The Discussion Your Business MUST Have Before Working with a Recruitment Agency

By Tom Mornement

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To create a good working relationship between your organisation and recruitment agency partner, it is essential that your internal staff meets together to discuss the role requirements and agree on the recruitment process beforehand.

The first place to start is to take a look at your current recruiting and hiring processes. When a new job order is approved by your organisation, how do your internal recruiters or hiring personnel discuss the role requirements? Do you talk about qualities that the top performers at your organization have? Or, are your recruiters left to conduct their search using just a job description as a guide?

There is nothing inherently wrong with job descriptions. In fact, clear and insightful communication (we’ll talk more about that in a future blog) regarding your ideal candidate for the position is invaluable to agency recruiters. Remember, they strategize and conduct their search according to the information you give them.

The problem is, many job descriptions are neither clear nor concise. And talent acquisition has evolved into a candidate’s market. You may have reached the purple squirrel you are looking for with a job posting, but they could have passed over it because the job advert didn’t pique their interest. The most telling are the mountains of applications received from unqualified candidates that many employers’ HR department must spend fruitless hours sorting through.

So if you decide to engage a recruitment agency to help you more actively seek the person you’re after for a role, then these are 4 areas you should discuss with your internal staff first in order to ensure that you are all on the same page. Doing this will result in better candidate flow and quality.

Job Requirements

Let me guess. You are looking for someone who is adept in Microsoft Office, works well both independently and in a team, has a friendly disposition and possesses strong time management, organizational and communication skills. Am I close?

It is great to keep an open mind to a certain degree when hiring, but the job requirements for each position should be agreed on with all things taken into consideration and prioritised. For example, will the candidate need to have experience working with a specific group of people, such as leadership-level or would a background collaborating with multiple departments fit better into the role they will be playing at your organisation? What skills can you train for and which do you need the individual to have already mastered?

Current top performers

As humans, our personalities and interests influence a lot of our professional decisions, reactions, and skills as well. Even the most buttoned-up professionals lead lives outside of work, and so there are likely useful patterns to be found in the personality traits and interests of your top performers.

Identify the individuals who make your company special. The people you would hire again in a heartbeat if they were to ever leave. Gather as much information as you can by speaking with their managers, having a chat about their motivations and outside of work interests, and comparing their work histories. Compare notes and after speaking with enough people, you will start to see patterns emerge that may surprise you. Others may not be as surprising, but still useful, such as having the same former employer before joining your company.

Past recruiting challenges

There are many challenges that recruiters and HR personnel face when sourcing and recruiting talent—local competition, industry changes, the position itself (i.e. low pay in the budget, long hours needed), etc.

You, and the people who have handled the hiring at your organisation thus far, can offer the recruitment agency valuable information that will enable them to build their strategy to account for the challenges you’ve faced. They will do their own market research as part of their recruiting strategy, but if you are able to give them additional information, such as 2 or 3 companies that you have hired your best talent from, then your agency recruiters can track and prioritise those companies first.


The agency should be able to learn about your current hiring process and suggest an implementation plan, but having a clear idea of the workflow before the req goes out to the agency will make for a much smoother transition than without one. Discuss with your team the processes and protocols regarding communication, documentation, and chain of command related to every step of the hiring process.

Stay tuned for the next instalment of How to Successfully Work with a Recruiting Agency!


Written by Tom Mornement, 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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