The Golden Ratio


The Golden Ratio

Imagine this scenario.

You approach a recruitment consultancy, looking to fill a position. You provide them with all the basic information they’ll need, and after a week or two they come back to you with 25 candidates, all of whom they swear are just perfect for the job.

After taking the time to go over all of the candidates, however, you realise that the recruiter can’t tell you anything substantial about any of them. They know everything about their skills and their relevant experience, but are completely incapable of telling you about anything about what they are like as people. Are they personable or robotic? Active or passive? Do they take ownership of targets and work hard when no-one is watching, or do they need someone to pull them over every finish-line? You start to realise that what you’ve been sent isn’t 25 candidates – it’s just 25 CV’s.

This approach to recruitment is one I’ve seen all-too-often in my 10 years in the business. A great deal of firms and consultants assume that they don’t need to spend any time getting to know their candidates and properly assessing not only if their CV is right for the job, but if they are. If they simply throw as many vaguely relevant CV’s as possible at their client, they look busy and productive. Eventually the role will get filled, the consultant will get their commission, and the client will get a candidate who is kind-of-sort-of what they were looking for. Easy, right?

To me, however, this strategy ignores a lot of the reasons why people approach recruitment firms in the first place. As a hiring manager looking to fill a role (while managing a myriad of other hires and projects), you don’t want to have to read through a whole library of CV’s. The point of bringing in a recruiter – or any other external supplier, for that matter – is to create less work for yourself, not more.

The fact is, anybody in the world can do a basic search for ‘data engineers’ or ‘support analysts’ and send over the CV’s of everyone who pops up. But you didn’t bring in a recruitment firm because you want CV’s, you brought in a recruitment firm because, ultimately, you want a colleague.

That’s why when I train new consultants I impress upon them the importance of aiming for the golden ratio, which I believe to be 3:2:1 – 3 CV’s to every 2 interviews, and 2 interviews for each placement.

Any other recruiters reading this may scoff at the above, thinking there’s no way any client could possibly be satisfied with this low number. ‘What have you been doing, if not pulling CV’s to send your client?’ they may ask.

The answer is simple: while they’ve been trawling Linkedin for yet another name to add to the list, we at Saragossa have been taking a far more personal and in-depth approach, spending time with each and every one of our potential candidates to find out more about them. We get to know them not just as candidates, but as people – and people with whom our clients are potentially going to have to spend a great deal of their time. Of course we look at their experience and relevant skills. But we also try and find out the information you just can’t get from a CV – what kind of worker they are, how well their values align with those of our client, and most crucially, whether we can envision them going above and beyond and adding substantial, lasting value to the business.

Only when we are positive that a candidate satisfies all of these more intangible requirements as well as having a strong CV do we bother to pass their details onto our client, with the utmost confidence that we’ll be hearing back from them to invite at least one to interview.

The fact is that a CV only tells half the story, and by taking the time to get to know candidates properly, recruiters can avoid wasting their clients’ time with less-than-perfect candidates. The end result is a stronger candidate pool, a more efficient recruitment process, and ultimately, a more satisfied client.

Saragossa are a talent provider specialising in the Financial Technology, Financial Operations and Data Science sectors. Our role is to match clients with high calibre candidates. Our work encompasses filling temporary contracts along with building permanent teams and resourcing projects. To find out more, please contact or call 020 7871 3666.

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