Recruitment – most people just see the tip of the iceberg

Recruitment is easy. Right?

How difficult can it be to find someone to join your team? Isn’t it as easy as a recruiter sending as many candidate CVs as they can, in the hope that one sticks? Well, maybe if you base your recruitment service on speed and not quality.

In my experience, it is extremely rare that this transactional-type process will be successful or benefit the business in the long run.

However, often recruitment services are engaged based on the speed of delivery. Why would a business settle for a “quick fix”? There is far too much risk when a business engages recruiters based on the speed of their service.

In my opinion, having recruited in both the UK and Australia, most clients view recruitment as an expense and not an investment. Now this baffles me, because we all know acquiring people and their skills is what differentiates one business over another.

Do employers really understand the recruitment process? Do clients understand what industry, background and people skills are required by recruitment consultants to recruit?

To view recruitment as an investment it’s critical that users of recruitment companies select recruiters that specialise, add value and can access hard to find talent. It’s also fair to say that most clients don’t fully appreciate exactly what a great recruiter does to justify their fee.

To help you understand the recruitment process, I thought I would share with you the process that I follow to ensure my clients get a great outcome.


  1. Understanding the specialist and urgent client needs.
  2. Understanding and qualifying the duties of the role the client needs filled.
  3. Understanding the team structure/business model.
  4. Understanding the team dynamics and the psychology of the candidate that would fit in well with that team.
  5. Understanding the technical skills or previous experience required by the candidate to do the job effectively and well.

Once I have totally understood the client requirements, I move onto sourcing the right candidate. I have to source candidates that match and fit into the company culture, the team dynamics and that has the skill and experience to do the role.

At Firebrand, I tend to follow a pretty simple, but effective process that goes along these lines:

  1. I would start with my list of “Gold” candidates that I am in contact with regularly and that match the requirements to discuss the role with them. If there is interest, we would arrange a meeting to go into detail. If there is no interest, I would ask for a confidential referral.
  2. I would perform a comprehensive global database search. Using the Firebrand global network, reaching out to talent in local and global markets.
  3. I would advertise on the Firebrand website, and if necessary on appropriate niche job boards. I would use Firebrand’s and my personal social media networks to spread the word through LinkedIn and Twitter.
  4. I would screen all the candidates and invite those that are relevant to interview (with myself).
  5. I would contact all confidential referrals through networking.
  6. Then we start headhunting. Researching into relevant candidates and businesses and confidentially and quietly approaching those candidates that I believe are a good match with similar backgrounds. I would never approach current client teams and attempt to “poach” their members. (The head-hunting process is a long process that requires the skills to source the right candidate, make contact with that candidate, sell the role to the candidate, sell the business to the candidate, arrange a time to meet and interview the candidate).
  7. Once I had comprehensively exhausted my search in the active and passive candidate market, and following interviews (including the assessment of skills, experience and attitude) with all pre-screened and headhunted candidates, I would then be in a position to compile my shortlist of relevant candidates. (Typically speaking that would be 4-6 of the best candidates in the market that match the brief and that I believe would fit into the culture and structure of the business within the salary range on offer).
  8. I would manage the interview process and expectations of both the client and candidates.
  9. I would prepare my candidates for their interview from technical to behavioural type of questions. Making sure they had researched into the company and interviewers and making sure that they knew the location of the interview and how they were getting there.
  10. For the selected candidates that made it through to the final round of interviews, I would make contact with the candidates referees (with permission) and perform a thorough reference check based on the productivity and quality of the candidate and the impact of they candidates output on their role, team and business.
  11. Once an offer is received, I would negotiate, if necessary, and manage the offer process including completing a 2nd reference check.
  12. Once the offer is accepted, then the paperwork begins by drawing up offer letters, invoicing and generating contractual paperwork. The recruitment process stops and the other candidates in the process have to be informed of the outcome.
  13. Most would think that the recruitment process ends here but it doesn’t. I would regularly keep in contact with the candidate to make sure that they remain excited and on-board until the start date. I would manage any risk and correspond with the client to ensure a smooth transition into the business.
  14. Once the candidate starts, I would maintain contact with both the client and candidate to ensure that both are happy with the role and quality of the recruitment process.

Is this what you expected?

Recruitment is much more that putting CVs on a desk or searching a database. It is a people-centric business model that requires a shift of focus from the speed of delivery to a focus on the quality of the service. Consultants should be rewarded for the great work that they do, not for how fast they can provide a CV.


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