With the current challenges facing the jobs market, companies are increasingly shifting to a direct hiring model, which can result in a very different candidate journey and experience when compared to them being represented by a recruiter.
This poses the question, do people prefer to apply for a role directly with the hiring business or via an independent recruitment consultancy?
Some recent feedback we have received suggests that candidates favour applying via a recruiter as there are several additional benefits. Here, Compliance & AML Director Kirstie Burn explains why it is vital to offer a positive candidate experience and how external consultancies can help to bridge the gap so that businesses are able to access the best available talent.
An in-house team will inevitably extol all of the virtues which come with working for them, but may be inclined to gloss over any less favourable points.
A recruitment consultancy will use its considerable industry knowledge to provide a holistic and impartial overview of the organisation. This includes its background, the pros and cons of working there, other employees, the overall culture and ethos and how best to approach the application process.
If a candidate wishes to address a potentially controversial question or point, they may fear that posing this to an inhouse team could negatively impact their job prospects, whereas a consultant will be able to provide the answer without judgement or bias.
Consultancy recruiters often specialise in one particular niche area, which means that they are well-placed to search for and fill specialist or technical roles that only a relatively small spectrum of candidates are qualified for.
They are also able to grow a strong network of candidates and contacts within their discipline over time. In addition, external recruiters are more likely to effectively identify the best candidates, regardless of whether they are actively looking for other jobs or not.
This makes them specialists in their field, complete with an in-depth knowledge of the market or sector they recruit in and each particular type of role. This means they are more likely to understand how well-suited a candidate is to a particular firm and ascertain whether it is in their best interest to apply for a position.
After an interview has taken place, it is natural for a candidate to want to follow up as soon as possible to gauge how they got on and whether they are in with a chance of securing the role.
However, in doing so, they might be afraid of irritating or annoying their prospective employer. An external recruiter can remove this element of awkwardness and conduct follow ups on behalf of the person they are representing, all without harming their chances of getting the job.
Following an interview, regardless of outcome, an external recruiter will gather feedback from the client and constructively feed this back to the candidate, turning any negative points into aspects which could be improved upon in future applications, rather than damaging their confidence.
Vice versa, if there are any anomalies or negative feelings from the candidate’s point of view, the recruiter can feed this back to the business so they can continuously improve their recruitment processes and ensure candidates do not feel like their time has been wasted.
If a candidate has any concerns about a potential role, they might find them difficult to flag directly with an in-house team. An external recruiter can take away any potential embarrassment by doing so on their behalf. This enables the candidate to be more honest and open about the role and this will ultimately increase their chances of ensuring they are the right fit for the business.
Negotiate on salary
A recruiter has every party’s best interests at the centre of their work. It is beneficial for themselves and the candidate that they negotiate the best possible salary and terms, but equally as important to ensure that the hiring company is offering in line with market rate and wholly confident in their new employee.
Having a recruitment consultant as the middle man means avoiding unnecessary back-and-forth at offer stage, as they will know exactly what remuneration the candidate requires and how realistic that will be from the business’s perspective.
They can manage expectations from both sides, avoiding disappointment, low-ball offers and pre-empting counter offers. They will also be able to impartially represent the candidate’s expectations at a stage where applicants may fear appearing pushy or greedy and damaging their reputation before they even start the onboarding process.
Finding good candidates for a role is only part of the recruitment journey. Arguably the biggest challenge is accessing them and getting them excited about a potential new role. External specialists have the advantage here because they can take the time to develop genuine relationships with candidates and become a trusted advisor.
They might call someone with a specific role in mind or simply out of courtesy to provide an update. This means that the candidate will come to respect the recruiter and listen to what they have to say. In turn, the recruiter will establish a relationship with the candidate on a personal level and get an instinct for their aspirations and the positions they are most likely to excel in.
To conclude, an external recruitment consultancy is able to expertly fill certain specialist roles while ensuring that the candidate feels comfortable and in control along every step of the journey. Furthermore, they can be called upon to provide a complete and independent range of services across multiple disciplines at any time they might be required.