How to get the best out of Recruitment Agencies

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The benefits of working with a recruitment agency are well established: immediate access to a large pool of candidates, considerable time saved by off-loading your shortlisting and selection processes and receiving support when it comes to salary negotiations or counter offers. The end goal is to fill your vacancy quickly but with the best talent available.

Choosing the right recruitment agency to work with is an important step in securing the best talent available. We have written a separate article on how to choose the right agency, which you can find here.

But once you have an agency in place and are looking to take your recruitment campaign forward, there are several things to keep in mind to ensure the process is as quick and as efficient as possible. No matter how good the agency you have selected is, there are some things that remain within your control that can result in the process failing at the later or final stages. To ensure this does not happen, keep in mind the following points whenever you are working with a recruitment agency: -

 

Identify and establish clear requirements

As with any campaign, it is vitally important to set out the core requirements of the position, a detailed brief or job specification that identifies the role’s minimum requirements and other desirable skills or traits will be crucial for your agency to initiate their search. If you are using an outdated job spec or have limited information on the role, you run the risk of interviewing or progressing with candidates which should not have not passed the initial shortlist. A good agency will be able to work with you to create a detailed and accurate job specification. And also over time, as your relationship builds, the agency will be able to understand your business, the goals you are looking to achieve and the organisation’s culture, this will help them search for candidates that fit more than just skill sets but also fit into your team and reflect your company’s values.  

 

Be open-minded – the perfect candidate may not exist!

This can be a tricky issue to overcome, especially if you are working on deliverables that require a unique or particular set of skills. Even though you are using an agency with a large pool of potential candidates, the skill set you require maybe scarce or simply not be available! This may be due to budget restraints, lack of talent in your area or the fact you are working on an emerging technology that limits the availability of candidates. It is strongly advised to always ask your agency their thoughts on market availability / any potential issues that may arise should you instruct them to search a vacancy. By doing this you will get tailored advice which you may be able to overcome relatively easily, you do not want to issue a vacancy only to find out several days later you have not received any applications.

An agency should be able to consult on the local market and highlight if they expect a high or low level of applicants for your role. If they expect a low level, what flexibility could you make to fill your position? Is relevant industry sector an absolute must, are you open to individuals outside of your immediate locale? This also ties into establishing clear requirements, if pushed, what skills would you consider a desirable, rather than a must. One of the biggest issues filling difficult positions comes down to rigid requirements when, in reality, some skills could be learned on the job or ultimately not required. Is it not better to have someone join that fits the role 80%, rather than leaving the position unfilled for months?

 

Keep communication channels open

The most efficient way of having your position filled with a talented candidate is to keep the lines of communication open with your agency. This includes providing feedback on applications and interviews. If a candidate is being rejected, why is that? Passing this information back to your agency will highlight that you do not want to see more candidates with the same or similar issues. It is also common practise for a requirement to change midway through a recruitment campaign, ensure you are keeping your agency up to date on changes of requirements with a role to ensure you are receiving applications that match your current needs.

 

It’s all in the timing

Finally, keeping your agent up to date with time frames for certain stages such as application feedback, interview selection/bookings or issuing potential offers will help them maintain and keep a potential interested candidate warm. In the current market, talented candidates may have 2-3 other interviews booked in during the same week, they maybe trying to balance 1 or 2 other job offers against each other. If you delay in providing feedback or wait several days to offer a candidate a role, you run the risk of them being snapped up elsewhere. Offering a candidate shortly after interview actually goes a long way in attracting talent to your company, we have many candidates say they were impressed with receiving an offer shortly after interview, it showed them you are very interested and want them to join, which can sometimes tip the balance if they are trying to decide between your role or your competitors!

At the end of the day, using a recruitment agency will increase the likelihood and speed of filling your vacancy but you will still need to keep the channels of communication open throughout the whole process. A good recruitment consultant is only as good as the information you provide them!

Deerfoot IT is a privately owned, independent IT specialist recruitment agency that has been operating for over 20 years. We have many client relationships that have stood the test of time (our very first client from 20 years ago is still one of our largest and most successful clients to date!). All of our recruitment consultants are REC certified and specialists in IT recruitment and our goal is to build a long-term relationship and provide a deeper and more personal recruitment service to hiring managers, HR departments and business owners.