In theory, recruitment appears to be a straightforward process. You have a marketing vacancy, you build the role profile and you find someone with the skills and experience who fits that profile. If they are also interested in the job, you employ them. As the Meerkats say, “simples”. As we all know however, things never are.

What happens when you don’t truly know what you are looking for in the role? You may have a job that is that bit different? It might be new, your organisational structure may have changed, or the previous incumbent may have failed? Or you may be brand new to this recruitment lark or come in midway through the process?

This happens far more often than you might think, and the implications can be far reaching.

  • It inevitably slows things down and drags out the process. Your Recruitment Partner can end up submitting numerous candidates, none of whom really fit the bill.
  • You can all too easily end up with the wrong person in the role. Of course, you realise much further down the line and then must either adapt or go through a lengthy HR process to correct your mistake.
  • You put candidates off. It comes through during interview if you don’t really know what you are looking for in a candidate. Some hiring managers have lost candidates they subsequently realised were ideal as a result.
  • It is bad for the brand! You know the importance of living your brand and a business’ employer brand is no different. Marketing is an industry with strong networks and people talk, especially if they have had a negative candidate experience.

But don’t despair. There are things we can do to help mitigate the negative effects.

  • Preparation, preparation, preparation. Take your time to build the job spec. Think about the problem you are trying to resolve or the reason for recruitment, and build this in.
  • Be flexible. Applying rigid criteria such as qualifications or industry is useful when you are certain what you are looking for. If you are unsure however, this may cause you to miss out on the ideal candidate.
  • Feel out the market with us. If it’s a difficult role and you want to review the market then let us know and we can through our market mapping, looking at different skill sets and profiles until you find what is right for you.
  • Treat it as a project. Agree a timetable with your Recruitment Partner upfront at the start. If they understand your situation, they will work with you to consider a range of candidates. This improves efficiency and helps to manage your time and other stakeholder expectations.
  • Ask for support. If you are new to recruiting we can help, or alternatively speak to your HR team. We will advise you on the process, the market conditions, work with you to build a job description, introduce you to a range of candidates and coach you on interviewing techniques and salary negotiations.
If you are unsure of what you are really looking for in your next hire then give us a call 01737 457 330 8.30am – 6.00pm GMT or email


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Updated August 21, 2017