The Federation of Recruitment and Employment Services' Christine Little on how a recruitment consultant can help employers find the best staff.
Good candidates in the technical and engineering sectors are in a sellers’ market. The number of jobs far outstrips the number of candidates. This means that they can negotiate remuneration packages that would have been unheard of five or six years ago.

If you are looking for staff, a recruitment consultant can give vital advice and support on what salary and packages you need to offer, how to recruit the right people and, most importantly, how to retain them in a competitive and aggressive market.

Recruitment consultants are not just CV brokers – they can offer advice and support. They can help in the following areas:

Developing a job description

Many employers assume that if one person leaves, another with the same skills should be recruited. This is not necessarily so – the job may have changed. A recruitment consultant can help to identify skills that should be included in a job description. This will save time by weeding out unsuitable candidates.

It is a good idea to make sure that everyone involved in the interview process and those who will be working closely with the new recruit see and approve the job description, so that it is clear what type of person is needed.

Thinking ahead

Once you have broken down the job description into key skills and competencies, it is a good idea to weigh these according to their importance to help choose between candidates. Also, it is worthwhile thinking about training that could be offered to bring a candidate up to speed. This enables you to take advantage of a wider range of candidates.


Most people can tell horror stories about a vacancy that elicited so many applications that simply opening and processing the CVs took days. But a recruitment consultant will have access to its own database of candidates and should be able to advertise and source candidates more effectively than an employer.

Employers are not experts on the recruitment market. A specialist recruiter can give an up-to-date picture of skills shortages, salary levels and availability

Time saving

Research has shown that using a recruitment consultant usually results in a job being filled more quickly than other methods. And having sourced candidates, a consultant will present you with a shortlist based on your selection criteria and set up interviews.


If you do decide to advertise, a recruitment company will probably have an existing relationship with the publication and may be able to get you preferential rates.


Much is made of employer feedback to candidates, but candidate feedback is equally important. Most candidates would never tell a prospective employer why they don’t want to work for them, but they may tell a third party, such as a recruitment consultant. This information can be vital for employers keen to get the best staff in a competitive market.

Market knowledge

Most employers are not experts on the recruitment market. A specialist recruiter can give an up-to-date picture of the market. They will know about any skills shortages or surpluses, current salary levels, career expectations and candidate availability.

Sticking with a good consultant