As employers and recruiters, we need all the help we can get. However, deciding to work with a recruitment agency is tough for one reason: there are so many to choose from. There are, of course, diamonds in the rough; recruitment agencies that work outside the ‘quick-fix’ approach to hiring, with consultants who are genuinely passionate and knowledgeable about the job market. Sadly, though, they can prove hard to find.
When it comes to something as crucial, personal and meticulous as recruitment, there are certain traits that companies should look for: service, cost, trust, philosophy, professionalism, judgement and knowledge. Partnering with a recruitment agency should be mutually cost effective and time efficient, making the recruitment process as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. Getting it wrong is the exact opposite, with much time, effort, resources and money wasted.
But it’s up to companies to take responsibility too. The recruitment process is a joint responsibility. For instance, as a business owner or HR worker, have you ever declined to meet a recruitment agency? How often have you allocated a single vacancy to numerous recruiters, hoping they’ll race against the clock and provide the ideal employee? Perhaps you’ve gone with the lowest-costing service and then wondered why you get the bare minimum?
Here are some important points to consider when choosing a recruitment agency.
Chain or high street recruiters may mean brand recognition and low cost, but that isn’t always the case. The high street is driven by sales and characterised by an impersonal service. Two key factors are usually lacking in these agencies: knowledge and support. Don’t forget: specialist and independent recruitment agencies are small businesses themselves. This usually means a better understanding of your needs, a healthy relationship, and prioritising your needs over a quick sale.
Stay local. It makes sense to use a recruitment agency that knows the market in your area. That’s unless you use…
…An online recruitment agency. Online recruiters are unique, in that they use technology (namely the web) to source the most relevant and qualified candidates. This can happen on a local, regional, national or even international level.
Always pay a flat fee. The classic recruitment model is dead. Modern recruitment is about helping companies at every level – that includes not draining them on cost-per-hire. By paying a fixed-rate recruitment fee, your money goes further. Make sure the entire recruitment service is included: ad writing, screening, short-listing, etc.
Get references. If a recruitment agency provides a quality service, it will have no problem shouting about it.
Meet in person. It seems foolish to partner with a recruitment agency without meeting the people behind it. By meeting face-to-face, you can properly engage and explain the facets of your company properly: your brand culture, your employer brand and your business objectives.
Consider the long-term. Both you and the recruitment agency should want a longstanding relationship. In doing so, you can rest assured that your company is represented in the best possible light, by someone who has a deep understanding of your needs.
Discuss the agency’s procedures. You want to ensure your recruiter is fair and consistent, and can advise on market trends and conditions. Furthermore, you need to be au fait with any screening and short-listing methods, with a chance to give personalised input.
With so many agencies to choose from, there are varying degrees of quality and cost. The best recruiters will offer dedication, effective employment solutions, and value for money. Start by looking for a flat-rate recruitment service – it’s the best way to recruit for SMEs.