Academy for Chief Executives Blog Rotating Header Image

How to get the most from your recruitment consultant – by Peter Shrimpton

Recruitment seems to be at the top of everyone’s list of ‘major headaches in my business’.  Peter Shrimpton, Academy member and Director of Randstad Sales & Retail gives us an insight into how to get the most from your recruitment consultant.

Peter Shrimpton

Whatever the size of your business and regardless of the economic climate, recruitment (and retention) of good employees is a vital issue for all of us. The process is time-consuming: advertising, scanning applications, drawing up a shortlist, interviewing, making offers and having them start in a timely fashion! Little wonder that many businesses turn to the services of a recruitment consultant. However, employing this type of service is not a quick-fix and like every business relationship, needs careful planning and communication to ensure that the service you receive warrants the investment you have made. So, here are my tips for ensuring a successful outcome…


  • Be as open as possible about your vacancy/vacancies – why they occurred, problems you’ve had, what you want the potential candidate to achieve NOT what you want them to have DONE.
  • Encourage your consultant to meet you and your team.  Allow them access to ‘soak up’ your culture and help them really buy in to your business – they need to be enthusiastic about it to sell it!
  • Give them as many facts and figures as possible.
  • Make and receive calls when you agree to – make it easier to do business with you than your competitor – otherwise they will receive the best people!
  • Listen to their opinion – you are paying for their experiences not just a candidate
  • Tell them what other candidates you have in the mix – internal AND external.  Please do your internal search FIRST – there is nothing worse than an internal candidate appearing at the end of the process!


  • Agree upfront what a measure of success is – what will you both be happy with and by when?  What KPIs could you agree that are going to get you to that position?
  • The old adage “You can’t manage what you do not measure” runs true with a recruitment partner.
  • Begin with the end in mind – what is the ideal start date you want?  Then work back from that.
  • Set firm interview dates for your recruiter to work towards – it is much easier to hit a static dart board than one swinging from side to side and with so many vacancies to work on, help them priotitise yours above your competitors!  Is there anything that will get in the way (eg, interviewers on holiday)?
  • How many people do you expect to interview before you make an offer?


  • Work with your recruitment partner as if they are in your business NOT just an external supplier.
  • Make them feel they are ‘in the gang’ and you are sharing your challenges so they feel really bought in to solving your ‘pain’!


  • Hold them accountable for their successful work as much as their unsuccessful work.
  • When providing feedback, by all means be firm and honest, but make sure you use it to help your recruiter learn more about what you want – it isn’t a cheap opportunity to give them a ‘telling off’.  (Their spouse and boss do that!)  Motivate them to get it right next time vs not work on it again because they are fearful of you!
  • Be open to feedback about your company, its interview process and the actual interview – any one of these could be blocking your success … so take a look in the mirror yourself!
  • When you do speak with your consultant, do so with the respect you would afford your client – they are human and successful recruiters want to help you because they love the recognition.  That doesn’t mean you cannot be firm – ‘top’ recruiters will be tough enough to take it.
  • Say “Thank You!” for a job well done.  Once the fees have been agreed, they want to solve your problem and feel like they have made a real difference to your business.

And on a final note……..negotiate a ‘WIN/WIN’ deal.  As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, everyone wants a deal and if you hit the right mark, you will get the service you deserve.  If the recruiter allows you to ‘hammer’ their fee, they will be less enthused to proritise your vacancy above others and as soon as a better one comes along, you will be dropped back in to the big barrel with the others.

What is worth the most to the recruiter is volume of vacancies and ease of doing business with you (the speed and slickness of the interview process and how quickly you make decisions) – this will help you save money!

About Peter Shrimpton

Peter has been a member of the Academy for Chief Executives since 2002  and is Director of Randstad Sales & Retail (  Randstad Sales & Retail are part of the 2nd largest recruitment company in the World, specialising in retail, telesales (temporary and permanent positions), field sales, technical sales and healthcare sales appointments.  Peter welcomes the opportunity to help fellow Academy members and readers of this blog with their recruitment issues!  Contact him direct on +44 (0)844 257 0228.

The Academy for Chief Executives is a leading organisation, focused specifically on developing CEO’s and MD’s by helping them to expand their businesses whilst also supporting their individual growth as leaders.  Find out more at

Leave a Reply