3 Ways to Prevent Misunderstandings During the Recruitment Process

By Tom Mornement

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Working with a recruitment agency to find and recruit new hires for your organisation should be the perfect way to blend your business insight with their recruitment expertise. However, some hiring managers find themselves spending more time navigating through emails and disheveled correspondence than they spend getting to know the candidates their recruitment partner has found!

The effects of disorganised and inefficient communication can be brutal. CVs go missing. Requests for feedback go unanswered. Misunderstandings erupt amidst the chaos. The talent you want to speak with may continue to go about their business without ever hearing from the recruiter.

Partnering with a recruitment agency should help you overcome your challenges, not create new ones. In part 3 of our series on How to Achieve a Successful Relationship with a Recruitment Agency, I’d like to give you some tips for developing good dialogue with an agency, which will help to make the recruitment process much more effective and efficient.

Communicate initial feedback in real time.

If you have access to the agency’s ATS, then you can do this by adding notes in there, or utilise cloud-based technology such as Google Docs. If using Google Docs, work with your recruiter to create a spreadsheet that includes each candidate they submit for your review as well as the date they were submitted and the position they are being considered for. Depending on your needs, you may also want to add additional items to this spreadsheet, such as a link to the candidate’s LinkedIn profile or their CV (the recruiter will be able to link it to the name if saved to a folder in their Google Drive).

Since Google Docs updates in real time and allows multiple users to work in the spreadsheet at once, using this method to provide initial feedback will allow you to save time crafting emails for each submittal as the recruiter sources and screens new candidates. This will also provide each side with an at-a-glance overview of all candidates considered for the position up to that point and will mean that the recruitment agency can hone their search based on your feedback so that they are able to send across stronger candidates.

You can then discuss the progress more thoroughly in a weekly status call which will allow you and your recruiter to have a more meaningful and in-depth conversation about the candidates they’ve submitted and other items related to the recruitment process than by exchanging emails back and forth. If you’re working on a large number of roles or to tight timescales then you may want to make these calls more frequently than once a week.

Another key benefit of this timely feedback is that it will enable the recruiter to respond to candidates that you’re keen on quickly and keep them regularly updated on the process. With top talent often interviewing with multiple companies you don’t want to miss out because the recruiter didn’t realise that this candidate was one of your top choices.

Create an agenda for scheduled, weekly status calls.

Set aside a time each week for you and your team to discuss the recruitment progress with your agency partner. Having a scheduled, consistent time for these conversations will ensure timely communication as well as result in a more collaborative conversation around the points you’ve identified in your agenda.

To create the agenda, write down the items you’d like to discuss week to week. Some items you may want to include could be:

  • Candidate statuses and feedback
  • Recruitment challenges and progress (this can include market insights)
  • Plans for the week ahead
  • Upcoming projects and business milestones

You may find some items are not needed that particular week, which is okay. The point of the agenda is to structure the call in order to maximise the value of the time spent and to communicate effectively with your agency partner.

Provide actionable feedback.

Have you ever felt as though you’ve reviewed the same candidate over and over again, despite them not fitting the profile you are looking for? One of the most costly and time-consuming disconnects in the hiring manager-agency relationship is not effectively communicating why the candidate was or was not selected to move into the next step in the process.

For this reason, it’s important to be candid with your recruiter and let them know what you liked, as well as didn’t like, about each candidate. If you pass on an individual due to them having poor communication skills, share an example with the recruiter of what you mean by this. Was it something they said, the way they spoke, an example they gave of how they handled a situation with a previous employer etc? With this kind of feedback, the recruiter can screen for those specifics when speaking with prospective candidates on the phone. If candidates have been stumbling while trying to give an example of when they successfully worked in a team, the recruiter may recommend including a similar question in the initial phone screen which will reduce the likelihood of them submitting others who have the same challenge.

And there you have it—a quick guide for ensuring timely communication with your recruitment partner which should help you to receive the best candidates for your positions and make placements faster.


Written by Lindsey Newman, Director of Purple House HR, a niche recruitment consultancy specialising in the placement of Human Resources professionals. If you’re looking for a new HR position, or need to hire an HR professional, then get in touch:

0117 957 4100


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