For many firms, both large and small, in-house recruitment isn’t always a straightforward or enjoyable process, and campaign results can often be disappointing. Poorly qualified candidates, a weaker response than anticipated, and unsatisfactory interviews can all leave employers feeling frustrated and fed up. Yet surprisingly, many employers are still slightly hesitant about turning to a recruitment consultant to help them out. This hesitancy often stems from a lack of understanding of what exactly a recruitment consultant can offer and how the recruitment process works when handled by a consultant, and an underestimation of how much additional firepower a recruitment consultant can bring to the table, in order to deliver stronger candidates that are more suited to the roles being recruited for. Give us 3 minutes of your time, and we’ll try to explain this as best we can.
What is a recruitment consultant?
Recruitment consultancies are independent companies that specialise in handling the recruitment process for firms of all sizes, and across all industries. Whilst there are some generalist consultancies, many recruitment consultancies specialise in certain industries or employment niches, as this enables them to offer a more tailored service to their clients. Consultancies are made up of a team of recruitment consultants, each of whom have a strong background in professional recruitment, as well as specialist knowledge of the industries that their client base operates in.
So what exactly does a recruitment consultant do? Put simply, a recruitment consultant handles the entire process of recruiting new staff on behalf of a client company. A consultant typically starts by working with the client to understand the requirements of the position, and then helps to draft a job specification that accurately reflects the position being recruited for. The consultant is then responsible for advertising the vacancy in all of the most appropriate places, and tapping into his or her network of candidates to identify and attract as many prospects as possible. An initial review of CVs then takes place, along with pre-interview telephone screening, where applicable. A shortlist of candidates is then drawn up, with the initial interview process handled either by the client, or, if required, by the recruitment consultant. Additional services are also offered, including guidance on salary levels and benefits, to ensure that employers offer a competitive remuneration package that will attract the very best talent, and psychometric testing to get an understanding of how well suited a candidate is for the role they’re applying for.
What does it take to become a recruitment consultant?
As many HR departments and SME employers have found, sourcing and selecting professional talent isn’t easy. Getting job specifications right can be tricky, advertising vacancies can seem like a minefield, and sifting through piles of CVs to find the buried treasures can often seem pointless and infuriating in equal measure. Recruitment consultants have the perseverance and tenacity to get the job done, quickly and efficiently.
A recruitment consultant needs to be first and foremost a people person – able to put clients and candidates at their ease, to work out the best fit for every campaign, both technically and from a personality perspective. Successful recruitment isn’t just about ticking boxes in terms of professional qualifications – it’s about getting to know the candidate, and working through a CV to establish how each previous workplace experience might add value to the client, as well as identifying candidates who may have over-emphasised certain skills or qualifications. Pre-screening potential candidates in this way is a vital part of the recruitment process, and to do it well, it takes a good judge of character, an eye for detail and a willingness to listen.
As well as strong interpersonal and communication skills, a good recruitment consultant needs to have extensive knowledge and experience within the sectors he or she is specialising in. Without that in-depth knowledge, a consultant will not be able to judge a strong CV, quiz a candidate on their experience, or filter out unsuitable candidates. Strong knowledge and experience in the field also brings with it another benefit – a contact database of the very best talent available in the marketplace.
Why should I use a recruitment consultant?
Using a recruitment consultant to handle your vacancies offers a range of benefits and removes a lot of headaches at the same time. Recruitment consultants have in-depth experience across the sectors they operate in, as well as extensive contacts throughout industry. They know the recruitment process inside out, from how to draft a compelling job post to how to really get a candidate to open up about their talents and experience. Candidates sourced through a recruitment consultancy will be better qualified, with more relevant experience and a stronger motivation to work within your organisation.
Identifying and attracting the very best talent takes time, of course, which is something that many organisations simply don’t have. That means that in-house recruitment can often be seen as a hot potato that no-one really wants to handle. It’s difficult, frustrating and tedious – and without a dedicated HR team, managers, team leaders or other staff are often expected to somehow fit the recruitment task in alongside their other responsibilities. By handing the process over to a recruitment consultant, staff are free to concentrate on getting the job description right and then on final selection of the candidates – the complicated and time-consuming bits in the middle are handled by the consultant in an efficient and fuss-free way.
At what part of the recruitment process should we seek help from a consultant?
Whilst a recruitment consultant can step in to help at any stage of the recruitment process, the benefits, of course, are greatest if they are involved from the very start. By taking time to understand your organisation, and helping to prepare an accurate and compelling job description and person specification, the recruitment consultant will be able to fully understand the roles you are recruiting for, and will be able to take that understanding forwards through the marketing and selection processes, to bring you the very best candidates in the shortest possible time.
Technical Recruitment Consultant – How does this role differ?
Good recruitment consultants should have a strong understanding of the sectors they work in, of course. But recruiting for technical roles requires a deeper level of knowledge, across a broad range of industries, skill sets and environments. This level of knowledge enables the technical recruitment consultant to really sift through the details within each CV, to focus in on the facts and to establish whether a candidate is a good fit, in terms of qualifications, experience, and crucially, attitude.
Whether in software development, automation, defence, aerospace or automotive technologies, buzz words abound and technical skills change and develop at a breathtaking pace. A technical recruitment consultant has to be on top of all of that at all times. They need to be comfortable and confident discussing roles with candidates, and they need to make each candidate feel comfortable and confident at the same time. And since certain roles suit people with specific ‘softer’ skills, a good technical recruitment consultant also understands how to match those soft skills with a particular role. Rigorous attention to detail, for example, is an asset for roles that have a safety critical element to them, whilst strong team skills are highly desirable for production line roles. The technical recruitment consultant brings all of this experience and insight to the table, when recruiting for any position, whether for permanent, contract or interim roles.
Whilst recruitment can often be seen as a difficult and frustrating process when carried out by an in-house team, recruitment consultants actually love their jobs and are passionate about sourcing the very best talent for their clients. Their years of experience and their flair for connecting with people means that the entire recruitment process becomes stress-free and positive, for both client and candidate.
If you are considering using a technical recruitment consultant for your next campaign or vacancy, get in touch with Cartisian Technical Recruitment today, for a no-obligation conversation about how we could work with you to make your next recruitment drive the most successful yet.