Candidates: How do you choose a recruitment partner?

We are four weeks into our journey and Ita and I have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback we’ve had on our brand, website and we believe most importantly, on us working together as a team. It’s made us think about how having a good reputation is vital for kick starting a new business on the road to success.  

This also made us reflect on how sometimes recruiters are perceived to have poor reputations because of the way a small minority operate. Over the years, we have met lots of candidates and clients who are new to using recruitment agencies and therefore have needed our guidance on what to expect.  We have also met those who have previously had less than positive experiences with agencies and assume that this is standard practice.  Although that’s never good to hear, it is rewarding when we can restore people’s faith in professional recruiters like us, who truly care about the people they work with.

So, we thought it might be useful to describe how you as a candidate can identify the right recruiter for you and also how to spot those who may not have your interests at the top of their agenda.

Questions to ask yourself when choosing a recruitment agency

How do you know if a recruitment company is reputable and credible, and how do you decide if they’re worth investing in? What is it that gives some recruitment firms a bad name? These are some of the questions we’ve been contemplating this week.

Over our years working in recruitment, we’ve met many candidates and clients who are new to using recruitment agencies and unsure what to expect. Some have had less than positive experiences in the past and assume that this is a reflection of, and typical practice in, the recruitment industry.  Although their stories aren’t easy to hear, it’s rewarding to be able to guide and reassure people that professional recruiters, who truly care about the people they work with, do exist.

We’ve guided many candidates and clients on what to look for in a recruiter. Here are our 5 key questions to ask yourself when deciding whether a recruiter is the right one for you.

1. Is this recruiter asking me enough questions?

Credible recruiters will of course need to explain a bit about their firm, outline their processes and give you an overview of opportunities that you may be interested in. However, they should also be asking you some meaningful open questions to find out about you, your career and your aspirations. When you first speak or meet with a consultant, you should definitely be the one doing more of the talking.

2. Is this recruiter asking me too many questions?

A recruiter should be keen to find out more about you, but you should be wary if they inundate you with questions. Understandably, they will need to know some details about your current situation, for example, what your team environment is like and what your reporting structure is – but be wary if they appear to be grilling you on the internal processes of your current employer. A good recruiter’s focus should be to find you a new job, not to discover if your current employer may be looking for their services themselves!

3. Is this recruiter informed?

A skilled recruiter will know why a company is recruiting, the culture of the organisation and the structure of the current team. They will readily provide a job description and person specification. If the information the recruiter shares is a little thin on the ground, be cautious – it can be a sign that they are not actually representing the client. Although this may be hard to believe, but this can sometimes be the case.  

4. Is this recruiter giving me the right attention and care?

Respectable and effective recruiters care; whilst time doesn’t allow for immediate responses, on the most part they should call you back when they say they will, respond to emails and follow up with feedback.  You should never have to persistently chase a reputable recruitment consultant.  

5. Is this recruiter acting with integrity?

In your interactions, a professional recruiter should show that they have listened to and understood your recruitment goals, and that they have your best interests at heart. Do they show respect for confidentiality? Do they respect your requests for sharing of information?

Reputable, professional recruiters value their candidates and want to nurture their relationship. Recruiting is not a transaction; it’s a long term partnership.

If you’ve found these questions helpful please share your experiences in the comments below.

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Look out for our next update aimed at employers and what to expect from your recruitment partner.

To find out how we can work with you, please drop us a line