How to Choose a Recruitment Agency - A Guide for Employers

My little video is intended as a quick introduction to this blog.

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I reiterate recruitment done well is not easy. It's a constantly changing and evolving animal and it's in part why I am such an active member of my industry, a member of recruitment networks and why I am constantly retraining.

So, the first thing to appreciate is that your recruitment should not be farmed out without some due consideration and research if you want to get good results.

DO

  • Understand what your recruitment needs and challenges are before you start. If you're becoming increasingly aware of the need for more diversity and inclusion in your organisation, putting together a relevant attraction and retention strategy or you simply need high volumes of unskilled people to complete a short term need, understand it, own it and be willing to share it.

  • Seek out a recruitment partner that meets those needs by asking for referrals from your network or research. The latter could simply be finding someone who recruits in your space on a job board, an initial read through their website and consultant LinkedIn profiles and then making a call to gain a better understanding.

  • Ask the right questions of anyone you're choosing to work with. What will working with them look like? What are their processes and procedures? Do their ethics align with yours? Will you be proud of the experience they give to job applicants - because this reflects on you? Can they talk to you about the current market and offer feedback and advice?

  • Appreciate not every recruiter will be skilled in every space. The skills are transferable but, for example, I don't take on IT jobs or warehousing. But I'll recommend someone who can. So a recruitment consultant who is right for one vacancy might not be appropriate for another. I know people who will cover a whole range of sectors, very competently, but ask the question rather than assume.

  • Choose someone who shows a genuine interest in you, your business, your hiring challenges. A good job can only be done if the recruiter has a broader understanding than the job description and your website address alone. Now, more than ever, job applicants are discerning and want to know what's beyond the surface.

  • Be entirely honest with any agency you're considering using. If you're not, but go on to work with them and they cannot deliver, then they are not entirely to blame (if at all).

  • Prepare yourself for some home truths. The best recruiters will challenge if they think you are being unrealistic. If you know you're paying well below market rate and have other possible stumbling blocks like poor working conditions, an inflexible attitude to modern working etc and the recruiter you 'hire' doesn't call you out on these you're wasting your time. They won't be able to deliver and will only reinforce any negative ideas you might have about that person/industry/the market place etc.

DON'T

  • Be cheap. Cutting someone's fee to the bone will create a bad feeling at the start and likely ensure you are not a priority. Make sure you understand what the VALUE is, not the cost. You are not just paying for time, but also skill, experience, knowledge, network and risk. If you're opening statement is "Just to let you know, all my other agencies are working for 10%" then the rest of the conversation is a waste of time because the recruiter is likely already thinking how they can get you off the phone as quickly as possible. They're thinking 'if that agency can meet your needs for 10%, why are you calling me? And they'll want to get on with filling jobs for 20% with businesses that value what they do and are willing to pay for it.

  • Send an agency on a wild goose chase. Giving your vacancy to multiple agencies might seem like a smart idea but you won't be paying every recruiter so they'll not prioritise you. A recruiter who knows they will be treated fairly and be valued will almost certainly provide a good service and deliver results. Plus you'll have fewer fall-outs over who sent which CV first. Nor will there be the need to catch up with multiple people in any day or week, which just creates more work and frustration for you.

  • Make assumptions. Not every agency works in the same way, has the same values or even has the depth of industry and market knowledge that you need. How much you need will depend, so make sure you're taking this into consideration.

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