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How to Motivate a Recruiter to Prioritise Your Vacancy

July, 2019
Adam Richardson

July 2019

Written by Adam Richardson (, Managing Director and Owner of AR Resourcing. Adam has 20 years’ experience recruiting professional and technical disciplines across the built environment industries.

Recruiters do NOT spend an equal amount of time on every role. Nor do they necessarily spend the most time on the role with the greatest potential fee. The most effective way to get a recruiter to prioritise your role is to maximise their chances of completing a placement as efficient as possible. 


The best recruiters will always be working more roles than they can realistically fill. Even then they will be looking to get more on. This enables them to cherry-pick which mandates they focus their efforts on to reflect which have the greatest chance of resulting in a placement. It is also a great way to attract the best candidates who are attracted by a recruiter with a good selection of roles.

The likely success rate of the placement multiplied by the fee gives the value of the opportunity – so a £6,000 fee with a 30% chance of success is worth £2,000 while a £5,000 role with a 50% chance of success is worth £2,500. 

The third-factor recruiters will instinctively estimate is the amount of time they will need to spend on the role. So the calculation becomes:

·     £6,000 multiplied by 30% divided by 40 hours = £45 per hour

·     £5,000 multiplied by 50% divided by 60 hours = £41.50 per hour

The system is not infallible - in reality, no recruiter can be certain of their chances of success and the amount of time they end up spending on a role can deviate significantly from the expected. However, the formula works out over time.


You (the client) are the factor that is most likely to impact both the likelihood of filling the role and the efficiency of the process. 

The likelihood of filling the role is determined by factors including how difficult the brief is; the number of other recruiters trying to fill the position; and how long the recruitment process lasts from start to finish. 

The efficiency of the process relates in large part to the amount of time wasted, for example the brief changing; CVs not being reviewed quickly so candidates end up interviewing elsewhere; excessive bureaucracy; nobody being appointed etc.


The amount of time a recruiter spends on your brief, even if it is a straight forward one, can make a significant difference to the quality of candidates that you see. 

Short of paying a retainer (often a very effective strategy), here are the top ways to persuade recruiters to put your role to the top of the pile:

  1. Involve the recruiter in developing the brief– if you consult with the recruiter on the brief then they will be confident they know which skills and what experience are essential and which could actually be categorised as discretionary. It will also give them the opportunity to ask any additional questions that may help better identify and engage the right candidates and, critically the opportunity to really understand the personality traits that will be successful in the role.
  2. Set out a clear and concise timeline for the recruitment process– if the process is drawn out good candidates will likely have accepted offers elsewhere before your recruitment process is complete and, as such, the recruiter will likely have wasted their time. Laying out and sticking to a clear timeline gives recruiters confidence and is important in engaging the best candidates.
  3. Minimise the number of recruitment agencies involved– the more recruiters involved in the process, the less likely each recruiter is to be successful and so the less likely they are to prioritise your role. Sharing the names of all the recruitment agencies also matters – knowing the other competing agencies helps when a candidate says they have already been approached, if this isn’t by an engaged agency then there is still the potential to manage the candidate’s application. 
  4. Give quick feedback at every stage– candidates spend considerable time preparing for each interview and expect feedback. Clients that give meaningful feedback (for both successful and unsuccessful candidates) invariably attract better quality talent. The feedback also helps recruiters refine which individuals they put forward in the future.
  5. Stay close to candidates who have accepted offers – a recent survey showed 28% of candidates renege after accepting offers. Staying in regular touch with the successful candidate will reassure candidates and will dramatically reduce that percentage.  

When a skillset and experience are particularly rare or in demand, or when a role is particularly important, the two most sure-fire ways to guarantee a recruiter prioritises your role are to pay a retainer or to provide us with a head-start of 2-3 weeks before you publicise the role more widely. This dramatically increases the probability of success and will put your role to the top of the pile.

About the author:

Adam Richardson - Managing Director

Adam has over 20 years’ experience recruiting procurement and commercial professionals across the construction sector.

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