Inside a recruitment project - what goes on?

In this blog I want to explain what it takes to run a successful recruitment campaign, and how some of the methods work.


I feel that the reason we are highly “in demand” in recruitment is that the closer the online world makes us the further apart we get. As you can see in the methods below, connecting the right opportunity with the right person take a lot of effort.


We are all battling for attention and relevancy. However, most content you see, will likely have been created in the last 24 hours and be forgotten in the next 24 hours. This means that the way people interact with the internet goes against recruitment, typically for every £20,000 of salary it requires 1 whole month to find a role.


We have an abundance of speed-potential but speed means sacrifices, so CV’s are rarely tailored to a role and cover letters are rare. The old NASA saying of “better, faster or cheaper, pick any two” applies.


If we think about it, does all of make things better or worse? What is more and more needed is someone in the middle to knit it all together. Hence the UK has thousands of recruitment agencies in a £141bn market.


The short-termism of the online world is the way it’s gone, almost on an infrastructure level. Applications quickly submitted down smartphones and speed are fine, but that has a disposability to it as well. If one is building a team in a business off that, it’s a bit of a worry perhaps.


However, fundamentally if you are making people feel disposable you aren’t making them feel special. I feel like a big part of a recruiters job is to bring that feeling of ‘special’ building relationships and treating people well.

This means honesty both ways if someone is unsuitable they get a respectful explanation of why. It is a marathon not a sprint. However a good recruiter gives you the marathon results, in sprint times.


So, while we all technically have limitless access to every person on the planet, once you read the below you’ll understand why it takes a mind and set of methods to truly capitalise on this and deliver truly viable people to a business.


Here is an anatomy of a recruitment project, this is aimed ‘client side’ a candidate side version will follow in future, though I’ve lots of content already published about this.

Initiation 1-2 weeks – 90% of the effort is here


  • Here we define the role and search criteria in partnership with the client typically in-person at a meeting with you or over a call.
  • The one single ‘passive’ aspect is our advertising which is done extensively (Reed, CV Library, Indeed, LinkedIn, Google Jobs, and LiCa Scientifics website) broadly speaking any available candidate should see our adverts we should fundamentally be impossible to ignore.
  • The rest is active where we use of various methodologies to search for candidates who are both on/off market. Such as LinkedIn recruiter as well as our in house database of 10’s of thousands of candidates and my own personal network of again several thousand, as well as Reed, CV Library, Indeed and others.
  • Mapping and contact with candidates at companies who have pertinent research streams is essential. If you aren’t doing this you are missing out on people who could be better candidates (and often in my experience are).
  • By looking into these companies for prospective hires on their teams we can locate potential hires, for example someone may have given a talk at a conference on the same subject matter we are hiring for skills in. Mapping and connecting with industrial leads on candidates.
  • Connecting with a connector is as powerful a force as compound interest. Someone’s former colleague, a member of the same research group at a University and so forth. This connects you to “Unknown Unknowns” (my favourite group!).
  • Again within academia perhaps connecting with pertinent research teams to gain 2' degree and 3' degree connection opportunities / referrals within the market. I’ve sat for several days with PhD teams at Universities around the UK, to learn what people are studying at a specific University for example. This allows me to quickly dive in to get certain skills we simply ‘fish where the fish are’. Typically once the above is done, there should be 1,000 in this group.
  • Does that sound a lot? Well consider your market how many competitors you have and how many people exist that could do the job. It isn’t, however too many more is too open less is too stringent. The idea being to reduce quickly to 100 ‘viables’ and then onto a long list of between 10 and 100. If you don’t feel like you’ve read 3 really terrible books while shortlisting, you’re not working hard enough. Further, if you aren’t dealing with these kind of numbers you do have blind spots, you are 100% missing people, you are building ‘less good’ teams. There's no hiding from this, every single highly successful business has at it's heart ❤️, good recruitment. 
  • Contacting individuals to pitch the opportunity present. This part gets easier the more thought that has gone into them as well. Recruitment is a simple transfer of emotion I’m excited about the job for feature-and-benefit A,B,C … I think my candidate should be too. If I can see someone has a 15 mile commute I can pitch the local role that will help their lifestyle. If someone is under promoted we can pitch a higher rung on the ladder. We all share motivators. Whether a candiate is on market or not they have motivators to be (see below). 
  • At this point we will be taking in a CV/Resume and with permissions share these. We have a brief GDPR process as it’s their data to ensure consent to share. Interviewing technically to understand their specific experience, key motivators and drivers. Typically our interviews take 30 minutes to 1 hour though lots of other contact then flows from this.
  • Each CV a client receives will contain information on salary expectations, notice period and our notes with pertinent information from our interview. This allows them to move ahead with confidence. We also do a bit of paperwork with the candidate to ensure all the key information is shared.
  • The above, done right, works. It is work, it is effort, and short cuts are not something that helps, however I also have a 100% fill rate on retained and a not-far-off on contingent for a reason.


Interviewing 1-2 weeks 


  • We will book all aspects of the interview sharing locations, personnel to be met with, all key information.
  • Ahead of interview any pertinent files can be pre-loaded to a dropbox for example a presentation.
  • Clients interview candidates. If retained we can be present for these as per your preference.
  • We act as a contact point for both parties throughout this, so for example we would cover ad-hoc questions around travel and provide pre-interview support to candidates.
  • We have a best-in-class interview guide, in house expertise and the support to give people on this part of the process.
  • Candidates are put in a position to give their best-version at interview.

Offer / Start (timescale depending on candidates notice period typically 0-90 days): 


  • At this point we pass on information to you that enables you to make a contract offer effectively at the point of offer we handover the candidate contact.
  • I’m a believer that pre-job contact has an impact on the ‘first 100 days’ of any new hire, so I prefer to back off, and get people dealing directly. Despite the above I’m not a complete control freak.
  • We will make the offer on your behalf however you are welcome naturally to do this part. If by this point the candidate rejects it it’s not within our influence and I don’t want to talk someone into it, I have a guarantee period to think of and like to sleep well.
  • However given the above, by this point we should know of their intentions and potential issues. We can at the point cover questions and act as a contact point ongoing for the candidate up until they start.
  • This can be a very useful phase where candidates can ask us things as an intermediary. They can ask us questions in confidence and be a bit more frank and open with us as an intermediate.
  • Management through to start date, regular check in calls.
  • If you wish us to, we can follow-up on references again some clients prefer to do this themselves.
  • Reference reports follow a standardised process which we can amend to your requirements.
  • Qualification Verification either via the University directly or via an external body such as Experian or Google Scholar. This can be chargeable (some Universities believe-it-or-not want money for this!) so is an on-request feature.


So, hopefully this gives a great impression about what is going on behind the scenes in any recruitment exercise.


What I hope you feel upon reading this is “what a lot of hard work these recruiters do” and, yes we do.


Believe me this is what I love personally about recruitment, there are no hiding places and the need for ongoing effort to do it well shows in the results and hopefully has a knock on effect on my candidates in-work happiness and therefore their team, and companies, performances.


I enjoy sports and one of my favourite aspects is the need to constantly focus on performance as opposed to relying on past successes, so recruitment serves me very well as a profession! I am only ever as good as my last week so it doesn’t get old for me.


Finally, we are available anytime to discuss your requirements, while business is good… we are always looking for more!


Matthew Rollinson

LiCa Scientific


+44 7798872108

Posted by: LiCa Scientific Ltd