By Colette Brown. Posted in Blog

PR and Communications, like so many industries, is a people business and as such, you would expect investment in talent to be right up there. Perhaps that’s not one to dive into right now, but how to get the best out of your recruitment partner as a client, is definitely worth a few paragraphs.

We’ve said before and will no doubt be saying for years to come, recruitment doesn’t have the best rep.

An argument perhaps that the recruitment industry itself needs to invest in some decent comms and reputation management (also, one for another day) but the common refrains that have been used for as long as I’ve been in the job include; it’s money for old rope, chucking CVs around to hope they stick, and the desire to land a bum on a seat – any bum on any seat; accusations that are readily thrown at us.

But of course, I would beg to differ.

We’re often asked why some places manage to secure great talent over others. In the main, this is of course, down to employer brand and reputation. If the word out there is that you’re not great to work for, people won’t be queuing up.

But the relationship you have with your recruiters to help you secure great people, shouldn’t be overlooked.

So, below are a just a few thoughts on how to properly engage with the recruitment business you work with, to get the best out of them and way more than just that ‘bum on a seat’.

Why do you need us?

Imagine your average day. Demanding clients (lost of them) deadlines to hit, teams to manage, budgets to sort, creds decks to check, pitch rehearsals to attend. The list goes on. All in an environment when you’re (usually) stretched for resource. Throw in the fact you need to recruit, and you realise you need a 30-hour day.

Working properly with a dedicated recruitment team can save you a lot of that thing you’re short of, time.

But . . .

Invest the time from the outset

To get the best out of your recruitment partner and to secure the talent you want, you need to invest some of the precious stuff, (time) up front. It’s not good enough to call up asking ‘can you find me an AM’ – it won’t net the result you’re looking for.

Starting out with a recruiter, you should ideally meet them. Give them a view of the business, the structure, the culture, the clients, the work. You know the sort of thing. You were a candidate once. What would you want to know about a possible future employer? Working with a good recruiter is beneficial, but we aren’t mind readers. We represent you out in the market. We sell your business. So, forgive me for stating the obvious, but the more information we are armed with, the better our chances of success.

Think long term.

The clue is in the title. We like to be thought of as recruitment partners.

Not just that lot who are a necessary evil and charge you a small mortgage to find someone to come and work for you. After all, it can’t be that hard, can it?

Actually, it is. The reason we like to partner with you is so we can act as an extension of your team. What’s the recruitment strategy this year? Where may there be gaps? Which skills do we need to bring into the business? What trends is the industry witnessing?

We have our ear to the ground. Speak day in and day out to your employees and competitors. Who better than us, to tell you what we’re seeing in the industry so you can keep one step ahead. (Respecting client confidentiality of course)

Respect our time and the time of candidates. 

I think we’ve used the pitching analogy already, but it’s a good one. The stories we hear regarding the frustrations of pitching from our agency clients are numerous. The time and money that goes into them, sometimes in the knowledge that it’s led by procurement with the incumbent about to be reappointed, or knowing it was a beauty parade and no matter what you did, how amazing your idea was or your price point, it was never yours to win.

A total waste of time.

It’s not dissimilar for recruiters. We are generally paid only on success. We find the talent, interview them, brief them, put them forward to your business and hope that they receive an offer which they accept. We invest a huge amount of time and resource into that process and only then, can we get paid.

There’s no point in moaning about that here, it’s the recruitment model and though far from ideal, it’s helped by clients who recognise it and help us, to help them. So, to get the best out of your recruitment partners, consider their time as well as the time of those whom we introduce.

  • Do you really need this hire and why?
  • Have you provided as much information as possible to get the best outcome?
  • Have you updated your recruiters on where you are in the process and if your needs have changed?
  • Have you highlighted your priority roles to allow your partners to understand which deserve their focus?
  • Have you provided comprehensive feedback to be given to candidates in the process?

And finally, as we say to candidates; please don’t ignore us. We understand things happen. Work gets busy. It may just slip your mind to mention that you have filled that role or no longer have a need.  You may want to work with a different partner. You may need to discuss terms.

Whatever is going on just spare a thought for the fact we’re still out there, trying to find you the best possible talent.

Just let us know. To coin a phrase:

In an industry that is all about communication. Please excel at it.