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Working with agencies across Healthcare Communications (Med Comms, Advertising & PR), Market Access and Market Research, we know how difficult it can be for companies to fill live vacancies when working within a candidate short market.  

If you’re already using a recruiter to support with your role then you’re off to a great start, as they’ll have access to a strong candidate network, various means for advertising (job boards, LinkedIn and creative marketing tactics) and a wealth of industry knowledge. But how do you ensure they prioritise your position above the others they’re working on? This can be especially vital if you require a role to be filled quickly in line with a new business win or project launch.  

Exclusivity & Retained Search 

Offering exclusivity on a role is one of the best ways to ensure your job is given preference over others being worked by the recruiter. Typically, in these circumstances there will be an agreed period of exclusivity where both parties fully commit to the process. This can be hugely beneficial if you’re under a strict deadline to make a new hire to meet your client needs or relieve pressure on your team.  

As the hiring manager only communicates with one recruiter, they have time to provide a solid briefing and proper feedback on each application, and they don’t receive duplicate and poorly matched CV’s, saving even more time. The recruiter has the knowledge and space to dedicate to finding the best candidate for the role = Win : Win.  

Similarly to an exclusive partnership, offering a role out on a retained search also means your vacancy will be prioritised by a recruitment agency. In this instance, the recruiter is paid an upfront or scheduled fee and will once again work on the role exclusively. A retained search means you’ll only need to brief and follow up with one contact, leaving you more time to get on with other aspects of the business. This way of working offers 100% commitment to your role from the recruiter.  

Pre-setting an Interview Date 

Another way to create urgency with your role is to pre-set an initial interview date - this could be a week or so after first releasing the role to a recruiter. This gives the agency a time frame to work with, and by stipulating how many CVs you require from them for these interviews to go ahead you’ll ensure they work your role above others. This option will also support candidate attraction, giving applicants an expectation of timings for the process.  

Full Briefing  

Offering a full briefing for the role will not only give recruiters a better understanding of your role and what it is you’re looking for, but it’ll also help them feel more connected to the opportunity. At Carrot we have an in-house marketing team so a full client briefing means we can produce more accurate, attractive and informative marketing materials to enhance candidate attraction. 

Briefing calls help recruiters understand more about the opportunity, the company, the ideal candidate and to ask questions the agency may not have even thought of themselves. This provides a chance to really unpack the role and therefore match it up with the best candidates.  

Alongside this, a detailed job spec should always be provided. Although the role will have been covered comprehensively during the briefing call, a job spec often incorporates extra details. Anything that can be provided alongside a spec which gives tangible insights to a company will also be hugely appreciated. This could be a conference paper, a ‘day in the life’ type video or a virtual office tour (especially useful during Covid).  

Adjust Your Fees 

Offering enhanced fees for roles that need urgently filling is another way to attract recruiters to work with you. For many companies, it’s worth paying a little bit more to ensure a priority role is worked on quickly. In some cases, failure to fill certain roles can lead to lost projects or business.  


Ensuring clear and concise communications will help to strengthen the relationship between HR and recruiters. It’s worthwhile considering giving recruiters access to the appropriate line manager for them to ask role-specific questions to 

Another favourable option is offering the ability to book in ‘get to know you’ type calls with candidates who look a strong match for the role but who are not 100% sold on the company or need some encouragement to move jobs. Whereas before, a candidate might have been offered an informal coffee meeting or a tour of the offices, it is vital to still offer something similar during the current Covid climate.  


Recruitment agencies will rarely turn down the opportunity to work a new role, but the trick is getting them to prioritise your positions that require urgent attention or those you’ve had advertised for a while. So next time you’re struggling to fill a vacancy or you’re dealing with a candidate-short market it’s worthwhile considering one of the options above.   

For further help and support with your vacancies, or to discuss the unique ways we can help to advertise your role to candidates, contact us today

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