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8 steps to getting the most from your charity recruitment partner

Posted on 26/09/2018 by

Rec partner

Charities trying to hire new staff are facing a tough time: The UK unemployment rate is at its lowest since 1975 and three out of five small and medium-sized charities do not feel they have the skills required to prosper in the next five years. There is a huge amount of competition for the very best candidates, but third sector organisations can give themselves a better chance by collaborating and working closely with a specialist recruiter. By working in partnership with their consultancy they can achieve a much higher success rate.

Here are TPP’s top tips for getting the most from that relationship:

1. Start with a good brief

The only way to guarantee your recruitment consultant knows exactly what you’re looking for is to be clear about it before you start the process. Make sure you have a fresh, fully reviewed job description and person specification and think about what you’ll use to measure the success of the role. Giving your consultant copies of things like your organisation chart and annual report are helpful in giving them a good picture of how you work as are an overview of values and how this post impacts beneficiaries. It’s also important to make sure you know how the recruitment process will work (e.g. how many interviews you are planning, interview content etc), dates for interviews, and who will be involved at your end before you start seeing candidates.

2. Meet your consultant face to face

Any recruitment consultant worth their salt will want to visit your office to meet and discuss the brief. While this might seem like something that could be done over the phone, it’s really helpful for the consultant to see your offices and get an idea of the organisation’s culture. This will help them find candidates who both meet your requirements and maximises the chances of their integration into your team. It also gives the recruiter information they can use to enthuse candidates and get them excited about working for your organisation.

3. Be consistent

Once you’ve given your consultant a brief and set a starting salary, it’s important to stick to it. We all know that requirements change on occasion, but interviewing based on one salary and then being unable to offer it is a waste of everyone’s time. The candidate is highly unlikely to accept and will leave them (and their friends and network) with a very poor view of your organisation. You may also have to restart the process.

4. Respond a quickly as possible

With the high demand for candidates, the best ones won’t hang around for long waiting for an offer – they’ll go to your competitors instead. It’s really important to make the recruitment process as fast as you possibly can so that candidates stay interested in your vacancy. Having one person who is responsible for relaying information to your consultant and keeping communications open makes it easier to keep everyone up to speed.

5. Be flexible with your requirements

When you’re in a rush to fill a vacancy, it can be tempting to look for someone exactly like the previous incumbent but doing so could lead you to overlook candidates who may be able to bring something extra to your role. Your consultant may suggest candidates who appear overqualified, are from a different sector or who only want to work part-time. Don’t dismiss these out of hand – they may be the best fit in the long term and can give you a wider pool to choose from.

6. Give good feedback

The single biggest frustration candidates have with the recruitment process is almost always a lack of feedback, and these days it’s very easy for them to share their irritation on social media. Getting a reputation as a bad hirer could make it harder to fill your roles in the future, and could even affect the opinion of your donors, so it’s worth keeping candidates sweet even when they aren’t successful.

Your consultant will also have a much better chance of finding just the right candidate for your role if you let them know exactly why previous CVs or interviewees weren’t right. Don’t worry about sugar-coating your feedback – just be honest and your consultant will relay it to the candidate in a diplomatic way.

7. Work towards a long-term relationship

Long-term relationships work much better in recruitment than emergency vacancy fills. After all, the better a consultant knows you and your organisation, the more likely they are to find exactly the right candidate and ‘sell’ your organisation to them. Once you’ve successfully filled a role, a good recruitment consultant will stay in touch to check how the candidate works out. Keeping in contact with your recruiter means they’ll continue to keep an eye out for candidates who’ll work well in your organisation, giving you a head start when it’s time to hire.

8. Consider a PSL

If you work with the same recruitment consultancy on a regular basis, it’s worth considering setting up a preferred supplier list agreement. This means you guarantee to give any new vacancies to them in exchange for a set discounted rate. Most recruiters will also prioritise opportunities from clients with whom they have such an agreement. You can also use this arrangement to ensure that all of your suppliers are compliant, ethical and have a wide variety of candidates.


Working with a recruitment consultancy can be daunting, especially if you are using one for the first time, but if you follow the steps above you’ll be well on your way to creating a productive relationship that will help your organisation grow.

TPP Recruitment is a UK-wide consultancy with an excellent track record. We specialise in working in partnership with non-profit and public sector organisations to find them the best possible employees. We strongly believe in supporting the sector with which we work and our principles reflect that. If you’re interested in finding out how working together with TPP could make your organisation more productive, get in touch.