Employers: How do you choose a recruitment partner?

In our last blog entry we covered what candidates should expect from a recruitment firm, but what should you, as a hiring manager, look for when choosing your recruitment partner? In our competitive jobs market, many employers believe that their team is their company’s greatest asset, so it makes sense to invest in a good recruiter to help you find the right candidates. Deciding who to work with can be a daunting task. How can you be sure that a recruitment firm is committed to delivering the excellent service required to find the right person or people for your company?

Since we set up Sitka, we have spoken to many employers who have experienced frustration when working with recruitment agencies, with the same complaints coming up over and over: ‘They don’t understand our business’, ‘They don’t seem to grasp what the role entails,’ and ‘We have been let down by the calibre of candidate provided’. So that you can avoid experiences such as this, we’ve outlined our guidelines on what to consider when choosing a recruitment partner and/or placing a vacancy with them.

1. Has the recruiter met with you at your office?

It is a vital part of the recruitment process that the recruiter meets with you, the hiring manager, at your place of work. This will enable them to get a genuine feel for your culture, staff and environment, and understand exactly which personalities and skill sets they must look for to complement your current team. This is a key part of the recruitment process; without it you run the risk of wasting time interviewing unsuitable candidates and potentially missing good talent opportunities in the process.

2. Has the recruiter asked for exclusivity?

Experienced recruiters will most likely ask to work with you on an exclusive basis. This will enable them to carry out a more thorough candidate search without the pressure of feeling rushed into delivering a less than outstanding shortlist. It can pay to work solely with one firm; you avoid having to deal with numerous consultants, you’re much more likely to get a high quality shortlist, and it makes the process much simpler for you. However, if you’re not comfortable committing to one firm upfront, you could always request a two-four week trial run in the first instance. It is also advisable to discuss the fee up-front and receive terms of business before making any decisions.

3. Does the recruiter have good market insight?

A good recruiter should demonstrate sound market knowledge, providing honest guidance on your hiring strategy and salary expectations. They will have an in-depth understanding of the talent pool in your sector and be able to ascertain who your likely competitors are. In order to ensure the role is pitched correctly, expect a good recruiter to ask you in-depth questions about the role, the business, the team, your working environment and so on; in short, they should leave no stone unturned.

For retained assignments, the recruiter should pull together a comprehensive candidate brief which should include a company description, the purpose of the role, responsibilities, skills required, and the package on offer. When seeking candidates, a proficient recruitment consultant will not rely solely on their database; they will go to market and carry out an extensive search to find the best people for your organisation, taking time to get to know the shortlisted candidates and working to attract ‘passive’ candidates as well as active ones.

4. How well does the recruiter know the candidates?

Recruiters should know their candidates well and ideally have met them in person.  They should be able to talk about their experience, skills and technical capabilities, and let you know how they come across at interview. If they haven’t met them, they should at least have had an in-depth conversation over the telephone or Skype.

5. Do they keep you updated on progress?

Your recruitment partner will be committed to finding you the right candidates and should keep you informed regularly on their search; we recommend weekly updates at the very least. You should not have to chase your recruiter on progress. A good recruiter will also keep in touch throughout the placement in order to ensure both you and the candidate are satisfied and to ensure good continuity of the partnership.

Spending time choosing the right partner at the outset of your recruitment process will ensure your hiring strategy is as honed as possible, help you recruit and retain the right candidates, and enable you to remain competitive.

Sitka is an independent recruitment agency with integrity at its core. We recruit managers, directors and experienced specialists within HR, finance, business development and marketing. If you’d like to discuss your recruitment needs, please get in touch with us.

If you’ve found these questions helpful please share your experiences in the comments below, we would welcome your thoughts.

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Look out for our next update which will address the challenges interviews can bring.

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