How to Get the Most From Your Recruitment Agency

With recruitment more challenging than we've ever seen it before (thanks to Brexit, the pandemic and 500k people removing themselves from the workforce), more and more businesses are struggling to find staff and turning to recruitment agencies for help.

Perhaps what is not entirely understood though, is that just because you've engaged an agency to assist, it doesn't mean you'll get the outcome you desire. Because engaging an agency does not mean simply emailing a job spec to them and praying for results.

For an effective (and more enjoyable process), you and the agency need to work in partnership.

The most effective client-recruitment consultancy relationships are long-term ones based on mutual respect and good communication.

Ultimately these relationships should:

  • Help you, the client, attract the best possible staff to your team as the recruiter will be able to effectively sell the benefits of working for your company;

  • Reduce the number of mis-hires as your recruiter will understand both your culture and appreciate the soft skills you need as well as the technical expertise. A reduction in mis-hires is a huge cost saving both in terms of time and productivity; and

  • Minimise the time that you need to invest in the hiring process as the recruiter will better filter the CVs they send you and will have set up streamlined processes to ensure a smooth process.

Partnerships make sense from the recruitment agency's perspective too because they need to spend less time looking for new business and an even higher percentage of candidates they put forward get hired and pass their probationary periods. This is efficient for them and further builds their reputation leading to more repeat business and referrals.

Here is how you can get the best out of your recruitment agency and what you should expect from them.

Getting the best out of your Recruiter

  • Let them under your skin – your recruiter needs to understand your values and your plans for the wider business so that they can better filter which candidates will be suitable for your business, meaning you spend less time reviewing CVs or meeting inappropriate candidates. It also makes it easier for the agency to excite candidates about vacancies they are working on.

  • Help your recruiter sell each role – the more information you can give your recruiter about each role and the prospects for career development, the easier it is for them to get candidates excited and to picture their future with your company.

  • Make your process efficient – good candidates are only briefly on the market so the more compact your recruitment process, the more likely you are to secure your preferred candidate. Get budget sign off, set out a timeline for the recruitment process and schedule time in key stakeholder holders’ diaries before you start the process. Once you press go, do your utmost to stick to the timeline. Processes that are drawn out or stall inevitably result in the best candidates accepting offers elsewhere before your process completes, resulting in wasted time for everyone.

  • Communicate with your recruitment agency throughout the process – a smooth recruitment process is reassuring for candidates. Giving candidates feedback promptly after each interview makes a huge difference to the likelihood they will accept a role if they are offered it. If there are delays in the process let the agency know as early as possible so that they can manage the candidate’s expectations.

  • Listen to your agency – they are specialist consultants (presumably, since you chose them) and know the relevant talent markets. They know their candidates, the employment market and will be filled with support and advice through the process. By all means, ignore the advice, but please give it consideration first.

What to expect from your Recruiter

The client-recruitment consultancy relationship is a partnership and you should know what to expect from the consultancies you partner with.

They should be:

  • committed to helping you build the strongest possible team as efficiently as possible;
  • clear with you about how they will approach the marketing of each role and the resources they will commit to it;
  • will communicate with you clearly in a timely fashion;
  • will meet any timeframes that they agree to;
  • will be honest with you and will gently challenge you where they feel it will benefit you long-term; and
  • represent your organisation’s interests as positively as possible without setting unrealistic expectations;
  • keep you briefed with feedback candidate’s give them about your organisation and role, as well as keep you updated about where those candidates are with other interview processes; and
  • will at all times endeavour to make sure that you feel you made the right choice by choosing them as your recruitment partner.

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Clarity Appointments is an independent recruitment agency specialising in accountancy and office vacancies. Situated between St Neots and Cambridge, we work within Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, with some clients further-reaching due to work won through referrals.

Contact us now for a free, no-obligation chat. Contact Clare here.

Clare Wight is the founder and Managing Director of Clarity Appointments, an independent recruitment specialist. She served as a Regional Director for The Employment Agents Movement, supporting other independent recruiters.

She remains an active member of Recconnect (formerly Members Only), a recruitment leadership network promoting high ethical standards, collaboration, diversity, equity and inclusion.

She believes business owners are more fulfilled and higher-performing when they provide emotional and professional business support to other business owners, even those they deem to be competitors. She does this actively, whilst challenging and updating her skills and knowledge of the recruitment sector, enabling her to offer the best advice to firms looking to make their next hire.