitment agency to help you find the next talent for your team. Perhaps you're an old hand at outsourcing your recruitment, or perhaps this is your first time. Maybe it's a senior hire, a permanent position in charge of a huge team - or perhaps it's a contract position that you need to fill as soon as possible - ideally this afternoon!

Whatever your situation, here are our top tips for making your recruiter relationship hassle-free and fruitful – even enjoyable!

INVEST TIME IN THE JOB SPEC

We get it. After weeks, maybe months of getting sign-off on a particular hire, discussing the ins and outs of the job spec with your managers and the team, the last thing you want is to explain all that again to a recruiter, especially if you’ve already had multiple conversations agreeing terms.

But the job spec is the foundation on which your recruitment consultant’s entire service is based. By taking a really in-depth specification – and asking the questions you may not have even considered – he or she gets the information they need to find really, really suitable talent – not just someone whose CV looks vaguely appropriate. Which means fewer irrelevant CVs for you to sift through, and more time to do your day job.

Yes, it’s part of your consultant’s job to get as much information from each client as possible. But it’s also your consultant’s job to make recruitment easier, not harder from you. And to do that, they need the right job specification.

ASK ABOUT EXPERIENCE

Generalist recruitment is, more often than not, poor-quality recruitment. So ask questions. Find out what experience your proposed consultant has in your sector, for jobs of this type, at this level. Find out which of your competitors they’ve worked for, or where they’ve placed similar people. Above all, find out where they source their candidates. (Hint – if they mumble ‘oh, LinkedIn, and the job boards’, look elsewhere).

DON’T GO AWOL

It’s remarkable how often hiring managers put the effort in at the beginning, providing detailed specifications and interview slots, and then slow down or vanish post-interview.

No, we don’t get it either. The period after first interview is when candidates are anxious, waiting on tenterhooks. If they’ve got other interviews ongoing (as they often do), they’re juggling decisions over a matter of days or even hours. Recognise that feeding back to your recruiter is part of the interview process, and make time for it. Even if it’s a short, sweet ‘thanks, but no thanks’ – it frees the candidate up to look for other opportunities, and ensures that the recruiter is spending their time on activity of real value to you – rather than chasing you on the phone.

Of course, if there are particular times of the day or week that you definitely can’t speak, or if you’d prefer to set aside a fixed slot for a recruitment catch-up, say so!

LESS IS MORE

Particularly when you’ve been struggling to fill a particular position, it can be tempting to say yes to every recruiter that contacts you. The logic is that ten agencies on the hunt for you is better than one, and you only have to pay the one that delivers, right?

The trouble is that in such a situation you become nobody’s favourite client. It looks like you’re not providing a detailed enough specification (see above), that you won’t be available when your recruiter needs you (also see above), and there’s a likelihood that any candidate a consultant does put forward will have to be filtered out of a huge pile of CVs, rather than compared from the outset against a small number of highly qualified competitors.

Instead, work with just one or two agencies, specialised in your sector and who you’re able to give adequate time and attention to.

Better yet, give an EXPERIENCED recruitment agency (see above) an exclusive period on your role. They’ve got a fantastic incentive to deliver quickly, yet they’ve also got the breathing space to get really creative on candidate sourcing, meaning you’re more likely to be presented with hard-to-find top talent. As always, you only pay for results – so what have you got to lose?

And now it’s over to you! What are the key elements that you think your recruitment consultant needs to provide? We’d love to hear your comments, here or over on our LinkedIn page.