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12 Things to Consider When Searching for a Recruitment Firm

By Colin Gordon

The challenge of finding the perfect employee for a specific role in your company is one that HR Managers and many executives face on a regular basis. The process of finding prospects is difficult enough, not to mention the interviews and the negotiations.

One of the things you can do to make this an easier and more efficient process is to find the right recruitment firm. Recruitment firms vary in their specialties and expertise. Finding the one that is perfect for your specific needs and requirements can make all the difference!

Here are 12 things to consider when searching for a recruitment firm:

1. Don’t Search for a Needle in a Haystack

It’s a big world out there and sometimes it can feel like searching for one person can be a “needle in a haystack” ordeal. That’s why it is very important to find a recruitment firm that provides services only in a specific location. So if you’re in Los Angeles, don’t look for a recruitment firm that provides services in California, that’s too broad. Find one that specializes in finding prospects in LA for faster and better results.

2.  Specific Types of Roles

If you’re looking to hire a marketing expert, find a recruitment firm that specializing in finding marketing personnel. If you need a software engineer, go for a firm that specializes in tech recruitment. By working with a recruitment firm that specializes in finding people with a specific skill-set, you can rest assured that they will know what to look for, saving you loads of time sifting through irrelevant CVs.

3. Familiarity With Your Industry

Similar to the issue mentioned in #2, the industry also plays a very important role. There are recruitment firms that specialize in technology startups, legal firms, etc. even though the roles themselves within the industry may differ. In some industries, it is important for you to find people who not only have the skills and experience in their specific profession (for example: copywriter, digital marketing, cold sales, etc.), but who also have experience using their skills in a specific industry. So you may not just want a marketing expert, but a marketing expert with experience in the bio-tech industry. If that is the case, finding a recruitment firm that specializes in your specific industry can make the search much more effective and result in more relevant prospects that you would not easily find otherwise.

4. Executive vs. Junior

Some recruitment firms specialize in high-level headhunting. If you need to hire someone for an executive position, you may want to consider a recruitment firm that only deals with executive-level prospects.

5. Agree to the Terms of Engagement

Each recruitment firm has different terms and you need to know what works best for you. For example, some will require exclusivity, which means you can only work with them, while others will allow you to work with multiple firms on the same job search. In both cases there are advantages and disadvantages. If you do not agree to exclusivity and work with several firms at once, you have more people working to find your prospects, but one firm that works exclusively will probably work harder knowing they are your only lead.

6. Choose a Type of Payment Agreement

There are two types of payment agreements, or engagement agreements, with recruitment firms:

Retained Fee

In this structure, you pay the firm a predetermined amount up-front for their services. This means that you take the risk of paying for a service that may not necessarily bring results.

There are ups and downs to both types, so you have to decide what works best for you. However, it should be noted that recruitment firms that work in the retained fee structure would be more obligated to put in the work needed to provide successful results.

Contingency Fee

In this structure, you pay only based on success.  Typically, it is a percentage of the new employee’s salary. The risk here is minimal, though there is no guarantee that the firm will prioritize your search over other clients that paid a retained fee so the results may not be as good.

In general, if the role you’re looking to fill is urgent, then you want a firm that will prioritize the search accordingly and a retained fee is the best choice. Otherwise, a contingency fee may work for you.

7. Their Search Methods

Once you’re considering a recruitment firm, it is important to understand how they search for candidates. Do they limit their searches to job boards and other hiring websites? Do they proactively go after people who are already employed, perhaps even by a competitor of yours (something you may not be able to do, but a recruitment firm can)? You want a firm to invest in the search and not just pick up the scraps that happen to appear on online boards or social media.

8. Make Sure They Have a Screening Process

Find a recruitment firm that won’t just pass on a bunch of CVs that have the skill set you need on paper. They should provide some sort of screening process of their own.  This could mean talking to the potential candidate and screening out those who are irrelevant. This will save you loads of screening time and will ensure that only the most relevant CVs reach your desk.

9. Ask for a Guarantee

This applies mostly if you’re paying a retained fee. If that is the case, don’t settle for anything less than a guarantee that the firm will find what you’re looking for or your money back.

10. Look for a High Retention Rate

Recruitment firms should be able to provide you with their retention rate – how many of the candidates they found were hired and how successful was the match for the company. Ask for their employee retention statistics to know that they are efficient in locating and screening candidates.

11. After-Sales Service

Serious firms provide services even after the employee is hired to ensure that the candidate is fitting in and everything goes smoothly. They will usually check in regularly after the candidate is hired to ensure you’re satisfied with the placement.

12. Research Reviews and Recommendations

Once you have one or two recruitment firms in mind, do a little bit of research online to see if there are any reviews or recommendations about the firm. Try to find someone in your network on LinkedIn who hired them and ask how efficient they were, how well they communicated, and if they are a good choice.

The search for a recruitment firm alone can sometimes be as daunting as the search for an employee! To make things easier, we offer a database of recruitment firms in the United States to help you find the perfect firm faster and more efficiently.

Visit Online Recruiters Directory to start your search for a recruitment firm today – it’s completely free.

The Online Recruiters Directory is the place to find executive recruiters,
executive search firms, headhunters, staffing firms and other recruiting services.