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What to look for in a recruitment agency

  • June 19, 2018

As a business, one of the main challenges you’re likely to face is finding the employees that can help you grow. And to do that effectively you need to work with a recruitment consultancy. But with so many firms in the market, each offering to ‘revolutionise your people strategy’ or ‘find the talent that can make a difference’, what should you be actually be looking for when selecting a hiring partner?

  • A sector expert. You don’t want to waste your time outlining the hiring issues in your specific sector or what skills your ideal employee would have, you want an organisation that already knows what a good employee looks like and where to find them. A good way to gauge the level of expertise of a recruiter is to check their blog or social media channels. If they’ve been regularly commenting on the hot issues within the sector, then it’s likely they know what they’re talking about. Alternatively you could just pick up the phone and ask a few questions to the firm’s employees which should also allow you to ascertain their knowledge levels. 
  • A trusted advisor. There are far too many organisations that will simply nod their heads and say what they think you want to hear in order to secure payment. But the better firms will operate as a partner rather than just a supplier and won’t just say yes to everything. They’re also likely to take a real interest in finding out more about the culture of your firm and what makes it tick in order to find the best possible fit. 
  • A deep and detailed hiring process. Before committing to an agency, find out what its hiring process is, what they test, how they test for it and generally how stringent they are when reviewing potential hires. The best organisations will do everything they can to assess not just an individual’s ability to carry out their role, but also crucially how likely they are to stay with the job, rather than leaving after a short period of time and forcing you to restart the entire process all over again. 
  • A good reputation. This one may seem obvious but there is no excuse for not carrying out full and careful research on any organisation that you’re potentially going to work with. Have previous clients left glowing reports praising the agency? If not, why not? The best firms are likely to have at least some testimonials or sound bites reporting the positive feedback they’ve received from successful projects and if you can’t find any, you should begin to ask questions. 
  • Accredited. It may not have immediately leapt to the forefront of your mind but choosing an agency that’s a member of a trade body can make a huge difference. For one thing you’ll have a point of contact that you can complain to should the relationship turn sour, or if the firm acts in an unethical or unprofessional way. It’s essentially a guarantee that the firm will do things in the right way. Similarly, find out whether the business believes in professional qualifications and developing the skill sets of its own staff. Qualified consultants will possess expert knowledge on the legal, ethical and professional issues in your specific sector and will therefore be in a much better position to work with you.

What factors do you think firms should identify in a recruitment partner? Let us know your thoughts below.

Read our tips to getting the best from your recruitment provider or call the office on 01772 259121 to speak to one of our experts. To Register a Vacancy online, click here.

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