Beyond Resumes: Why Specialist Recruiters Are The Unsung Heroes of Hiring

Jim Knott, our Head of Media & Creative talks about how navigating the ever-changing landscape of skills, culture, and trends can be a daunting task.... enter the specialist recruiter, your secret weapon in crafting a dream team. Forget resumes and interviews - we're talking deeper insights, strategic planning, and the magic touch that ensures the right fit, every time. Dive in and discover why specialist recruiters are more than just head-hunters - they're the architects of your company's future.

Updated: 19th February 2024

Recruiting is a profession that never allows you to stand still. With remote and hybrid working, new technologies, employee wellbeing initiatives and a push to digital trading, companies are not only revamping themselves, but also changing the roles they offer and the way their staff work.

As Head of Media, Creative & Technology at Taylor Hawkes, I’m engaging with a set of industries who have undergone significant changes and require a specific set of skills and knowledge from both new and experienced staff. These are fast-moving, cutting-edge companies who need people with the right knowledge and experience to complement and develop their teams as they grow.

My role with these industries comes from my own background – having spent more than seven years as an accountant in the entertainment space. Having this first-hand knowledge of how the sector works day-to-day, and what the pressures and opportunities are for those working in these industries, means I can have meaningful in-depth conversations with our clients about their business, the type of roles they need to fill and the kind of candidate that would thrive there.

Experience is vital, but there’s lots of traits that make a truly great recruitment partner, and a number of benefits for both clients and candidates when it comes to finding the best specialist to support their job plans. We’ve gathered some insight from across our team of experts here at Taylor Hawkes, many of whom have come from the industries they now support, considering the ways in which a high-quality and knowledgeable recruiter can make a real difference way beyond simply connecting people with open roles and seeing what sticks.

Helping find a good fit that lasts
As well as having resources and networks that aren’t available to most employers, recruiters have a specific expertise in identifying a candidate who is the right fit for the specific role and the wider culture of the firm.

Too often companies fail to fully assess a candidate’s suitability before their interview, losing the opportunity to ask the right questions that could help their decision. Similarly, many employers will focus too heavily on qualifications and previous experience, and fail to give enough time and attention to the softer skills of the candidate and their potential cultural fit that can have a real impact on making the relationship work in the long run.

Working with a specialist recruiter, particularly one with staff who have worked in the sector themselves, will help companies and candidates understand how to match the day-to-day working styles, as well as the longer-term ambitions and skillsets of both sides.

Helping candidates stay professional
For many candidates, changing jobs can be a daunting task and one they haven’t tackled for years. It’s never easy to put yourself in the spotlight for a new role, and often not easy to leave a current role either. The key to making the process smoother and to achieve the right outcome is for candidates to take a professional approach to engaging with both sides – and the experience and guidance of talented recruiters can make a big difference here.

When it comes to applying and interviewing for a new role, candidates can often trip themselves up by not preparing enough in really understanding the new company, or showing a genuine interest in the role beyond the basic duties and salary. A recruiter who truly understands their client company will be invaluable in helping candidates plan the right research, insightful questions and key answers that show their professional approach to the new role that will impress employers.

Should a candidate be successful, it’s also important they don’t burn any bridges with their current role when they leave. Industries can feel like small communities as people move around roles over time and senior figures network and interact with each other. A professional and respectful exit may go a long way to helping a candidate’s reputation in the future.

A specialist recruiter can become more like an agent for a candidate – not just for one role, but throughout their whole career. By giving personal advice on how to leave a company on good terms, search for an ideal role, shine in interviews and demonstrate a professional standard at all times, recruiters can play a vital role in a candidate’s journey.

Planning and trends
The value of a specialist recruiter for companies is in their ability to truly understand the strategy behind their hiring plans, and to work closely with the business leaders on a longer-term approach to building a strong team.

Many companies try to simply engage with a recruiter for an immediate hire, either to replace someone who is leaving or as a reaction to a capacity issue within the team. This approach can often be inefficient by rushing the process to fill spaces – and potentially hiring an unsuitable candidate – and not giving the right consideration to how the new person will fit in with the existing team.

By changing the strategy from reactive to proactive, a specialist recruiter can help avoid these pitfalls, and support the development of a complementary, knowledgeable and skilled team within the company. By understanding this, and helping businesses even hire outside of their immediate plans when perfect candidates come along, the right recruiter can become a key asset for any business leader.

Helping candidates understand their worth
When we talk about worth, we don’t simply mean salary. This is obviously a big factor in any career move, however, and working with a recruiter who has an in-depth knowledge of the market can really help candidates understand the going rate for their role, and what to negotiate for in any hiring conversations.
But more than this, a specialist recruiter can make a real difference in how a candidate approaches their job search and interviews, by helping them understand the value of their skills and expertise. Through effective preparation and using their understanding of their client’s business, a quality recruiter can help candidates make their CV stand out and emphasise the particular skills and experience that will make them attractive to the particular business.
By empowering candidates to recognise their value and the benefits of the skillset they hold, they are then able to challenge employers more confidently on career opportunities, job duties and, ultimately, salary and benefit discussions. In some cases, this confidence will also extend to knowing when to walk away from the hiring process too.

Benefits benchmarking
A similar story applies to understanding worth from the company side too. Working with a specialist recruiter on a more strategic hiring plan can bring a number of valuable benefits to businesses looking to attract the best talent.
Understanding not only what candidates are typically looking for, but also what is now expected as standard and exceptional in terms of company benefits, can really help realign a business with the candidate market. In basic terms, this could mean considering benchmarking data for salaries and wider employee benefits, to ensure that offers are in line with what a candidate is typically looking for.
But beyond that, the knowledge that specialists have through liaising with top talent can be a game changer for any business’s approach. This can include really understanding the value and demand for softer benefits and a supportive culture, as well as flexibility and consideration for different ways of working that might suit some candidates perfectly.
By aligning with hiring experts, companies can ensure they are really selling the opportunities they can offer to staff, such as training, job progression and client exposure, that will help ensure that the best candidates are interested and don’t end up elsewhere.

In summary
These different benefits are often the difference between a placement that thrives over time and one that struggled from the outset. What ties them together is the ability to build a relationship of trust with clients and candidates – and a belief that the recruiter really understands the requirements from both sides and takes the time to make the right match work.

From my own experience, clients engage with me on their wider staffing vision, and value both my opinion and that of my team when it comes to bringing a strategy to their recruitment that matches their business aims. Having worked in the sector myself, that unique understanding allows me to have more informed discussions with companies, and we’d certainly always advise companies to take the time to find a specialist who can take the worry out of building the right team.

Jim Knott  |  |  LinkedIn


Knowledge is king

If you would like to keep up to date on the latest industry news and other related content please subscribe to our newsletter.

I agree to receive Taylor Hawkes newsletter and other related communications. privacy policy.

Our Privacy Policy describes how we process your personal data, sets out your rights as a data subject, and identifies how to exercise them.