By James Caan CBE


For the past year I’ve been focusing on how recruiters can train, upskill and harness the recruitment methodology in order to provide the best service for their clients through my work on Recruitment Guide; the world’s first recruitment training hub.

However, after 30 years of working in recruitment, I’m always surprised that many clients enlist the support of recruiters but rarely take the time to consider how best to work with them. Engaging with a specialist recruitment agency can help you to open doors to a wealth of new talent for your business and so it’s worth having a plan of action so that you get the most out of the experience.

Here are my top tips:


Always meet face to face

In our ever connected world, it’s easy to do everything remotely. I might sound old school but I genuinely believe that a face to face meeting makes all the difference in establishing good working relationships. This is particularly true when it comes to hiring for your business. Taking the time to meet your recruiter in person at your offices allows them to absorb your working environment and really get to grips with your ethos and culture. Your recruiter will be better equipped to share the highlights of your business and roles to potential candidates if they’ve been there and seen the business and staff in action for themselves. In my own experience as a recruiter, there were so many candidates I could have ruled out as unsuitable from the start due to the cultural fit if I’d been able to come in and see the client’s business for myself.  Allowing your recruiter to see the business for themselves will help them to make more accurate decisions as part of their selection and sourcing process.


Honesty is the best policy

Clients always tell recruiters the obvious information… things they could probably find out from researching your company website and social media feeds. If you want to add real value to your recruiters search you should open up as much as possible about the role, why it’s come about and some of the pressures or challenges you’ve faced in recruiting for the position already. What’s really going on behind the scenes at your business? Why are you recruiting for this particular role, or why has it been struggle to find someone with that specific skillset? If a recruiter really understands your needs and skill requirements and some of the challenges you’ve faced, they will avoid time wasting in their search for you. Be clear about your expectations for the role too, and think about why or how a candidate might fail in the position. Recruiters need to know all the details of the hiring process for your business too and your preferred ways of working to help keep things moving fast and smoothly. A detailed job brief will assist in the search but it’s the extra details that can make all the difference. Tell us as much as you can about how many candidates to shortlist for you, any competitor companies you’d like us to watch out for or avoid and so on, it will bring us closer to finding your dream hire.


Recruiters are knowledge workers and can advise you 

Most consultants specialise and the best will know their market well and stay on top of the latest trends within their industry.  They are talking to and building relationships with people in your sector every day, which means they’ll be the first to know how the market is evolving and what skills are in high demand and why. Don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter for advice when creating a new role or specifying the job brief. If you’re not sure where to place the salary or what benefits to offer, your recruiter can advise on how you compare across the market and what candidates expect. Beyond salary and benefits packages, recruiters can also support your recruitment process and offer you interview tips too. Market intelligence can only serve to support your search and recruiters are experts in the field of recruitment, so why wouldn’t you make good use of their years of experience and expertise across all areas of your search?


Keep the feedback coming…. And fast

If you’ve been introduced to a great candidate through your recruiter, make sure you pick up the phone and feedback as quickly as possible to make sure you don’t miss out on securing them for the next stage. Good candidates that you gel with are never available for long and it’s likely that you’re not the only one who’d like to snap them up for your team. Don’t lose out on a great candidates by not keeping us in the loop with feedback. The sooner we know you’re interested, the faster we can begin warming them up to a potential offer. Equally, if you’ve met a candidate that didn’t quite meet your expectations, be honest about why. Don’t just rule a recruiter out due to one bad experience, share feedback about why they weren’t quite right and your recruiter will know and learn for next time and adapt their sourcing plan for you. Recruiter client relationships develop over time and not everyone gets a perfect fit immediately. Receiving this feedback and next steps quickly can make all the difference in securing that top talent for your business and not losing them to your competition.


Using your recruitment consultants effectively and building a good working relationships with them from the beginning, will save you time in the long run. Exceptional recruiters who follow the process methodologically can make a huge difference to your business through a myriad of talent attraction strategies. Working on Recruitment Guide has only reaffirmed my confidence in the difference that good quality consultants can make to the businesses and clients they service. The best trained recruiters offer the full package for their clients and candidates, following the process meticulously so that it’s a win-win for everyone involved.