I had a very interesting experience last week that I wanted to share because it really brought home to me the advantage candidates may have when being represented by a consultant. I had been briefed by a client on a contingency basis for a senior role which the client would also be advertising on its own website. As I started to pull together my long list I spoke to a candidate who a matter of hours before had actually seen the direct advertisement and had submitted an application.

Whilst I understood and expected the reaction I received, it was the strength of feeling that perhaps surprised me.  The candidate was genuinely gutted that his application was not through me. (Not as gutted as I was of course, this guy was a great shout for the role!). He went on to explain how he believed he would be disadvantaged by not being represented by me. He explained that when I had put him forward for a previous role, I had shared with him a large amount of information that he has never had when going direct. The fact that I knew the Line Manager and had done for many years meant I could give insight into her character and style. An in depth briefing on the role, it’s challenges, the make up and capability of the existing team. Also a real insight into the culture and the people within the business and more than just the values on their website. Also the knowledge and experience of recruiting for them allowed me to give clarity and detail around the selection process.

What I totally appreciate is that a lot of clients will ensure that their candidates are very prepared for any selection event or interview. Many have information packs and the like to ensure the candidate has the job description, knows the process that they will go through etc. But as my candidate pointed out, when you have a consultant who truly knows the client they are able to give you that insight, that extra edge that might just make the difference. Now clearly better preparation isn’t going to turn an average candidate into a Superstar but in this very competitive market it just might swing the balance in their favour. I decided to share my knowledge with this candidate anyway, firstly it felt like the right thing to do, secondly I knew he would tell the client which would sit very positively with them and also if he was successful he would then be a client.  In his mind he would have be genuinely disadvantaged without my support and it really drove home the difference we can make to the recruitment process from the candidates perspective.

I did of course ponder whether the candidate had thought about whether he may actually stand a better chance of getting the role because he didn’t have a sizeable fee attached to his head….. but that is a different debate altogether………..and one for another day!

I am really interested to hear other’s thoughts, which ever side of the table you sit……..