By Gemma Morris
5th November 2012

You’ve decided to enlist the help of a specialist recruiter to fill your vacancy, but how do you ensure you are making the most of your recruitment agency and getting the best value?

We see this as a two-way partnership - it’s not just about filling a job, but about ensuring we find the right person who will fit with an organisation’s culture and long-term plans. On this basis, we’ve developed some great relationships, with many of our clients returning time and time again.

We’ve been thinking about how we have ensured that these relationships stand the test of time and remain successful, what businesses value most and how we have worked best together.

Here are our top tips for making the most of your recruitment agency: 

Let them under your skin

To get the very best results out of your recruiter it’s wise to allocate some time upfront to give them as much information as possible about your company culture, values, growth plans, structure, recruitment issues and procedures, as well as details about the job role and package on offer.  This is particularly important when working with an agency for the first time.  By helping a recruiter to fully understand your business from the outset, you will ensure that that they have all the information they need to find the right candidates first time round, saving you time in the long term and on future vacancies.

Understanding your recruitment process

What are the timescales involved?  Who will be interviewing? What is the format for interviews?   What are your reasons for recruiting? By giving your recruiter as much information as possible about your recruitment process they can better manage the candidate’s expectations and make sure they are properly briefed for interviews - ensuring a smoother process all-round.

Communication is key

We understand how frustrating it can be to not hear back from a recruiter on the progress they are making. Therefore, we regularly update our clients throughout the entire process.  To facilitate this, it’s helpful to try to make yourself available as much as possible, responding as quickly as you can to any messages - even if it is to say that you’ll get back in touch when you’re less strapped for time. If we have been unsuccessful in contacting a client for some time, we start to assume that a job has been filled and we are no longer required. Regular communication helps both parties - you will feel more in control and confident that your recruitment is being well-managed, and the recruiter will feel assured that they can continue to work on your job as well as keep their candidates informed.

Give as much feedback as possible

Feedback on CVs and interviews, whether good or bad, is vital. Never feel that you are unable to say if a candidate is not quite what you are looking for - this feedback can really help recruiters find the right person next time.  Not just for your immediate need, but on future opportunities too.

Clear timescales

To ensure everyone is working to the same goals, be realistic about the timescales involved and ensure your recruiter is also clear about them. Consider when you will have the time to review CVs. When you will be able to conduct interviews?  In an ideal world, when can this person start?

Market  information

Using a specialist recruiter means they should know your market inside out. That means they can be a valuable source of information on what’s going on in the sector, the skills in demand and short supply, and the salary range on offer for a particular role. Make full use of their knowledge to help you to market your role in the best possible way.

Encourage transparency

We believe the best relationships are built on being open and honest in all dealings. Be as honest as you can from the outset about what you hope to achieve and when, and continue this approach throughout the process to ensure the best results and to nip any niggles in the bud quickly and painlessly.

Agree Ts & Cs

All good recruiters will agree terms and conditions with you BEFORE they start working  on a vacancy.  If this hasn’t happened, or you have your own company terms and conditions, make sure this is discussed and agreed before work starts.   Once a candidate has been interviewed or placed, it becomes much trickier to resolve if there is an issue.

Managing the offer process

Once you’ve found a great candidate that you feel is the perfect fit for your role it can be tempting to step in and manage the offer process yourself. By leaving it to the recruiter, they will help smooth the way at what can be a stressful time for a candidate. They will also be able to spot any warning signs if there are any problems with a resignation and deal with all the salary and package negotiations. 

Spotlight on recruitment

We hope that you have enjoyed this Spotlight article. If there is a topic you would like us to cover please comment below.

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