How to Identify the Right Recruitment Agency for Your Staffing Needs

How to Identify the Right Recruitment Agency for Your Staffing Needs

Finding a good recruitment agency for your company is a bit like hiring a new employee. A recruiting firm performs a service for you by finding qualified candidates when you have an open position. That saves your HR department a great deal of work by eliminating the lengthy task of wading through potentially hundreds of applicants, many of whom may not have the qualifications you require. For many companies, outsourcing employee recruitment to an agency brings results that are much more satisfactory than handling their own recruitment. It can also result in significant cost savings, since recruiting even an entry-level employee internally can cost around $3,500.

The best recruitment agencies, however, go a step further than that because their job isn’t just to find qualified candidates and send them your way. A job interview is a bidirectional process. The candidate tries to convince you that he or she is the best person for the open position. At the same time, though, you’re also trying to convince the candidate that the opportunity you’re offering is the best one out of the many that he or she is likely considering. When you use a recruitment firm, that firm becomes the candidate’s first point of contact with your company and must be able to present your organization in the best possible light.

Finding a great recruitment agency will require a bit of research on your part. These tips will help you find the best one for your needs.

Choose a Recruitment Agency with Experience in Your Industry

The most important thing that a recruiting firm can offer is a proven ability to attract, identify and place qualified candidates. A good recruitment agency will have a certain amount of notoriety, so people in search of good positions will know to go to them. The second most important quality of a good recruiting firm is experience in your industry. For example, HeadHunting, Inc. specializes in recruiting candidates for the healthcare and tech industries.

Choosing a firm with expertise in your field helps to ensure that the firm understands the nuances of your industry and can identify prospective candidates with the skills and qualifications you require. Moreover, the fact that the firm understands your industry also means that they’ll be able to communicate effectively about what your company does and why the opportunity you’re offering is an exciting one that the candidate should seriously consider.

A recruitment agency with experience in your industry will also know what people with skills similar to what you’re looking for typically earn and can tell you whether the compensation package you’re offering is competitive. Offering an attractive salary will help to ensure that you’ll get the perfect candidate for the job.

Compare Prospective Recruitment Agencies with Their Competitors

Before you choose any recruitment agency, you should know what the agency’s terms, policies and services are and how those things compare with what competing firms are offering. It can be helpful to find reviews of the firm and to contact other companies that have worked with the firm in the past.

These are a few of the things that you’ll want to know before choosing a recruiting agency.

  • What are the experiences that other companies have had with the agency? Did the agency provide people who met expectations, and are those people still with the companies that hired them?
  • Can the agency provide a record of its success metrics for employee placement, retention and client satisfaction?
  • What is the agency’s commission for filling the open position? You can expect a recruitment agency to charge at least 15 percent of the hired candidate’s first-year salary. The more specialized the position is – if you’re looking for a top-level executive, for instance – the higher the agency’s fee will likely be. If a particular agency charges a significantly lower commission than average, that’s a potential cause for concern because finding and properly vetting job candidates isn’t inexpensive. Is the firm cutting corners?
  • What does the agency do to vet candidates? Does it conduct background checks and drug tests? Does it verify applicants’ references and qualifications? Can you be absolutely certain that a candidate sent your way is everything he or she claims to be?

Understand and Clearly Communicate the Opportunity You’re Offering

Although a recruitment agency does much of the work for you when it comes to hiring a new employee, the recruiting process is still going to require some effort on your part. For an agency to identify the perfect candidate for an open position, you must know exactly what you’re looking for regarding the skills, qualifications and experience of the potential hire. You’ll need to clearly communicate to the recruiting firm what the candidate will be expected to do and what you’re offering as a compensation package. The firm will need to know whether you’re willing to cover onboarding expenses such as relocation costs.

The final thing that you’ll need to communicate to the recruitment agency is what your priorities are regarding the speed with which you need to fill the position. Do you need to find the most qualified individual available as quickly as possible, or are you willing to wait as long as necessary for the agency to unearth the perfect candidate?

This is an area in which a recruitment agency’s commission really comes into play because finding and vetting job candidates is a costly process. It’s probably less than what you would pay if you handled the recruitment process in house because finding job applicants is all that a recruiting firm does. The firm may already have hundreds of potential candidates on file and can cast a wide net to find more people if none of those candidates are right for the position. If you’re extremely picky about who you want to hire for the position, though, it may take the firm longer to find that person. If a particular recruitment agency offers an extremely aggressive commission structure, you need to know that the firm will search as long as is necessary to find the perfect candidate for your open position.

John Norwood
John Norwood is best known as a technology journalist, currently at Ziddu where he focuses on tech startups, companies, and products.