09 May 2023

When a company hires an external recruitment agency to handle a role, a good recruiter almost becomes part of that company for the duration of the recruitment process. They should be considered a partner not merely a supplier – you need them as much as they need you!  


It’s a fact of life; people work harder for people who work hard for them. So, if you work hard to build the relationship with your preferred recruitment partners – you’ll get so much back in return. 

That’s why it’s so important to select the right partner and then get the relationship right. Here are some of our thoughts about how you can get the most out of your recruitment partner: 


1) Selecting the right recruitment partner: 


There are hundreds of recruiters out there, but assessing where your time and budget is best spent is key. This might sound obvious, but your choice of recruiter has to be determined by the role(s) you’re trying to fill.  The generalist ‘High Street’ recruiters will tell you they can find you everything from an Office Manager to a Credit Controller to Sales Manager to a Marketing Manager, and they might well be able to do this; but you’re not going to get the speed or depth of access to candidates that you’d get from a specialist recruiter – as they say it’s horses for courses! We’ve built our brand and database up over 30 years so the pool of marketers we can fish in is going to be much bigger than a generalist recruiter. 


2) Take time to ensure the job spec is relevant and up to date: 


It might seem easy to reuse a job description that you’ve had on file and used before – but it’s critical that they are up to date – as lots can change over time, for example; software used, project priorities, stakeholders etc. Try not to use language that is full of industry jargon and/or too generic. This piece of paper should excite prospective candidates. If you present your recruiter with a long, overly wordy, generic job spec, it’s going to be harder for them to ‘sell’ the opportunity to their chosen candidates. Sure, a great recruiter should be able to tell candidates why your company and role is right for them, but it helps you enormously if you present them with an exciting, professional and well-constructed job spec.. 


3) Help the recruiter understand the role you’re recruiting: 


You’d think that people with the same job title all do the same thing – well they don’t. Taking time at the beginning of the process to have a face-to-face briefing (over video is fine) will pay dividends in the long run. The technical aspects of a job are obviously important, but going through each of the essential elements and why you consider them essential is really useful. A good recruiter who knows the candidate pool your role sits in, may well challenge you – be ready for this. As we say, looking for a pink unicorn is a waste of time for everyone.  

If personality is important, and team fit – the only way to really understand what this looks like, is for the recruiter to meet the line manager.  It’s better to spend 30 mins at the beginning of the process than an hour(s) in an interview discovering that despite an AMAZING CV, they’re just not the right personality/cultural fit.  


4) Define your ideal candidate: 


It goes without saying that you need to have an idea of the type of candidate you’d like to fill your role. Most people begin with the level of the role they’re recruiting for – If you’re looking for a Marketing Assistant, does this person need prior experience or can they be coached by the Line Manager? Perhaps you’re looking for a more senior candidate – is this because they need to be an ‘expert’ or because they need to train and coach junior team members? It’s fine to be open about the amount of experience you’d imagine the ideal candidate will have under their belt, but just make sure you can justify why you think this is important. By all means have a ‘wish list’ but take time to explain why these aspects are important to you. 


5) Be clear about timelines and process: 


When you’ve given a recruiter the go ahead, they will be working hard to find the right candidates. They are representing you and your brand and it’s really important that they are able to manage expectations. So be clear at the outset what the process is going to be and the timelines. So, if the CEO is an essential ‘final’ step and it transpires he/she is going to be away for a month – this will potentially not only lose your preferred candidate but will also frustrate the recruiter as all their hard work will have been in vain. 


6) Building trust and communication: 


If you can build a trusting relationship with an expert recruiter, you should rely on them to find you the talent that’s going to both deliver the work you need done but fit in and make a positive contribution to the business. Aligning your expectations and understanding each other is really important in making this partnership work. Recruiters must understand your pain points and Hiring/Line Managers must trust the recruiter's knowledge and skillset – if they believe they’ve found a candidate that’s right for you without every box ticked, hear them out!  

But communication and transparency throughout the process is critical. A good recruiter will try and get it right first time, but this might not always happen – always take time to tell them what wasn’t right. They are 100% motivated to fill your vacancy, but if they don’t get feedback it’s like trying to thread a needle with one eye closed – possible but not easy! 

If it so happens that you’ve managed to fill a role without the recruiters help – they’ll understand! Communication is key, so letting your recruiter know will save both parties from doing extra unnecessary work. And, you’ll have a great relationship with your recruiter so next time you need to hire, they’ll be happy to hear from you and put the effort in to get results!  



Some commonly asked questions we get from clients are: 


What if I’m a Line Manager and not HR? How do I help with the recruitment process? 


The best way to get the most out of your recruiter is to invest your time in them, and the process, even if you have an internal hiring team. Meeting the recruiter for 30 mins will bring the role to life and help get the all-important personality/team fit right. Line managers can often bring a job to life better than HR/Internal talent because this is their area of expertise. It’s fine if the recruiter liaises with HR/Talent, but feedback post interviews are much better 1st hand.  


Is it OK to work with more than one recruiter? 


Of course it is – although some recruiters demand exclusivity. But just make sure all recruiters know who else is working with you. At Stopgap we’re always very explicit about who we’re recruiting for – all our candidates will be fully briefed on the role and the company. So, if we were to approach a super candidate who tells us they’ve already been approached by another recruiter, if it isn’t one of the ones we’ve been told is working alongside us, we’d know this was a recruiter chancing their luck! 


What services can recruiters offer?


Adding value to a client relationship is really important to a recruiter, especially if there is a relationship based on mutual trust. Many are happy to review job descriptions, help with tasks and interview questions. The more you give your trusted recruiter in terms of time, the more they’ll give back to you in their time and effort 



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