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The benefits of exclusivity

Over the last 18 months we have moved from a client led market to that of a candidate led market. In short, there are more job opportunities and organisations recruiting than there are strong, good quality candidates actively looking for a move. This has created a simple supply and demand issue, whereby the demand for these short in supply candidates has meant their salary, package and role expectations, are increasing rapidly. Clients are therefore having to become more and more competitive in order to attract the best quality in the market, as their selection pool has dramatically reduced.

The impact

This is creating a market whereby job control is becoming increasingly difficult for consultants, as the best candidates are left with a number of opportunities from which they can interview for, and ultimately choose from. This is creating a number of challenges, predominantly for the client. The most common hurdles a client comes across include counter offer/buy back from current employers, candidates choosing another role they have also been offered at the same time, and candidates withdrawing from interviews at short notice as their ‘wish list’ becomes increasingly selective. 
To overcome the above problems, clients will benefit greatly from working with a sole agency. If a client works with one agency exclusively on a role, they will then be left in a position whereby they are receiving shortlists with the most relevant, high calibre candidates, rather than engaging in a ‘CV race’ as agencies rapidly cover off the whole market. 
Candidates may feel, as they are now in the driving seat, that it is best for them to register their details with as many agencies as possible, in order to get the highest volume of roles run by them, ultimately to result in as many interviews and offers to give them the biggest gain. 
However, this has found to be detrimental to their job search. We have often found agencies to be selling against competitor roles, pushing candidates into the first role they have interviewed for, and sending CVs before speaking to the candidate to secure their interest. This then unfortunately dilutes the candidates skill set across the market, as they have been seen by so many organisations, sometimes on a number of occasions. The candidate is no longer seen as a commodity. 
Agencies look to gain exclusivity by having the best portfolio of opportunities available to candidates in order for them not to feel it necessary to register elsewhere. At Michael Page, we offer to take the candidates’ details out to market proactively, to generate opportunities around the candidates details, whether this be based on desired industry, location, size of organisation to name a few.
This can be difficult to achieve due to the volume of roles available, and inevitable the number of calls a candidate will receive on a sometimes daily basis mean it is very difficult for them to distinguish a credible agency with a number of relevant roles from those with perhaps just one suitable position. 
Clients may feel that working with one agency may not give them the full coverage of the best candidates on the market. However, we can overcome this through having a shortlist of exclusive candidates as discussed above, alongside those registered with a number of agencies. If a client has felt they have received the desired calibre and volume of CVs, they should not feel the need to go out further. 


This is a really positive time to be part of a busy recruitment market which frequently creates a number of challenges, including candidate buy backs/counter offers, numerous shortlists, and longer processes. The ways to eliminate as many of these risks as possible, if gaining exclusivity with both candidates and clients to give agencies the opportunities to provide a consultative service, is to provide the best quality candidates and create a smooth process for both parties. 
If you are a candidate or client and would like to discuss this further, please contact: 
Victoria Starr
Tel: +44 113 243 7766