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What information should an agency recruiter give when submitting a candidate?

One of my personal grievances when working with a recruitment agency is a lack of information when I receive a CV or resume for a role. Many times I just get a couple of lines covering what their current role and company is and what their salary demands are…. that’s it.

From an internal recruitment perspective, if I am working in partnership with a recruitment agency then I expect two things for the fee that they will get if they make a successful placement.

  • To send me good candidates for the roles I’ve opened to you.
  • To give me the information I need about the candidate straight away to speed up my part of the screening process.

Flinging a CV at me doesn’t cut the mustard. I’m working with you to help speed up the process so I don’t expect to have to do the groundwork of qualifying the candidate when I speak to them and having to learn all about them from scratch.

As an internal recruiter, this is what I would love to see when a candidate is submitted:

What relevant experience does the candidate have?

Basically, can they do the job? 

Give me a paragraph or two that cover the key areas that we are looking for in the role. Use this to outline why the candidate is a great fit and what relevant experience they have.

How did the candidate communicate?

How did the candidate come across during your conversation?

  • Were they confident or did they seem nervous?
  • Were they friendly or hard to read?
  • Did they openly answer questions or did you have to press them to get answers?

What are the candidates salary expectations?

Salary is obviously a big part of why a candidate is open for a new opportunity. I’d like to see plenty of information about their salary expectations. If they are above the salary range that I have given you, outline why. Are they an exceptional candidate (they all are, right?!)? Are we below market rate? Do their current company pay over market rate? 

Give me a good overview of what the candidate wants, including: 

  • What the candidate is looking for? 

 – Have you just outlined base, or is the figure for their entire package (base/bonus/stock)?

  • Do you have an estimated idea of where they are right now? Or was the candidate cagey about this?

Remember, I will ask this too, so make sure you have the details straight, we all know the old agency tactic, bump up the salary, bump up the fee. If the candidate tells me something completely different (especially if it’s lower than you’ve presented) then red flags will be raised.

Where does the candidate live?

For office-based jobs, it is important that the candidate knows where the office is and how easy (or hard!) the commute will be. I’d like to see the following covered off:

  • Are they aware of the commute?
  • Do they know how long it will take them each day?
  • How would they be traveling into the office (Car/public transport/cycle/walk?)
  • Would the candidate be moving to the area for the job? If so, what are their timescales and are they going to need financial help?

What is the candidates current work schedule?

It is important that the candidate knows the work schedule. A candidate who works flexible hours and remotely a few days a week might not want to move in to a 9-5 office based role. Make sure you ask them the following and give them an overview of the roles expectations:

  • Do they work 9-5 or do they have flexible hours?
  • Do they work from home – if so, how many days per week?

What does the candidate know about the company?

It is infuriating from an internal recruiters perspective if I am speaking to a candidate that has been sent by an agency and they know nothing about the company. While I would love it if they have done their homework, it’s not a huge thing if they didn’t know about the company when you spoke to them, especially if you have approached them directly for the role. However, it is your job to get them up to speed – it gives the impression that you are just firing CV’s across if they have no knowledge which isn’t great from my perspective.

You should tell me:

  • What they knew?
  • What you told them?

When will the candidate be able to start?

If the candidate goes all the way through the process and accepts an offer, we would like them to start as soon as we can. It is important at this early stage to find exactly what that looks like so we can plan accordingly.

  • If they are working, what is their notice period?
  • If they aren’t working, are they ready to start straight away or do they have loose ends to tie up?
  • Do they have any holidays booked?

Why is the candidate looking at the opportunity?

It is useful to know why the candidate is interested in the role.

  • Are they actively looking?
  • Are they keeping an eye out for the right opportunity?
  • Did you approach them directly or did they apply for the role?

Is the candidate interviewing elsewhere?

  • What stage are they at in their search? 
  • Are they at final stages with anyone?

It might help you if they are at later stages with someone else as it will speed up the process with the hiring manager – however, don’t imply that they are interviewing heavily when they aren’t to put pressure on the decision-making process, we will find out! 

What is your feedback about the candidate?

All candidates are great, right? 

I want to know all the good stuff that the candidate can bring to the role. But I also want to hear your concerns and find out what I need to be digging into when I’m speaking to the candidate. Your feedback is essential in order for this to happen. Be honest, give me your gut feelings and feedback.

The role of a recruitment agency is to provide a good service. It isn’t enough to just send a CV and the absolute minimum of information. Give me the information that I need so I can decide if I should be speaking to a candidate, and the things I need to drill down on if I do have a conversation with them. Act more like a partner and you will reap the benefits. 

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