Why Cant My Recruiter Find Me The Best Talent? They Have The Job Description!

2 Blindfolded Stick Figures with Ties

You have a job opening, and need to fill it fast. Problem is, you’re also really busy – so you hastily pull together a job brief and send it out to a bunch of recruiters. Then you wait for the CVs to flow in and hope to find a good match.

This may be the way you’ve always done it, or you are simply just time-poor. The position may get filled, but there’s also no doubt that the candidates you see could be a lot stronger. A candidate who accepts a job just because they need a job, and not because they’re engaged with the work, can have negative flow on effects in a team, and in a business.


Amid a rapid rise in contract recruitment in our nation’s capital (up 215% year on year) and a steady increase in demand for permanent hires, the art of the detailed job brief has become somewhat neglected. It’s especially important in the current market, where tough conditions mean that there is a shortage of top talent. Top candidates are interested in knowing more about a client’s business from their recruiter before diving in.

Successful recruitment is about matching top people and their motivators, interests, behaviours, and ideal culture with that of an employer. A written job brief does little more than set out the technical requirements of a role. But a recruiter can learn more in one meeting with you than 10 job descriptions will communicate. It is a difficult, complex matter where the more a recruiter understands the better the job they do.

If you’ve been failing to secure top talent, here are four reasons why your job briefs could be the cause…

1. Recruiters value their relationships with candidates

Recruiters work very hard to cultivate strong relationships with top talent. They stay in regular contact, build knowledge about them, and actively seek roles that align with a candidate’s career aspirations.

This level of care builds trust. But years of building trust can be damaged if the recruiter uses their relationship to encourage a candidate to apply for a role that is not a good fit. The candidate feels they are not understood, and the recruiter is putting their own needs before anyone else’s.

Armed only with a poor job brief, a recruiter has to resort to guesswork about whether the role is the right fit for their candidate. Even if you write a great email or send a suite of documentation, the technical aspect of “what they do” is a small part of the puzzle –the easy bit in our view.

Solution: Don’t approach recruitment like you are ordering stationery. Instead of a generic email that includes technical specs, select high performing recruiters and invest some time. Empower them with information so they can approach the best people for the role.

2. Top talent don’t waste time talking about poorly understood roles

Canberra is home to very talented people who have built experience in highly specialised areas. These people are in high demand and rely on their recruiters to present opportunities that are a good fit.

Equipped with nothing more than an emailed job order, your recruiter may forward a position description to their candidate, but when asked why they should consider it, the recruiter simply won’t have much to go on.

In this scenario, the most common response from candidates is “No thanks”. And even if the role may be interesting and in an organisation that would be a great fit for the candidate, they won’t engage unless these things can be communicated to them. They’re in high demand, so they’re more than likely considering two or three offers already.

Solution: Equip your recruiter with the “why” behind the opportunity to share with their best people. If the recruiter is excited by it, the candidate will follow their lead.

3. Average recruiters accept blind job orders, and fill roles with average candidates

A strong, experienced recruiter will fill a far lower percentage (typically, lower than 20%) of job orders where a client has not been able to give them anything more than the job description, whether due to time constraints or because they’re a busy procurement area that has many roles to fill quickly.

In a busy market where job opportunities outweigh candidates, where do they invest their time? Where do they send their top candidates?

You guessed it, to the client who worked with them to improve their recruitment outcomes. Their best candidates go to clients who partner with their recruiters.

And the recruiters who work hard to fill those blind job orders? Maybe they do fill the roles, but only with candidates who may not be the best performing, right fit, or even be fully engaged.

Solution: You get out what you put in. Fast food style recruitment produces poor long term results. Sure, sometimes you get lucky. More often, you end up with a mediocre result.

4. There’s no long term strategy

On the flip side, a proactive approach to recruitment sets the organisation up for success. It’s the opposite of flicking a lacklustre job brief to 10 agencies, and involves building strong relationships with passionate and skilled recruiters who make time to understand your recruitment needs at a high level.

This doesn’t need to take much of your time. In fact, a semi-regular catch up with your recruiter and open, direct communication can be all that is needed to give you access to the best people.

Solution: Build lasting relationships with strong recruiters who have a proven track record of success. Keep them updated on what’s happening in your organisation, so you can quickly operationalise them with a detailed brief along with the job description when a new position opens up.

There’s no better time to start than now

Canberra’s recruitment market is hyper-competitive and maintaining an arm’s length approach to recruitment will fail more often than it succeeds.

We’re in a market now where a good recruiter is receiving more than 10 new jobs in a week. The clients who are getting great results are the ones engaging with the recruiter – meeting with them, talking to them regularly (enough), and giving them a thorough job brief.

The time you invest upfront – be it 30 minutes or an hour – will be the time you save in wasted effort in the future…tenfold!

Simon Cox
HorizonOne Recruitment

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