Recruitment - You're Doing it Wrong!

By Greg Statham - Macildowie

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You might be sitting there, scratching your head, wondering why you have vacancies and why you aren’t filling them. In an increasingly competitive candidate market here are 5 key things you're doing wrong! (And the way to fix them!!)

1) You think that MORE means BETTER

 You thought that by engaging multiple agencies on your vacancy, you would get more selection in terms of candidates. Surely, 4 recruitment consultants looking at your vacancy would give you more choice right?!


Recruitment consultants will focus their time and energy on filling the vacancies that they have the best possibility of filling. A multi agency footrace means that you’ll get given candidates who haven’t been covered off for the role, candidates who aren’t suitable (so that the competition doesn’t send them on the off chance!) and candidates who may have been sent multiple times by different agencies.


Work in partnership with one agency. Let them filter the market and work hard to deliver you a succinct shortlist of qualified candidates who are engaged, motivated and interested in your role. Trust them to present 5 people who will fit the culture of your business AND have the skills to do the role. If they are working on your role exclusively, they will dedicate time and resource to make sure they get it right.  It won’t be a “spray and pray” approach.

 2) You think it’s 2010! 

You’ve gotten into a false sense of security over the last few years. Hiring has been easy. The recession led to a large volume of great candidates being available for work. If you waited long enough, the perfect candidate walked through the door and in most instances, they didn’t have any other options on the table! When you interview, you demand to know why you should employ them.  What was it that THEY could do for YOU?

In 2010 they were SO grateful for the chance of employment (and the ability to put food on the table and pay the mortgage) that in many instances the shape and context of the role was unimportant.


Form a compelling employee value proposition. Why would the candidate want to work for the organisation that you love? Do you offer flexible benefits? Can you help them to gain qualifications, do you have a cake sale every Friday?  Make sure that during the interview process, you SELL to the candidates as much as they are selling back to you. Make them leave the room with a really strong desire to work for your business!

Want to know how others are doing it? Look at these two posts that I wrote for two businesses that are getting it right.


PKF Cooper Parry 

3) You’re Taking TOO long 

In your company, your standard recruitment process can take anything up to 8 weeks to complete and it then takes the HR function another 2 to get offer letters out of the door. By the time you have identified your preferred candidate and offered them the role you find out they have secured a job offer.  So has the 2nd choice. And the 3rd…... and the 4th….. (where’s that barrel to scrape?)

As mentioned above, it’s no longer a candidate rich, job light market. There are large volumes of available roles and candidates with niche skills are becoming scarce.  At offer stage, most candidates will have a minimum of two job offers on the table.  If you are guilty of 1. and 2. In this list, then I can guarantee that you are also guilty of 3!!!


Think differently. Consolidate your hiring process. Let me tell you how I run my recruitment process with my clients.  Firstly, I ask them to trust me to put 5 candidates in front of them without reviewing CV’s. They trust me to use my expertise to find them the right person.  I ask them to block half a day out in their diary and to meet 5 candidates for 30 minutes each for the initial “can we work together” conversation.

2nd stage interviews are PRE-BOOKED for 2-3 days later with offers tabled straight after the 2nd stage. How long does this take? From meeting my client to take the initial brief, to shortlisting, 1st and 2nd interviews and securing the candidate. 10 days. At most.

You beat your competition to the best people and you give the candidates the impression that you REALLY want them in your team.

 4) You base your recruitment partner on COST not VALUE 

Most people view recruitment consultancies as a commodity. The first question you ask is “what percentage do you charge?” and if it’s more than you are used to paying (for the consultancies who have currently failed to fill your vacancy I hasten to add) then you don’t engage with that business.

IF you are hiring for a key appointment (lets say a Finance Manager who will be responsible for £50m of revenue in your business) you think that making a £1500 saving on the cost to hire is a “win win” for your team.


Take time to speak to recruitment consultants and understand their TRUE value proposition. Do they meet every candidate face to face (the answer should be yes!) do they re-interview versus your job description for the role that you want to shortlist (again, it should be yes), do they do qualification checks with the awarding bodies (yes), do they conduct psychometric tests on your behalf to understand the candidates learning styles and behaviours (yes……you get the idea!!)

Don’t think that cheapest means the best deal for you. In many instances, the cheapest agencies are cheap, because they aren’t competing on quality.  They are competing on price.  They lost the “quality” battle and had to lower their prices in order to secure job orders.

We pride ourselves here at Macildowie on our Customer value proposition. We’ve even won awards for it!

To see what your recruitment consultancy should do for you, check out what we see as our bare minimum!

5) You don’t have flexibility in your requirements 

You’ve written the job spec, you’ve defined the role and now you’ll speak to multiple agencies so that you have the best chance of them delivering someone who meets every single facet of the brief. Additionally, you stick rigidly to your budget, regardless of whether the market is paying more or your candidates have an offer on the table that outguns your offering.


BE MORE FLEXIBLE. This sounds like an obvious point, but look to secure “talent” rather than a plug and play solution.  Recruit someone who is highly motivated to grow their professional skills and you can nurture and support over time.  Firstly, you’ll keep them for longer and secondly they will be more bought into the company because you’ve invested in them.

IF you absolutely have to employ someone that ticks 9 out of 10 elements on the job description, then take advice from your recruitment partner (that you’ve chosen to work with you exclusively!!) and see what changes have occurred in the market rates since you last recruited the role. Let them guide you around the make up of the package and what is important to the candidates that you want to secure.  Some want flexible working, some want a higher base, some want more holidays.

Build a package that is different for each candidate and will attract them by leveraging the elements of the package that is important to them.  If they are willing to trade some salary for additional holiday, why not offer them that compromise? Your competition wont be!


Look to implement some of the above solutions and you'll start to transform your hiring process and secure more of the talent that could add real value to your company. 

If you need advice or support around any of the above, or to see how we can help you to find that needle in a haystack then contact me via my personal landing page on the Macildowie website or give me a call on 0115 947 0200

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