The latest thinking, news and events from the world of Recruitment

Find the Right Recruiter for your Company


When you ask a recruiter to find you the right person for your job, you’re not paying for a high quality candidate; you’re paying for the high quality consultative service that is required to find that candidate. If the next thought that pops into your head is ‘but my recruiter isn’t consultative and sends me useless candidates’, the chances are you’re working with a recruiter that doesn’t have the necessary skills, or knowledge of your industry to perform this search for you.

Common complaints about recruiters:

  • I just get sent a pile of CVs to sift through (with average / poor candidates)
  • They don’t stay in touch or update me- are they actually working on my job?
  • They are pushy
  • Candidate flaws are concealed
  • I get the same results by advertising jobs myself

If you are experiencing these problems, it’s time to start speaking to other recruiters. Having said that, some people may prefer limited recruiter contact and a mountain of CVs to look at. If this is you, please stop reading (it was good while it lasted).

Recruiters who work by headhunting and referrals won’t be sending you CVs in double digit figures. Those presented should be capable of doing the job, but recruiters should also consider personality fit, location, and motivation. When it comes to recruitment the devil really is in the detail. Here is an example: Jason who lives in London says he is happy to relocate, so recruiter A puts him forward to a job in Scotland. Recruiter B quizzes Jason more thoroughly about what he needs to consider before the move. It doesn’t take long before Jason realises that relocating is not an option at this stage in his life. Jason lets the company and recruiter A down when it’s crunch time. Meanwhile, recruiter B has just placed Jason in a more local job. You need the better trained and more thorough recruiter B for your company.

Good recruiters will stay in touch and build a relationship with you. They’ll understand your company culture. If you’re not in regular contact with you recruiter (for whatever reason) then it’s unlikely you will be getting the most out of the service, which can leave you feeling like your recruiter is just swivelling around on chairs all day.
Your recruiter should never be pushy – positive and organised yes, but pushy no. However, once you have decided to recruit, they should encourage you to take speedy action before your favourite candidates joins a faster moving competitor. Time kills all deals! However, recruiters should never pressurise anyone into situations that they are uncomfortable in. Putting someone in a role that they don’t want will inevitably lead to problems down the line, and that can damage the reputation of a recruiter.

As in any profession (with the exception of magicians), it is essential to maintain honesty and integrity. It’s essential for your recruiter to highlight the positives of a candidate, as well as any flaws that they have. Undisclosed issues can be very damaging for all involved further down the line. To help avoid this, some recruiters take references for you as part of the service; find out if yours do!

Advertising vacancies can work for you in certain circumstances, but it’s certainly not the best way. Most candidates who respond to ads are actively looking and probably unhappy in their current job, but the best people for your vacancy usually aren’t as active. The best people are probably very happy and successful in their current role but may be open to hearing about career opportunities, if they are approached in a professional manner. You occasionally find gems applying for roles through ads, but they are rare. Recruiters will usually advertise jobs on your behalf, but as mentioned before, the best recruiters will actively headhunt the right people by networking and asking for referrals. Ask your recruiter how he/she sources candidates.

Recruiters must interview candidates in depth. If your recruiter doesn’t do this – he/she probably is just swivelling around on chairs! The sales person in your competitor company might seem perfect for your sales role, but unless your recruiter interviews them you won’t know. They might be looking to move into technical support or out of commercial work altogether. If their CV is sent without interview, it will end up wasting everybody’s time. If your recruiter is already interviewing candidates, it might be worth giving them screening questions to ask on your behalf. This can be very useful when you require a specific level of technical knowledge.

Which recruiter shall I contact?

*Quick ad break*


Small print: This is meant to be humorous, unless you are looking for a commercial life science recruiter, in which case I am not joking. Call me. Now.

*ad break over*

Find a recruiter who listens, and is proactive about sourcing the right people. They will understand you and make an effort to source the best talent according to your brief. This results in a higher hit rate for finding perfect candidates.

  • A specialist recruiter who works in your market
  • Member of a professional body e.g. The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)
  • If you are looking for a rare talent, find a recruiter who works by retained search
  • Interviews candidates before presenting them to you
  • Takes a detailed and full job specification
  • Stays in touch regularly
  • Manages candidate expectations
  • Manages the entire interview process
  • Takes references on your behalf
  • It takes two to tango!

This is a two sided business relationship. As a client you must do your part in the interview process, and maintain a strong working connection.

When a recruiter takes a job on, they need to have a clear idea of what the role is. So you are looking for a Business Development Manager in the South East. Okay, so it’s a BD role, but what kind of BD? What market? Will they be finding new clients or new contacts in well-established accounts? A BD role in the South East could mean anything, and recruiter B will know what it means in each case. If you want a recruiter to do a good job for you, you must be willing to explain exactly what you are looking for in a detailed conversation.

When you find a recruiter who seems to tick all the boxes for you, the best thing to do is to meet them in person. It’s always good to put a face to a name. When you have met a person it becomes a lot easier to communicate.
Good luck in your search, and please share!

Written by Sajedeh Zand-Lashani