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How to Work with a Recruiter (Client Blog)

Remember that a recruiter is there to make your life easier so if your processes are becoming difficult perhaps it is time to think about a new recruiter or change the way you are currently working together.


  • Which one to use

There are a lot of agencies out there and although on the surface they may appear to offer the same service, you will quickly find that they are not all a suitable match for your business or even your specific job role. As with a lot of business relationships, it is not contusive to continue a relationship with a company if your account manager is not suited to the relationship. Would you rather work with a large national business where you may find that you end up working with several different specialist recruiters depending on the job role, or would you rather work alongside one or two recruiters from a small business who will deal with all of your roles company wide?

  • Communication – time scales

Communication is vital when it comes to your relationship with your recruitment consultant. Be clear from the start of the process what you expect from your recruiter and they in turn need to provide you with a clear outline of the service that they aim to provide you with. A recruiter cannot successfully find the right employee for your business if they do not gain an insight into your business. Many hiring managers deem a face to face meeting with a recruiter a waste of time however from the recruiters point of view this is vital and may even be necessary for every new job role. If you are the HR Manager, try to orchestrate a meeting with the department manager involved in the hiring process. The recruiter will benefit greatly from understanding what they are looking for.

  • Honesty

You should be able to trust your recruiter and build up enough rapport to be honest with them. Your recruiter should never be perceived simply as a CV service, they are there to give you advice and support throughout the whole process however this can be difficult if they do not receive honest feedback throughout the process.

  • Relationship – build over time

If you are working exclusively with a recruiter and you have agreed a time scale for the recruitment process, try not to be put off if you initially receive one or two irrelevant CVs within your shortlist. Firstly, you need to ensure that you update with your recruiter and have an in depth conversation about all the CVs you have received and discuss why the recruiter thought they were relevant. You can only gain so much from a CV and your recruiter may have an insight into that candidate which they believe would suit your business needs. Also, this is a learning process for the recruiter too. Until you have built a strong relationship over time, the recruiter needs to understand what you look for in a CV and the type of candidate that stands out to you. A good recruiter will not make the same mistake twice and will get it right in the future. When a good relationship is built we have the confidence to send 1-2 CVs that we know the hiring manager will want to interview as opposed to sending 5-6 that may not be relevant.

  • Rates – Retained

If you are looking for a new recruiter, try not to be tempted by the cheapest rates. It’s the age old saying “you get what you pay for”. If you are purely looking for a CV service from a recruiter, then understandably you can negotiate cheaper rates, however if you expect a more thorough service then you do need to understand that recruiters need to see this reflected in their fee. If you are looking for a new recruiter, speak to several about what they can provide your business – look for indepth candidate interviews, written interview reports and perhaps even ask the recruiter to perform the first stage interview process for you.

  • Working with multiple recruiters

You can’t be blamed for thinking that the more recruiters working on your job then surely you are going to get a better service with more CVs and a better overall shortlist at interview. However in the vast majority of cases you couldn’t be more wrong! We see many businesses with a PSL who have all agreed low rates and get your new roles at the same time.

If a recruiter knows that multi agencies are working on the same role it very quickly becomes a race to submit as many candidates as quickly as possible to avoid missing out due to duplicate candidates being submitted. This results in a very brief CV database search and/or advert, ringing candidates and having a short conversation about the main job details and if the candidate is interested they are submitted. The candidate does not know enough information about the company or role to perform well at interview and the recruiter not only doesn’t have a solid relationship with the candidate, but also doesn’t know enough about their motivations and wants to ensure this is the right role for them. This is not how a recruiter should be working and certainly does not produce the best shortlist. Given more time, a recruiter can spend several days contacting candidates collating a long list of CVs then spending more time screening the candidates and providing you with a carefully selected selection of the best candidates they have to offer.

  • Retained

When you have developed a relationship with your chosen recruiter, the next step is to consider a retained route for your more senior or most important vacancies. A retained assignment generally involves a three stage process which includes three invoices. A total invoice value will be estimated on the target salary then will be split into thirds and paid on the completion of:

  • A shortlist of 3-5 CVs (provided along with a full interview report)
  • An interview schedule with at least 3 candidates
  • Acceptance of an offer

This way of working has huge benefits to both parties as not only does it help with cash flow and budgets, it also ensures that the vacancy is top priority for the recruiter as they know that they are getting a return from the extra work needed to provide the best possible service.



Choose wisely, work on building a partnership approach and agree timescales and strategy from the outset. Strong regular communication will always enable better relationships which means better service for you the customer. Remember a good recruiter can provide you with a valuable service if their expertise is used in the right way.

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