Many of us rely on recruitment agencies. Whether you’re a business trying to fill an open position, or you’re looking for your dream job – agencies can play a critical role in helping businesses and careers grow.
But with hundreds to choose between, how do you know which agencies are the best?
Really good agencies all have certain things in common. And they should benefit both clients and candidates. It’s important to do your homework first to find one that ticks these things off. Otherwise, you risk them not delivering on what they say they will, leaving you with poor hire choices, resources, and energy.
They have a good track record.
The maxim of ‘the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour’ is usually true. If an agency has a history of treating clients and candidates poorly, then why will it be different with you.
For potential clients, ask to see any references or testimonials from existing customers. How many clients do they currently have and what is the average tenure of these relationships? It’s always a good sign if they have long-standing relationships with a broad range of customers.
You can also check reviews on Google, as well as asking industry peers and colleagues to see if they’ve dealt with them before.
They are transparent.
The best recruitment agencies will tell you how it is. As an employer, you need honest information on the current job market and salary ranges candidates command. Otherwise, it’s likely your expectations won’t be met.
Candidates also appreciate honesty from their recruiter. If a recruiter hasn’t heard back from their client, or if their client has decided to fill the role themselves – let the candidate know. It’s not a good look to leave people in the dark, or worse still – being ghosted by a recruiter.
The best recruiters don’t do this. They’re transparent and honest in their dealings with employers and candidates alike.
They act like client relationships are a partnership rather than just a transaction.
If you get the impression your recruiter’s main concern is their commission, then it’s time to look elsewhere. The relationship between recruitment agency and client needs to be a partnership.
There should be a genuine care by the agency that the candidates they put forward are right for the role and company. They take the time to truly understand what you’re after, send candidates that match this – not just those who are ‘close enough’, and follow up after they’ve successfully placed someone to see how it’s going.
They really understand the industry or specialisation.
It’s impossible to be experts at everything. The same is true in recruitment. If you’re after specialist skills or work within a certain industry, then it’s important to engage a recruiter who specialises in the same area too.
And it’s more than just knowing the lingo. They must be able to offer insights, access large databases of potential candidates, as well as have industry connections. A recruiter with specialised knowledge will have the ability to see past a poor CV to recognise a great candidate. They’ll also see past the smoke and mirrors if a candidate isn’t entirely truthful.
They have solid processes that deliver results and save you time.
The recruitment process is time consuming. And it can consume a lot of resources having to do this internally. From creating the ad, sifting through all the responses, through to phone screening and reference checks – it takes dedication and skill to secure the right person.
A recruitment agency should take on the heavy lifting of this process. To do this, they need a proven, thorough, and consistent approach that delivers to their clients, time and time again.
You should always ask your prospective agency how they manage each stage of this process – how do they evaluate each applicant, what questions do they ask in screening calls, do they conduct the first interview face-to-face, and so on.
The best recruitment agencies should make life easier for you. They should save you time and money as you’re much more likely to hire the right people, the first time. If they don't, then you’re using the wrong one.