News & insights

Getting the best from your Recruitment Consultant to maximise your investment

By Arthur (AJ) Blyth
Getting the best from your recruitment Consultant Maximising ROI

AJ Blyth is a Business Manager here at SF Recruitment, who specialises in Recruiting talented Qualified & Senior Finance professionals across Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. As is often the case with many of our consultants, AJ has a Bachelor's Degree in Accountancy and Financial Management which he uses to his advantage to not only help him with his work, but occasionally to add extra value by putting pen to paper to share his thoughts and insights.

For this article, AJ shares his experiences to give advice to employers wanting to use the services of a recruitment consultant and advise on how to get the best out of them and ensure the best return on investment!

"I need a purple unicorn, send me your best 5 CVs and I’ll let you know if we’re interested in meeting them…"

Probably THE phrase every recruiter has heard before and probably not for the last time.

Last week I met with a long-standing Finance Director and HR Director client who I’ve worked with a fair amount with the focus of the topic around improving value proposition to the external candidate market and optimising the candidate journey. Two coffees, a tray of sandwiches and a packet of Chocolate Hobnobs later (other biscuit brands are available), we had made some good mileage on ‘What Great Looks Like’ and tightened up some already sound internal recruitment practices.

We all know that recruitment can be a lengthy (sometimes frustrating and disappointing) process, but there are some easy 'fixes' which can ultimately minimise disruption and maximise efficiency. It won’t be a ‘one size fits all’ approach for every business and relationship, but here’s my take on some things which will help you and your recruiter secure the BEST talent in the market and ultimately maximise your ROI (and your time!)

Meet with them
Meeting your recruiter and discussing the business, the role, future plans, challenges etc. are vital to have the CV's and skills (both technical and soft skills) you want to see. Identify and establish clear requirements for the role and know your 'must haves' vs. your 'nice to haves'. Ask for market advice and establish what your hiring market movements are - a good, specialist recruiter should be able to tell you what a 'qualified management accountant with minimum 2 years experience in a retail environment' will demand in the current climate. (You might even get a fancy coffee and sandwich out of it too!)

Be up front, honest and straight with your recruiter
Good prospective candidates ask a lot of questions about the business and role, and it'll only come out in the wash at interview (or sometimes worse when they start). Covering up the proverbial skeletons in the job closet won't do you favours in the long run.

It's significantly more favourable for both parties - often multiple agencies do not lead to a bigger pool to fish in (and is typically more costly too - remember cheapest is not always best however!) By working exclusively with your recruiter, your control over the hiring process will improve, and it'll provide you with a significantly improved service delivery from your recruiter who can spend time finding you the perfect candidate. Not only will you get a better service, but you'll benefit from a developed relationship and partnership between the two businesses - A good recruiter should act as an extended recruitment arm to your existing HR/recruitment team. Did I mention the cost benefits too?

Call a spade, a spade
Sometimes, it's nice to be creative with a job title, but it can be detrimental to the hiring process. If you're looking for a 'Digger Driver', it's unlikely prospective candidates will be searching job boards for the job title 'Dirt Excavation Capital Manoeuvring & Propulsion Specialist' - extreme, I know, but if the job title is fixed by internal policies, tell your recruiter exactly what you want the candidate to do as part of the role and you'll get what you ask for!

Set aside some time
As recruiters, we know it's our full time job to recruit - we also appreciate its a tiny % of yours as a hiring manager and likely to be 1 of 100 things on your priority list at any given time. You'll need the time to review CV's, ask questions, book interviews (and maybe re-book for second stages) - if you simply don't have the time right now, delay the process and book for the future. Ask your recruiter to work with you around your key deadlines so you have defined parameters - that way, we can keep candidates accurately informed throughout the journey (and mitigate risk of losing 'the best' along the way).

It's all in the timing
On the subject of time, where possible it's best to meet candidates close together. Not only do large gaps between first and second stage interviews (or multiple first stage interviews) increase the risk of drop outs, they can make candidates feel 'maybe I'm not what they're looking for' and turn their attention elsewhere. Likewise, large voids of time between CV submission and interview, or interview and offer lead to assumptions and the thoughts of 'maybe they're just not that keen on me'. Keep your recruiter informed and we'll do the hard work for you.

Square Peg, Pentagonal Hole
It does happen - sometimes that 'Purple Unicorn' just doesn't exist - It can be a difficult issue to overcome, especially if you are working on deliverables that require a unique or particular set of skills. Utilise your recruiter to provide you with tailored advice to help you make informed decisions about the role, salary etc - it's unlikely you have an endless budget, however will that extra £5k on the salary provide you with suitable ROI for the role the candidate will be undertaking. Ask yourself what the opportunity cost of not hiring vs. someone who can adequately do 85% of the role you're looking to fill?

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Tell us if the role changes, tell us if timescales move, tell us if you need to push things back, tell us why you do/don't think that CV is suitable. A good recruiter is there to support and advise you, and work with you to find the best available talent to you.

One of the biggest (and often most understandable) gripes from candidates is lack of communication, particularly around interviews and offer feedback. It is often easy to say why you think someone is so well suited to offer a role to - it's more difficult to provide info to those who aren't successful. A good recruiter will pass this information on to the candidate - If they were amazing but just pipped to the post, why? If they didn't present well at interview, what could they improve on next time? What advice can you give as an experienced professional to those coming through the ranks? - This goes a long way to provide not only a satisfactory degree of information back to individuals who have taken time to meet with you, but also reaffirms a positive external image of the business. You never know, that candidate might be perfect for your next hire, or may have just had an off-day as a result of nerves!

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and of course is an 'ideal world' set of examples. As recruiters, often the examples above lead to better quality delivery and a better use of your time and therefore a more positive ROI!

If you'd like to discuss how I can support you in hiring the next talented individual for your business, please get in touch by email or phone 07548314927. I look forward to hearing from you.

Arthur (AJ) Blyth
Business Manager