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What should businesses expect when working with a recruitment agency?

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Faced with the daunting task of sourcing and securing the right talent for their team, hiring managers have two options: to dedicate their time towards attracting and screening Candidates or to seek the services of an external specialist. By opting for the latter of the two, businesses should expect to benefit from increased efficiency and a better quality of hire.

That said, not all agencies are equal in calibre or reliability. If you’ve never worked with an external recruiter, it’s natural to feel apprehensive: after all, you need to ensure the return is worth what can be a significant investment. If your recruitment agency hasn’t articulated what their service entails, you should expect to receive the following:

A personal connection

The right sourcing partner can provide you with a steady stream of suitable talent to meet the changing needs of your business. They achieve this by building strong professional relationships with their Clients and gaining an understanding of their unique challenges and objectives. A dedicated recruiter doesn’t simply send every available Candidate your way: their job is to source professionals that suit the ethos of your business and the unique requirements of the role. In order to present you with a shortlist of high-potential Candidates, they must get to know your business and its unique place in the market.

A strong shortlist within an agreed timeframe

Having received a detailed brief of your ideal Candidate, a recruiter should be able to provide you with a shortlist of suitable professionals within a set time-frame. Before presenting you with this shortlist, your dedicated recruitment consultant should have met with each Candidate face-to-face as part of the initial screening process: if they haven’t done so, they’ve cut out a crucial part of the service you should be receiving. As well as the names and contact details of the shortlisted Candidates, your recruiter should include their CV, salary expectations, start-date and interview availability.

Efficient communication

It may be a given, but no recruiter should force their Clients to constantly chase for updates. Reliable recruitment consultants ask their Clients which communication channel is preferred and use this to keep in touch. Not only should they promptly organise interviews with your chosen Candidates, they should be quick to relay feedback once the interview has taken place. Businesses work with recruitment agencies to save time; they shouldn’t create even more responsibilities for the hiring manager. Post-placement, you should expect your recruiter to contact you for feedback and to check in on whether the business has any further recruitment needs on the horizon.

Invaluable industry insight

Any recruitment consultant worth their salt should be able to provide guidance on what constitutes a competitive offer in the current market; they should be able to advise a business on how to gain the edge over their industry rivals to secure top talent. Beyond sourcing Candidates, your recruiter should be an email or phone-call away should you need a second opinion on a job description. By keeping their ear to the ground, recruiters understand the changing priorities of active and passive Candidates. By using their services, hiring managers can build a compelling Employee Value Proposition (EVP) by gaining insight on what their target Candidates want from their Employer.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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