Hiring Managers – How to get the best from your recruiter

Hiring Managers – How to get the best from your recruiter:

First off and let me get it out there; this isn’t meant to be one sided toward recruiters trying to advise and patronise hiring managers. I’ve been both sides of the fence so have faced both experiences first hand on numerous occasions. And therefore this is for the benefit of a hiring manager who is looking to use or is using recruitment agencies to support their hiring needs.

With that, let’s paint a picture. Maybe you’ve had someone hand their notice in or you’ve got sign off to hire a new employee. I myself have hired many people to work for me and recognise the familiar feeling of excitement and imagination of being able to appoint somebody new to the team. Excitement and imagination, you say? You know the fuzzy feeling of dreaming that this new employee will be a star in the team. They’ll bring something fresh, beneficial and ultimately profitable to your bottom line. But, and there is a but, it’s easier said than done.

The reality of the current marketplace is that there is a skills shortage. I wrote about it in a previous blog if you want more detail: https://revorec.com/the-increasing-uk-skills-shortage-causes-and-solutions/

Following Brexit this predicament is likely to get worse. How worse is dependent on how much you listen to the naysayers. Yet from a common sense standpoint if we have shored up many skills gaps using EU migrant workers over the last few years and that option will no longer be such a fluent option post Brexit, then the statistics indicate that the situation will only deteriorate further.

So, what does this have to do with getting the best from your recruiter?

A good recruiter will be well informed of candidates and their specific marketplace as their career would be relatively short lived otherwise. Therefore, they’ll know who the candidates are, where to find them, the current market and your competition vying for the same talent pool. Like yourselves and any other company in business, the recruitment agencies are reliant on making a profit. If you start making losses, we all know how that one goes.

From a recruiter’s perspective they will want to work with clients that they can make a profit from and, in an ideal world, be able to build a relationship that delivers repeat business. This sounds common sense right? It would seem so, but consider some typical frustrations that every recruiter will experience:

1-Client’s taking an age to come back on CV’s

2-Client’s wanting to arrange an interview in 2 or 3 weeks time and expecting the candidates to still be on the market

3-Client’s going quiet on the communication front for no reason

4-Client’s agreeing to CV’s that meet a certain criteria and then going back on their word

5-Client’s suddenly putting a job on hold late in the process

I said that this would be neutral so let us explore the other side of the coin. What are the typical reasons for this and the challenges that hiring managers face:

1-Client’s have a full time job to do in the first place and more often than not, other tasks take priority over giving feedback on CV’s

2-Client’s diaries may be booked up over the next few weeks and that’s the soonest that they can squeeze someone in for interview

3-A more pressing priority has taken their commitment and recruitment will have to wait

4-At the time the agreed CV skills criteria was fine, but things change

5-Sometimes the powers that be above take the authority to hire out of hiring managers hands at their own whim without warning

To clarify for the sake of argument there really are two sides to the story. Apart from the 5th example though, regarding clients having the power to hire removed from them, the other four are solvable. It all boils down to what constitutes a priority.

It has been said that employees are the lifeblood of your company. See, it’s not just me saying it:


Add to that, and barring the 5th example above, if you are hiring then you have a “need” to hire someone.

Regarding clients having other priorities over coming back on CV’s:

This is very frustrating from a recruiter’s perspective. You have asked them to do a task for you, more often than not (unless they are on a retainer for their services), they won’t even get paid unless they place someone with you. If you then feel other priorities take precedence over feeding back on CV’s or arranging interviews it’s simply a waste of time for not only the recruiter, but the candidates also. The recruiter will come to feel unsure as to whether spending more of their time (we get pretty busy too) interviewing, searching, networking, advertising and hunting down candidates for you is worth it if, by the time you finally do come back on CV’s, those same candidates have found a job elsewhere. If you had been asked to do a job from your boss, spent hours and days working on it, only for them to delay even speaking to you about it, how would you feel? Would you be as keen to do a job for them next time if you could simply work for another boss?

If you need a recruiter then use one, but just be upfront about timescales. I have clients that warn me 2 weeks in advance of a new job vacancy so I can be ready when they are. And how long does it take to sift through 10 CV’s? You don’t need to read every word. Look at the career history, skills, experience and qualifications as a skim read and read the recruiters notes they tend to add at the top of the CV. Surely if you were that committed to wanting to hire someone then you can find half an hour somewhere to do this. Ultimately, if you want talent, you’ll have to find that half hour somewhere.

Regarding client’s booked out diaries for 2-3 weeks:

If your diary is full for the next 2 to 3 weeks and there is no way you can interview anyone during that period, why not wait until you are free to start looking into hiring someone? The average time frame for candidates being on the market is 3 weeks. Top candidates can be on and off the market in 10 days:


In my experience on the recruitment side of the fence, the amount of new clients that will tell me that their hiring “need” is urgent, that they want someone in “asap” and that they can interview them “yesterday” is plentiful. Yet an alarming amount then seem utterly surprised when after requesting a candidate for interview at their soonest availability in 2-3 weeks that the candidate goes off the market. If politely and diplomatically I were to recommend to the client when they initially requested a candidate for interview, in 2-3 weeks time, of the risks of delay and the reasons for this being unwise it is not uncommon for this to be viewed as pushy.

I would like to clarify that this is not being pushy. There is a reason that a good recruiter will advise you of things and it tends to be just as much in your best interests as it is theirs. Talent is hard to find. Add to that candidates are being phoned, emailed and LinkedIn in-mailed about jobs from other recruitment agencies also competing for their skills. All the recruiter wants to do is be able to give the candidate the chance to meet you and you the chance to meet the candidate. If you don’t like the candidate after interviewing them, they cannot force you to employ them.

Regarding more pressing priorities:

Things come up. Everybody understands. But simply set a new timescale with your recruiter as soon as you know. Drop a quick email. That way they can work with this. All a recruiter wants to know is that you are committed when things like this come up. We can work with that. If you keep delaying and things keep coming up though that often gets a recruiter nervy. The simple solution is make a decision and be straight up and honest about it. Trust me, recruiters are pretty thick skinned and we’d rather know where we stand than having some long winded excuse in an attempt not to hurt our feelings.

Regarding CV skills criteria changing midway through a job search:

It is common place for a recruiter to try to “open the job spec up”. This is basically because clients (and I can understand this), will want the best talent that they can get. It is a matter of getting good old “Value for Money”. However, a recruiter will know their market and it is often the case that the client’s expectations of available talent for their budget can be a little optimistic. To be honest I can completely sympathise with a client on this as even when I started out the markets have changed so much that sourcing for then easy to fill jobs are now like finding a needle in a stack of haystacks. After all us recruiters do recruitment full time and clients may do it only a few times a year.

This initial conversation and agreement of an opened up job spec can often be forgotten when a hiring manager may speak to colleagues, family, friends or friends of people who “know their stuff” when it comes to recruitment. It’s been said to me on countless occasions by many honest and legitimate clients that after taking advice from others, they want to revert to the original job spec. When I dig down as to why, it’s often because people that they trust have advised them to do so. The dilemma for a client is that if 5 people are all telling you 1 thing and you know and trust them and some recruiter you hardly know on the other end of the line is telling you something else, it’s understandable to be swayed by the majority.

If you want to get the best from your recruiter you’re going to need to trust their judgement. The person you will be dealing with is paid full time to work in your market, deal with the candidates in your market and the competitors of yours all looking for the same talent pool. Who will be the credible expert on the recruitment of talent in your industry? Your recruiter or your wife or husband for example.

To conclude: If you want to get the best from your recruiter you need to consider 5 things:

1-Be honest, up front and straight with your recruiter when it comes to communicating things. They’re on your side and they’ll want repeat business. If they do a bad job for you, you’ll never use them again. It’s in their interest to do a good job for you and get results.

2-If you are going to hire recognise that you will need to set time aside. That’s time to read CV’s, time to speak with or email your recruiter and time to interview candidates. It won’t take days and days, but half hour or so to read CV’s each week, a half day here and there for interviews and 15 minutes two or three times a week to speak with the recruiter. Do this and they can do their job properly for you.

3-Find a good recruiter and stick with them. Some companies do a Preferred Suppliers List. If they get results and even when they don’t you know they weren’t far off, you’ve got a good recruiter at your disposal.

4-Trust their judgement – Good recruiters aren’t there to waste your time or lie to you. They get paid only when they get results for you and if they send you CV’s or put candidates in front of you that are of poor quality you wouldn’t use them again anyway.

5-Be committed to working with them. They may need information or have questions to help you get the talent you want. Make sure to give them the time so that they can do their job properly for you. They generally won’t need long, but it’s also in your best interests too.


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