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8 key steps to take before you engage a recruiter.

8 key steps to take before you engage a recruiter

The support of someone who holds a certain level of expertise within their field will be a huge benefit when it comes to finding the perfect hire, so it is well worth giving careful consideration to the recruiter you work with 


When looking to make a new hire, you undoubtedly want to find someone who is the best fit for the role, the team and your organisation. With more and more candidates joining the global workforce on a daily basis, finding the right individual can sometimes seem like an arduous task. Recruiters are here to do their best to make the process much quicker and easier for you, so that you can get on with what needs to be done in your day job. The need to hire the best possible person in the market should be your top priority: adding value and quality to every team gives the business the greatest chance of success!

Engaging a recruiter can be highly beneficial for your business: it gives you the opportunity to work with someone who has a vast width and depth of knowledge, it removes a great amount of stress from your shoulders and it is also a way of ensuring that you are meeting with the best candidates available. It is of utmost importance, then, that the recruiter you are supported by is an expert within their respective field. Therefore, before you engage, there are certain questions that are worth assessing:

1.) Do you know exactly what you need in the person you are looking to hire?

Time is the most precious resource of all, and spending time interviewing people who will not add value or whom can’t be hired makes no sense at all. The entire process will be sped up tenfold and made much easier if you have a clear idea of the sort of individual you want. Some employers may think that giving a recruiter such a detailed and specific list of requirements will make their job a lot harder: whilst this sometimes is true, in the long run, you will have a much higher success rate if they know exactly what they are searching for. It is counter-productive to be ambiguous about what you need, and it will be frustrating for both parties if you are being sent multiple candidates who are then rejected. Not to mention the job satisfaction is far greater when a unicorn is found!

2.) Have all stakeholders involved in the hire agreed what is required?

Whilst it’s positive that the right role is identified, all parties involved in the hire need to be onboard with the key qualities and skills which are needed. Teamwork really does make the dream work, so it is imperative that everyone involved is in harmony as to what is needed in a new member of staff. For team to work together successfully, there needs to be a sense of synergy, and this can only be achieved through good communication and shared goals.

3.) Do you have a framework to interview from to create consistency?

Having a structure to work around before starting an interview process is key to consistently analysing who is the best suited candidate for a role. From a candidate’s perspective, if the hiring process feels disorganised or non-committal, they are going to have doubts about joining the organisation. Furthermore, if multiple candidates who are all up for the same position are not being assessed in the same way, you will struggle to get a true and realistic indication as to whom is best suited.

4.) Have you looked internally first?

All companies should assess internal talent first; this creates a culture where people know they will be given the opportunity for progression if they are performing well. Staff retention is important in any business: you will struggle with this if strong employees feel they are being overlooked for opportunities. It is always good to advertise internally in the first instance, as you open the role up to people who are already a good culture fit and who know the business model and ethos well.

This could also mean looking in other teams and departments: skills are often transferable. There may be excellent talent hiding in plain sight, don’t overlook it! The majority of soft skills are interchangeable and there is a good chance that there will be people in other departments who are keen to broaden their horizons and explore other opportunities within the business. If you discount this possibility, you may well find that your staff start to look elsewhere.

5.) Analyse your current market to assess how challenging it will be to engage with the right talent externally.

Never go into a search blindly: if you know a market is competitive, it will allow you to adapt your methodology of how you look to source to ensure you get to the right talent quickly. As an example, if you are hiring a German Internal Sales Rep and typically always advertise first, analyse the market you are advertising in and for. If you see that a lot of your competitors are looking for the same skills but are getting few to no applications, this won’t be your best route to market.

6.) Create an external strategy to ensure you are engaging with all candidates in the market not only the ones on the market.

A blended recruitment strategy is required to ensure you don’t miss the right talent to take your business forward. Having one specialist recruiter managing the entire process for you means that they will truly get involved and will quickly become familiar with how your individual process operates and what character traits will and won’t work well for you.

In addition to this, engaging with the right specialist recruiter can give your hiring process momentum. They will have a network of people that can quickly be utilised to your advantage, from candidates that they know are looking, to following up on head-hunting leads, to pursuing great recommendations made by others within their network.

7.) Before speaking to a recruiter, do your due diligence to ensure you are speaking to the right supplier for your company.

A niche recruiter should always have a deeper knowledge and network in their specific area. Utilising a company such as this may be more expensive, but it significantly increases your chances of identifying the right calibre of person in the quickest possible time. I like to use the analogy of choosing to go to a restaurant: whilst going to a fast food restaurant is quick and generally cheap, it’s more likely your food’s not going to be the best quality. If you go to a fine dining restaurant, you go with the expectation that the meal is going to take longer and will be more expensive, but that the end quality will always be of a much higher standard. Ultimately, they both serve food but it’s a very different experience.

8.) Meet with the recruiter

A dedicated recruiter will always want to meet their client before starting an assignment: we want to get under the skin of what makes you tick, what type of profile will genuinely make a difference to your business and most importantly, get a feel for the culture and the type of personal qualities that are needed to really compliment your team. This is much harder to analyse over the phone! An hour spent conversing face-to-face with a recruitment partner is likely to save many hours of unnecessary interviewing further down-the-line. In addition to this, we also want to represent your business in the exact manner you would when we speak to a prospective employee on your behalf: if we are not doing this, great talent could be lost from the hiring process, which will be detrimental to the quality of your shortlist.

In short, it is key that the recruiter is a strong match for the client, and vice versa. When you are looking to make a new hire, it is important to know exactly what you are looking for and to have all involved parties in agreement with regards to this. The support of someone who holds a certain level of expertise within their respective field will be a huge benefit when it comes to finding the perfect hire, so it is well worth pursuing your options and giving careful consideration to the recruiter you choose to engage with.