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Too many cooks spoil the broth

The old aged recruitment scenario has raised its ugly head a couple of times for me personally in the last few months.

Remember the saying “too many cooks spoil the broth”? Well, in short whoever came up with this was a wise man (It supposedly originated from the 16th century according to Google).

The scene:

You receive a phone call from your client asking for your assistance in sourcing a candidate for a role. Instantly you are on cloud nine. You take a detailed job brief and put that adrenaline that is pumping around your body to good use. The process begins, posting job ads, calling candidates on the database, asking for referrals… you get the drift…. BOOM, the perfect candidate is sourced and you book them in straight away to see you. Right now, you are feeling like a recruitment superhero…..

The candidate arrives and you begin to tell them about the opportunity until you notice that smile seems to be disappearing from their face… “I’ve already been represented to that company by X” – not only have they been represented but five recruiters have called them about the job.

Cue – heart sink!  There is not one other but four other agencies working on the same role….. Cue chaos as Greg Savage has referred to this very moment.

Recruiters can no longer focus purely on quality, now there are other factors in the mix like speed and competition.

For clients:

I know you think you are getting the best possible coverage in the market place, surely if you give it to four agencies, it will be filled quicker. You may be correct there, but it won’t be filled with the best possible candidate.

My advice is to partner with one, maybe two agencies who you feel will positively represent your brand in the market. The benefits of doing this;

  • Quality, quality, quality…. You will receive the best candidate. Simply as. Instead of jumping the gun, your consultant will follow the sourcing process from start to finish.

  • If a consultant knows there is a strong chance of filling the role, they will make it their number one priority. You will get their undivided attention, and if you don’t….. maybe you need to rethink your choice of Recruiter!

  • Without the CV rush your Recruiter will target those passive candidates, those that are not actively in the marketplace. These are usually the best candidates – they are doing a similar job, perhaps with a competitor. These passive candidates take time to source.

For Candidates:

My advice to candidates, in an insurance candidate short market, partner with one agency and use them exclusively. Candidates themselves need an agent and have a better chance of being represented correctly and ethically if they partner with one Recruiter. The benefits for you;

  • If you guarantee exclusivity to a Recruiter, they will get you in front of as many people as they possibly can. You will have their attention and they know if they put in the work there is a strong possibility it will result in a placement for them.

  • Your CV won’t flood the market. Unfortunately, as much as there are good Recruiters, there are bad Recruiters. The last thing you want is for a prospective employer to receive your CV from four different people. It in turn looks bad on the candidate as if they weren’t upfront with the Recruiters.

  • Working exclusively with one Recruiter is positive for your reputation. It shows that you are willing to put in the time to find the right position for you, not the first job offer you can get through the door.

For clients and candidates, if you are struggling to narrow it down to one Recruiter? Ask your network who has had a positive experience with a Recruiter and approach them. Take my advice with your next role and you won’t regret it. You can find my office address at I will be accepting thank you gifts!

Lorraine Dooley – Senior Associate – Kennedy Reid

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