Recruitment partner or CV sender?

I once read that as a recruiter, only certain companies are worth trying to convert into clients. The test? They have to genuinely care about improving the way they hire.

That really stuck with me.

I once read that as a recruiter, only certain companies are worth trying to convert into clients. The test? They have to genuinely care about improving the way they hire. That really stuck with me.

Trainee recruiters all over the land are taught to sell candidates. We used to call it our shop window, back in the day. “Market your best candidates, the ones you want target clients to know about, because that’s what’ll get you a foot in the door”. And it worked, time and time again.

But what’s next? That client knows you have a relevant candidate pool. You might even fill the role they need filling. But that’s only proving that you can fill roles, it’s not proving that you can consult – and that’s what takes a relationship from the “5 CVs by Friday, please” level to a client buying into your ability to improve the way they hire.

Problem is, consulting isn’t something that can be taught overnight, so plenty of the fresher-faced variety of recruiters aren’t consultants at all. Recruitment isn’t rocket science, far from it, but the only way you can learn how to improve a recruitment process is through experience – you need to have seen hundreds of processes before you recognise what really good actually looks like. We’ve both got 15 years in the recruitment game here, so not only have we earned the right to bang on about this, but it’s something we’re really clued up on by now, even if we say so ourselves.

If you’re a hiring manager reading this, ask yourself the following questions. These are really basic, but they’re a handful of things that are bare essentials to a decent process. The last time you filled a critical role in your team, did your recruitment partner:

  • Understand what set your company and your job offering apart from your competitors?
  • Advise you on the financial package you should be offering to ensure you could afford everything you were looking for in a candidate?
  • Challenge you on any aspects of what you outlined in your requirements?
  • Give you feedback on how prospective candidates perceived your business when they went out to market?
  • Agree timescales for shortlist delivery, feedback sessions and the overall interview process?

If the answer’s “no” to any of these, what you’ve found yourself isn’t a recruitment partner, it’s a CV sender. There might be some bolts and whistles on top – they might even have some snazzy tools like video interviewing software or personality profiling that they claim make them different. But they’re not adding value where it counts.

Why am I going on and on about this? Because it’s absolutely vital that if you’re an ambitious, scaling business, then the candidate experience you offer in your recruitment process needs to reflect how you want your company to be viewed. Much like a rookie recruiter’s shop window is their star candidate, your shop window as an employer is your recruitment process. Why? People might have seen your products around, they might even have tasted them, but this is the first time they’ll have interacted with your company – the first taster of your employer brand. You’re judged on that first interaction, more so than you might recognise.

Think about it like this. If you’re recruiting 3 positions, that means 3 new employees. Great, 3 people to give a great experience to, right? Wrong. Where the experience equally matters is to the other candidates in the process – they’re the ones who haven’t got the job they wanted, they’re the ones who, if your process hasn’t been run well, won’t be loving your business. 3 positions filled. That’s what, 9 interviews? For 9 interviews, that’s probably 45 candidates spoken to. That’s a whole heap of people to ensure have a really positive experience of your shop window. Think about that next time you’re hiring.

If you genuinely care about improving the way you hire, we’ve done it and got the t-shirt – but the buzz from helping a brand new client never changes, so we’ll do everything we possibly can to help you. Get in contact at or better still, give one of us a call – you’ll see a bit more about our individual specialisms on the Who We Are page.