There are many great benefits to using a recruitment consultancy. A really good agency can take the pressure off of a busy HR department, deliver quality hires, and assist with specialist roles. Here at Talent Puzzle, we know that many businesses are understandably reluctant to let go of control of the recruitment process, fearing an external firm may unwittingly do damage to its brand.

Among the most common concerns about the use of agencies is that it might detract from a positive candidate experience. Realistically, the majority of candidates will have, at some point, had a negative encounter with a recruiter. Whether that’s down to delayed feedback, or having been pushed to apply for unsuitable roles, most jobseekers will have a worrying story to tell. Word of mouth is extremely powerful, particularly in the age of social media. Couple this with the fact that candidates will associate the bad experience with both the recruiter and the business in question, and concerns about brand damage are completely justifiable.

One other serious concern is whether or not the consultancy really gets the brand. If they don’t, the best intentions in the world won’t stop them damaging an organisation’s image through accidental misrepresentation 

So how can businesses successfully use recruitment consultancies without compromising the way in which their brand is perceived by candidates and clients?

Standardise an employer brand brief

A lot of potential problems can be nipped in the bud by setting your message out simply and clearly. You should then disseminate this among all relevant suppliers. Make sure it’s concise and easy to understand while saying everything you need it to.

Give recruiters a hands-on brand crash course

Invite recruiters to your office, let them meet your employees and get a feel for the culture and people at your organisation. Rather than making this a one-off occurrence, regularly update them on changes and updates within your business. When there’s a new hire at the recruitment consultancy, make sure they come in to meet you and don’t just rely on having one point of contact.

Make your expectations clear

Part of the problems in communication between employers and agencies is that briefing is unclear.  While recruiters are, in theory, supposed to know what qualifies a candidate for the role, they can’t be expected to guess any other specific requirements. Be crystal clear from start to finish in order to avoid miscommunications.

Tell your brand’s story

Your HR department should be disseminating the same brand messages as the marketing and advertising functions. While these should be appropriate for candidates, they should merely be adaptations of the company ethos as a whole.  This should give recruiters and candidates a good idea of what it’s like to work for you.

Pick up the phone

If a major concern is that recruiters will leave candidates hanging, make sure you’re providing enough information to prevent this from happening. Agencies can only relay the messages they’re given, so make sure they get prompt feedback. To you it may be an administrative bore, but to a candidate it’s extremely important not to be kept hanging. It’s also wise to make sure your feedback is meaningful. A quick note as to why they didn’t get the job reflects will on your company and the recruiter.

Write a standard rejection letter

If you don’t think a recruiter can say it quite right, then say it yourself. Provide a standard response for recruiters to send in your company’s tone of voice.

Ask for feedback from candidates

Feedback is a two-way process. While negative feedback may be difficult for a recruiter to deliver, or for you to hear, it will give you the best idea of how you’re perceived – and how to improve. Also conduct regular candidate experience surveys to give you a better picture of how your recruitment supplier is representing you.


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