Published: 17 September 2020

Whilst some employers would be horrified at the thought of engaging a recruitment agency, thankfully there are still plenty of clients that appreciate the benefits can far outweigh the costs. Conducting a professional recruitment campaign can take a serious investment of your time, time that is perhaps best spent on carrying out your day job, whilst allowing a professional recruiter to do theirs.

In 2019 Recruitment industry revenues reached almost £39 Billion, with 82% of all UK companies reporting that they were satisfied with the service they received. These figures would suggest that there is still a great deal of value, us recruiters can add to the hiring process.

Do you need a recruitment agency?

Good question, of course, there is a possibility that you don’t. The perfect candidate may be already sitting in your organisation and eager for that internal promotion. That said, the chances are you will have already covered off internal options by the time you come to launch a recruitment campaign. You may even be planning to consider your internal options alongside any external new talent your campaign attracts. If you are fortunate enough to have an internal recruitment team, they may even reduce the amount of time you need to invest in the process yourself. But even in cases where you can engage the internal recruitment team, you will inevitably have to invest a significant amount of time into recruiting new talent. Time, that will only distract you away from your day-to-day activities.

16 Stages of a typical recruitment process

Step 1:    Write a job description for the new role

As an experienced recruiter, I work with a vast range of different role/personal specifications every year. In cases where my clients haven’t drafted a specification before engagement, I’ve always been happy to take a detailed brief and draft a document for approval myself. Of course, no one knows what your role entails better than you but we are always happy to take away the pain of having to sit and write the document yourself.

Step 2:    Identify suitable websites/social media channels to advertise the role

Most recruiters already have an established social network and a thorough understanding of the most suitable job boards to advertise your role. We have access to multiple channels/jobs boards with agreements already in place to advertise your role (At no extra cost). We also have the knowledge and experience to know how to write an appealing role advert to attract the best talent.

Step 3:    Await suitable applicants

Whilst an advertisement will be a great way to capture the attention of new talent, the major advantage of engaging an experienced recruiter is that we already have talent engaged. We invest a great of time into building strong networks of active and passive job seekers. Sure, we will respond accordingly to any suitable candidates who apply but we can take a far more proactive approach to source you the right talent.

Step 4:    Sift through the vast volumes of application

Of course, we will do this for you too, it’s what we do. As experienced recruitment professionals, we have the time, skills and experience to be able to sift through volumes of responses, its very much part of our day to day activities. Recruitment doesn’t interrupt our Month-end, it doesn’t get in the way of completing that quarterly forecasting or preparing for that budget presentation…it’s our job!

Step 5:    Arrange interviews, confirming locations and dates/times with all of them

It’s the administration during a recruitment campaign that can eat into most of your time. Engaging a recruitment consultant will take all of that away from you. It’s very much in the interest of the consultant to be specific and as thorough as possible at this stage too. Preparing candidates is something that I am personally very passionate about. My commitment to the candidate is always to ensure I offer them as much support as possible but also see it as a duty of care to my clients to ensure candidates are fully prepared to attend an interview. As a recent candidate recommendation stated, David understands that a lot of effort is needed in preparation before and during an interview and helps you prepare for it as if he was doing it himself” - (

Step 6:    Review 1st Interviews and shortlist for next stage

This stage may largely be down to yourself, but shouldn’t be without our input. After each interview we always de-brief each candidate, feeding back their thoughts for the recruiting line manager to factor into their thought process.

Step 7:    Inform the unsuccessful candidates

Let’s face it, letting a candidate know they have not been successful at an interview is never going to be the most pleasant part of any recruitment process, we take all that pain away for you. I’m a big fan of giving straight, honest feedback to the candidates. It’s important to be transparent with candidates and adopt a constructive approach to feedback back the positive and negative thoughts to help them take the learning into their next process. Lack of honest feedback is often a gripe directed by candidates at Interviewers, handled in the right way, feedback can serve as a great PR exercise for your organisation too.

Step 8:    Contact successful applicants to arrange a 2nd interview

Once again we repeat step 5 with even more detailed conversation

Step 9:   Administer any online psychometric testing to discuss at 2nd stage

You may wish to administer some form of psychometric or technical testing as part of your interview process. Whether you have access to suitable testing suites already and just need us to facilitate them or need our advice as to whether ISV or SHL would be the most suitable provider, our experience will always be a great help. I recently worked with a client who wanted to build an Excel test into their recruitment process. Rather than having to facilitate a 30 min monitored test themselves, this was something I was able to conduct on their behalf, saving them a further 3 hours of their time.

Step 10:   Arrange 2nd stage interviews

We repeat step 5

 Step 11:   Inform all unsuccessful candidates that they haven’t been successful

We repeat step 7

 Step 12:   Formulate and present offer to your preferred candidate

Presenting an offer to a candidate and closing the process is a critical stage of any interview process. Having a good understanding of the candidate’s motivations is key. By the time we get to this stage, we will have already had conversations with our candidates about what would be an acceptable offer and communicated this to you the client. Being open throughout the process about the package and benefits on offer will help to eliminate any potential hiccups at this crucial final stage.

Step 13:   Manage any queries, negotiations with your preferred candidate

Having a thorough understanding of our candidates helps us to broker any negotiations that may need to take place. For various reasons, a client offer may not be quite at the level that a candidate was hoping, but it doesn’t mean that the offer will automatically get rejected. As recruiters, we often help candidates to see the benefit of a client offer, even when it’s slightly lower than expected. If there are any negotiations to take place we are always happy to conduct them on your behalf and avoid any of those awkward conversations, ensuring a candidate starts on the right foot with your organisation.

Step 14:   Conduct any necessary background and reference checks

As experienced recruiters, we will have conducted many of the required checks before any candidate even attends an interview with you. All “Right to Work” and “Qualification” checks (Degrees and professional qualifications such as ACCA and CIMA) will have been evidenced before submission to any role, it’s all part of our onboarding process. Referencing candidates can often be a more sensitive subject, naturally, there is a need for confidentiality and sensitivity around any candidates search. We can’t exactly wade into a candidate's current line manager to ask discreetly if they are any good at their job (although, I did once hear of an agency doing this…agghh!). We are always happy to take on the process of obtaining reference after their resignation on your behalf.

Step 15:   Keep candidate engaged throughout their notice period

Never underestimate the importance of this stage, it’s critical. After all, it’s probably one of the most vulnerable parts of any recruitment campaign. You can guarantee, if they are a good candidate (which if you’ve got to this stage, they’re going to be), their current client is likely to be doing everything they can to retain them.  It’s also possible that they will be in demand from other employers too, you may have competition for their services. Managing a candidate through this critical period is something any recruitment professional will have 100% commitment too. Let’s be honest, if we are working on a contingency basis and the candidate doesn’t start we don’t get paid, believe me, we are always highly motivated to manage this stage well.

Step 16:   Start date

Rest assured we will always go “over and above” to ensure a smooth transition for any new starter joining your team. Inevitably, it’s been a long journey to get to this stage. I am always keen to continue to the relationship with candidates post-placement. Whilst in 99.9% of cases candidates will go on to enjoy a successful transition and soon become an integral part of your team, keeping in regular contact with our candidates will also help to nip any potential issues in the bud and ensure they enjoy a long and fruitful career with your organisation.

   ...Recruitment, “It’s our day job”

Typically, a recruitment process ran in this way could take anywhere between 8 – 15 weeks, especially if the candidate has a lengthy notice period. Factor in that at any stage, your best-laid plans may go out of the window. You may even get to week 10 and the dreaded “Counter-Offer” call comes in from the person you thought was going to be your next future star. Now I’m not saying that engaging a recruitment agency will guarantee similar things will not happen. Any experienced recruitment consultant will be able to share some candidate horror stories if you ask.  However, as experienced recruitment professionals, handling recruitment campaigns and the many challenges that they can throw at you is what we do every day. After 18 years in the industry, you develop the ability to spot potential hazards before they happen and can take the necessary action to ensure our clients have a smooth and successful recruitment process.

Did I mention the best bit?

Engage us on a contingency basis and we conduct stages 1 – 15 completely free of charge…yes that’s right free of charge. We even offer guarantees beyond the start date in the form of a rebate or replacement commitment. If for any reason the candidate should opt to leave the position before completing a pre-agreed period, we commit to replace for free or rebate a % of the fee charged.

Maybe, just maybe engaging an agency is a wise investment of your time after all?

If you’re planning a recruitment campaign and not excited by the prospect of managing your 16 -stage process, I’d love to help, please don’t hesitate to contact me here.