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How to Effectively Select a Recruitment Agency

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by Mark Smith

over 3 years ago

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Honestly, I know the selection of a recruitment agency is not something an employer wants to do too often. You don’t hear a line manager or human resources professional ‘squeal with glee’ that they are going to engage an external recruiter! Given the truth of this occurrence, I thought I would write a few words on how exactly internal recruiters, line managers, human resources professionals or business owners can make the experience of selecting an external recruiter mutually productive and beneficial. If your organisation has a preferred supplier list, this is a good place to start. You will be entitled to a discounted fee structure from the recruitment suppliers on the approved list. In many instances, there is more than one provider on the list who can service your requirement. 


My advice in choosing your supplier is to consider who has contacted you previously. Have they represented suitable, possible new staff to you, on a speculative basis? Those recruiters who reach out to you are keen to do business with you! Other providers on your preferred supplier list may become complacent about the business they expect from you and the level of service may reflect a discounted service. If a recruiter has speculatively called and represented candidates, ask yourself whether these applicants are of a suitable quality for your business. If these suppliers have these candidates in their network, then it’s likely they will be able to source a similar quality of applicant for your vacancy. 

If you are a line manager and your company has a policy of not allowing you to engage with recruiters, to keep you abreast of the market, it’s always prudent to research possible recruiters online. I would  emphasise those recruiters who have a strong social media presence in your industry segment. Remember, a recruiter networking in the 21st century recruitment market for talent without a social media presence would be considered a ‘dinosaur’! 

For the internal recruiter or human resources professional who fields calls from recruiters regularly, I would again emphasise the points made above and also recommend a consideration of the ‘persistent’ recruiter. Are they getting in touch in the time frame you suggested? i.e. If you ask them to call in a couple of months and they follow up with you then, you may consider giving your business to someone who listens!


If you don’t have a preferred supplier list or rarely engage a recruiter, I would definitely consider and take notice of the recruiter who has been attempting to win your business and make use of their networks, in combination with their demonstrated ability to source candidates speculatively. Your relationships with recruiters will be with specific individuals, rather than a company. You can then consider the amount of experience of the individual consultant and also take note of the other recruiters in the team. 

When you engage an external recruitment provider, you are connecting to the network of all the consultants in the discipline, not just the consultant you have called. Finally, I would always do business with someone you like. People do business with people and a personal connection can make all the difference. You could say it's people2people!

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