As top talent is at a premium, and every organisation is looking for the best staff, more companies should now be recognising the need to develop their own recruitment capabilities.

When they need to call on external expertise for more difficult assignments it is wise to put some guidelines in place to ensure it is a successful partnership.

Companies need to first establish what they want, and then spend time mapping out the role and the person specification.

Companies also need to ensure that they are clear on the skill set, the knowledge they require and what they are willing to pay prior to commencing the recruitment process.

By investing this time, they can more accurately direct the recruiter's efforts, create a more favourable image to candidates and bring about a better measured assessment procedure.

The company also needs to be prepared by developing a process for interviewing, and ensuring that all potential interviewers understand the company's aims. It is also important to make sure they present the role and the company in a polished and professional manner

Time frames and communication channels need to be agreed so as to prevent any hiring process from dragging on. Therefore a clear time frame is needed. If candidates are told when they should expect a decision on their applications, companies should keep to this.

Most importantly, organisations have to communicate with their recruiter and keep them appraised so they can manage the expectations of demanding candidates.

Organisations should always outline the culture and work ethos honestly, as skeletons have an uncanny knack of jumping out of the closet.

And although money is a good motivator it should not be the only tool used to attract a candidate. Equal emphasis should be given to developmental issues, working environment, employer flexibility and promotion prospects. Recognising that the average length of service today is 18 months, these factors can contribute greatly to the retention of quality talent.

One of the results of a booming economy is a tight labour market. Companies need to invest time and effort in preparing a cohesive recruitment strategy. By following these straightforward guidelines companies can really make a difference – and may just get the edge over competitors when trying to fill a particularly difficult role.

Therefore, as all guides and scouts will know, the key to successful recruitment is simply be prepared.