4 Things to consider before deciding to (not) work exclusively with a specialist recruiter

Most managers in IT have been there. No matter how good you are in retaining talent, it happens. One of your senior guys (or women) resigns. And there is still so much work to do, so many critical projects to be delivered on time. Counter-offering to keep them on didn’t do its magic. So now you need to find a qualified replacement YESTERDAY. You need very specific skill sets that are rare in the market and the chance that the ideal candidate applies to your advertisement on the popular job boards is very slim. And even if they apply, there is still a chance the CV is overlooked when screening the 50+ CVs that any average IT advertisements attracts.


So you decide to speak to a handful of specialist recruiters who have their network and know just where to find your guy. And they all ask you for exclusivity! Why do they always have to do that?! You don’t want that. You just want different recruiters looking in the market, because that will have your role filled faster. Right? You won’t give exclusivity just for the recruiter’s sake.  So how are you benefitting as the client?

1.      You may think because you gave the role to 4 recruiters, that 4 recruiters are actively working on it. However, as they all know there is a ¼ chance of success, they all won’t put in their full 100% effort, but rather put more focus on the roles they do have exclusively with their other clients. No one is committedly working on your role.Give commitment to a recruiter and they will commit to your role if it is truly urgent. This will increase your chance of the desired outcome;

2.      An exclusively engaged recruiter will provide you a higher standard of service and will work more thoroughly, rather than just being focused on being faster than the competition;

3.      You’ll have more confidence your company will be well represented in the market. Messages that go out to the market are hard to control when there are multiple recruiters working on it;

4.      Candidates will have a better image of your company. It is easily underestimated how negative the impact is when a candidate is called for the 3rd time for the same position. Niche IT industries are small and candidates talk. You want to uphold your good image in the market to not make it even harder to attract talent.

But still, as the client, you don’t want the risk of working exclusively with the wrong recruiter. You don’t want to find yourself 4-6-8 weeks down the line without any progress. How do you tackle this in case you do see the benefits of working exclusively?

–         Agree time frames, set deadlines or milestones with your recruitment partner and have weekly update calls to discuss the progress. If you’re not satisfied with the in- and/or output, you can change tactics and engage with other/additional recruiters;

–         If possible, always meet the recruiter. Face to face you get a much better feel of what kind of service you can expect and discuss your expectations. You will know who knows/understands their market or when you shouldn’t work exclusively with “this guy”;

–         A simple one: Ask the recruiter for references or testimonials from other clients;

–         In case you expect similar vacancies in the near future: Give the first role to your shortlist of 2 recruiters to test their service. Then work exclusively on the upcoming roles with the recruiter you were impressed with the most and delivered the best service.

–         Alternatively: Ask the recruiter what they can do to make you feel comfortable if you would give the role exclusively to them. If their answer or proposal doesn’t comfort you, then maybe try the next one. In the end, it is a partnership and along the process, both you and the recruiter need to provide input to get the position filled. You will want to feel confident of success to be achieved along the way.

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I welcome comments on my articles, so please let me know in case this article was helpful to you or if you have other feedback.

In case you’d like to discuss potential recruitment strategies for your organisation or for a specific role, or you simply want some more tips, feel free to connect with me or contact me at rory.g@interpropeople.com, check out my  bio page on our website, or call me directly on 0385-927-827.

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