The (3) simple mistakes most make that mean your recruiter will send you the wrong candidates


Having specialised in accountancy and finance recruitment for over 13 years, I have met with and spoken to hundreds, if not thousands of managers who recruit accountancy staff. When I ask them if they have any frustrations when they deal with recruitment consultants, the one thing I hear time and time again is that they receive either too many CV’s, or details of candidates that are irrelevant for their role.

Despite the general opinion, recruitment consultants typically do not go out of their way to send a multitude of CV’s; they want to please their clients with the minimum amount of fuss and simplify life for everyone.

Nobody wants to be sat up until midnight formatting 100’s of irrelevant CV’s! So why do we hear this recurring complaint, and what can be done about it?

There are two parties that are involved: sometimes it will be down to the recruitment consultant – a lack of training or how they operate, but equally, it can be a result of how the manager has engaged the recruitment consultant(s).

Are you clear?
Do you talk to your recruitment consultant in generalities and buzz words? Examples of this are: ‘we are looking for a good team player’ – ‘someone who we can promote’ – ‘a completer finisher’.

When you start the recruitment process, you may have had a clear idea in your mind what a ‘good team player’ would look like, but has this been articulated well to your recruitment consultant? Think about what specific evidence you would want to see on a CV to assess your criteria. How would you measure that they are a ‘good team player’?

Other useful questions to think about to help your recruitment consultant identify the most relevant candidate for your vacancy are:

  • What is the most important thing the candidate will do for you?
  • If you could only have one skill/previous experience in a candidate, what would it be?
  • Is there anything that is absolutely essential or anything that would rule out a prospective candidate?
  • What will be the first major task or project on which they will embark once they are on-board?

Try to give more than just general descriptions of what you want; be precise so your recruitment consultant can bring you the ideal candidate.

First past the post
Envision a situation where you have just briefed a number of recruitment consultants about your current vacancy – you have rightly insisted that all candidates are properly screened and vetted to establish their suitability for the role. Then you have told them that whoever gets the CV to you first is representing that particular candidate; unwittingly you have created a race! The consultants are now focussed on getting the CV’s to you as quickly as possible for fear of someone sending it first – not necessarily thoroughly vetting and screening the candidate. Just because someone’s first past the post doesn’t mean they didn’t take a sneaky short cut when you weren’t looking!

5 Agents so 5 times the service.
One would imagine competition to be a positive thing – so many hiring managers will engage 5 agents in the hope of getting 5 times the service. The reality is, this scattergun approach can mean little or no service. If you think about it in terms of percentages, as 1 of 5 agents there is a 20% chance of that agency making a profit. If, however, they’re engaged on an exclusive basis, there is an approximate 95% chance of the agency making a profit.

If someone was to come to you in your business and give you the option of 2 potential deals; one with a 20% chance of making a profit and one where there is a 95% chance of making a profit, where would you advise them to focus their energy and resources?

On a personal level for the consultant – if they are 1 of 1 agency, it becomes their personal responsibility to fill the role by the given date. When a consultant is engaged on an exclusive basis they ‘solve your problem’, e.g. ‘I need a new purchase ledger clerk starting on the 1st of March to clear this backlog of invoices’. Suddenly, it becomes their problem to solve. They will have to work hard to get you a strong enough shortlist for you to find the perfect candidate to have this role filled by the 1st of March – 100% attention will be on your role. Before engaging your agencies, you need to think – do you want someone to solve your problem so you can get on with the day job or do want someone who is one of many ‘having a go’?

If you take into account the above when you engage a recruitment consultant and make sure you’re dealing with a professional recruiter, you will greatly decrease the number of irrelevant CV’s you receive in your inbox the next time you’re recruiting.

For expert advice on accountancy and finance recruitment please feel free to contact the team at BTG on 0115 960 7000.

Written by Matt Finch, Managing Director of BTG Nottingham.

Upload Your CV

Please fill out the fields below and attach an up to date CV with a covering note.

Max. file size: 8 MB.

Request Call Back

Please provide us with your name and telephone number and your preferred call back time and one of the BTG team will be in touch.