How to properly brief an IT recruitment agency on your vacancy

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Your IT recruitment agencies aren’t delivering candidates. Or the ones they do send aren’t up to the job. The same CVs are landing in your inbox again and again. It seems like the agencies just aren’t putting the effort in.


This is understandably frustrating. But instead of banging your head against a wall, its worth examining why this situation might be arising. Could a failure of communication be contributing to the problem?


The reality is some companies know how to work with IT recruitment agencies and others don’t. In order for your vacancy to get your agencies full attention and focus you need to do what you can to move it towards the top of their priority list. This starts with giving them a considered and in-depth briefing on all aspects of the role.


“The recruiter doesn’t know what I want,” is one of the most common complaints leveled against technical recruiters.  Obviously sometimes the complaint is completely warranted. Bad recruiters do exist. However in other cases, the recruiter might be struggling to find suitable candidates because they haven’t been given a definitive outline of what they should be looking for.


So when using an IT recruitment agency, here’s what you can do to help communicate a clear picture of your ideal candidate.


Spend adequate time giving your briefing


Contrary to its title, delivering a job briefing should be anything but brief. Before contacting an agency, you should spend time drilling down into the finer details of the role so you can present it in a clear, granular way to your recruiter. IT roles are growing more complex by they day. Its virtually impossible to explain all aspects of a technical role in a 5 – 10 minute brief. As a general rule of thumb, for IT jobs, you should spend at least half an hour briefing your recruiter. However for roles that are particularly complex, an adequate briefing may take up to an hour.


Bring the role to life


Job descriptions are great for summarising the main aspects of a role. However in a lot of cases, they tend to read as fairly mundane documents full of technical buzzwords and idealistic attributes. Taking care to really dissect the role for your recruiter will be of huge benefit when they are selling your vacancy to candidates. Giving a holistic picture of the role is often the factor that sways candidates who initially seemed disinterested. In this regard, you should let your IT recruiter know:


  • How the role came about
  • The size of the team they’ll be slotting into
  • Main deliverables expected in the role
  • Who the candidate will actually be reporting to on an ongoing basis
  • Prospects for growth, learning, and development
  • Optional future career paths
  • The culture of the existing team
  • The culture of the wider organisation


Full disclosure on the status of the vacancy


Chances are, by the time it lands in the hands of an IT recruitment agency, your role has probably already been through quite a bit. You may have already made your own attempt at talent spotting or advertised the role internally to current staff. Letting your recruiter know about any challenges you have already ran into can help them avoid wasting time with unsuitable approaches. So let them know:


  • What you have done with the role so far, internally and externally
  • Any challenges you have come up against


Hone in on personality


You want to hire a person. Not a robot. You have probably already met many candidate who tick all the right technical boxes, but come across as an arrogant know-it-all who would disrupt the dynamics of your existing team. For this reason, you should be clear with your recruiter about what sort of person you want to hire, and where your preferences lie. Normally job descriptions paint a perfect profile that doesn’t really reflect a realistic talent pool. Making your preferred personality characteristics clear will help your recruiter spot the “right-fit” when they see them. Tell them:


  • What sort of people succeed in your organisation
  • The type of companies you’d like them to come from
  • The things you definitely don’t want to see on a CV
  • What would constitute the “wow-factor” from your perspective



Spell out your process


Your recruiter needs to know how your hiring process typically works – from start to finish. Ultimately, they need to tailor their work around your schedule and way of working. Be upfront about this during the brief can save an enormous amount of hassle and frustration down the line. Tell them:


  • How many CVs you would like in a shortlist
  • When you would like to receive the shortlist
  • When you want the candidate to start
  • Details of each stage of your interview process
  • How long it will take you to provide feedback on the candidates





We believe a recruitment agency should be able to do more than source great candidates. That’s why we offer a full range of services designed to help you find and hold on to top technical talent.