Here are a few of the questions to ask recruiters before working with them. If after you've read through our FAQ's, you still have unanswered issues about human resource services, no problem, just give us a call and we'll answer all your recruiting questions.
WHEN DO I NEED TO USE A STAFFING FIRM?
That depends, you may not need one. If you're new to using a specialized agency to source, screen and present optimal candidates for your open jobs, you will most likely want to first attempt to find candidates through your own resources. This is the typical process. However, once a company realizes the resources required to effectively source on their own, they often come to the conclusion that the cost of partnering with an agency is actually less expensive and significantly reduces the overall time-to-hire. The recruiting industry drives more than $150Billion dollars per year in revenue in North America alone. It works! But only when you have the right recruitment partner.
HOW DO I SELECT THE RIGHT STAFFING FIRM FOR OUR BUSINESS & QUESTIONS TO ASK RECRUITERS
This is not an easy task as there are literally thousands of agencies who claim to be "the best". Keep these recruiting questions in mind and look for these four things when selecting a staffing partner.
One. What reputation does the firm have and are they well reviewed by first their customers, but also by their internal employees.
Marketing dollars can never provide the same credibility as testimonials from trusted industry leaders who you know and respect. Make sure the testimonials are legitimate, even ask the potential staffing partner to provide you references and to speak directly to the testimonial providers about their experience with your prospects quality of human resource services.
Two. Are they specialized in your business, do the recruiters in the firm come from your industry? If the team dedicated to your business has worked in your business previously, they'll better understand the challenges you face and intuitively now how to screen for top performers with the right character traits for your business. Typically agencies who "do it all" never excel in any one field.
Three. What's the agency's track record? Do they consistently set a high-performance standard and how many successful placements has the agency made for the specific positions you are hiring for? Don't take the recruitment firm's word for it. Ask for a reference and call a few of their clients from your industry. Also ask to speak to candidates they've placed. The best agencies have sterling reputations on both sides. Be weary of the firms who don't get back to their candidates or worse treat their candidates like commodities.
Four. How long do candidates remain gainfully employed within their agency's customers and how do these candidates perform when employed there? This is the true indicator of staffing partner success. Turning around candidates quickly for you and getting them in positions quickly can actually be dangerous for a business. Nothing costs a business more than a bad hire. Now, how do you get this important information? You have to ask for it. Ask to speak to a client where the company had to replacement, because their first candidate didn't work out. This question alone will show you their true colors.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
For permanent placements prices can range between 15% to 30% of the annual base salary. You pay for what you get. The more specialized the agency and the more challenging a search, the higher the price. Never work with an agency that charges you less than 15%. For a price lower than 15% of base salary, you can expect more work and headaches of an eventual bad hire due to poor screening and limited resources. It is a risk that we would highly discourage.
WHAT'S THE VALUE OF SPECIALIZATION?
Agencies who focus in one sector build their relationships and data bases in a specific field with a unique demographic of candidates for the market they serve. This provides customers faster access to what are called "passive" candidates. This group of performers are generally gainfully employed, happy in their positions and excelling. These are also the candidates who will continue to exceed expectations in their work place. Specialized firms have relationships with these passive candidates, where they know what the high performing professionals are looking for in their next opportunity and they have a direct line to these performers when a career opportunity arises.
CAN'T I JUST POST A JOB AND GET CANDIDATES FOR A FEW HUNDRED DOLLARS?
You could, but these candidates are all "Active" candidates and a large percentage of them will have irrelevant experience, are unqualified for your position or are actively seeking employment because they have failed to perform in their existing role. These candidates will be harder to screen due to the sheer volume applicants, but also will be harder to validate during the interview process because you will have no insight into authenticating their track record until the end of the hiring cycle when a background check is performed. Often, agencies will have long standing relationships with passive candidates and they will have seen proven and consistent success with the candidates that are presented to you.
IF I USE A RECRUITMENT AGENCY, HOW LONG SHOULD THE PROCESS TAKE?
This timeline varies tremendously depending on whether you are looking for temporary contractors or conducting an executive search. The range is between 48 hours and 3 months. For contractors, the requirements are typically based on if the person can execute the required job duties and less time is spent screening for cultural fit for optimal team dynamics. When looking for a leader within an organization, the process is very different and a significant amount of time should be spent in "discovery" and your selected firm should spend a good amount time pre-interviewing stakeholders within the organization to validate ideal experience, previous successes that lend to cultural fit and leadership style of the ideal candidate that suits the company's requirements.
DOES THE AGENCY DO THE BACKGROUND CHECK AND REFERENCES OR DO I HAVE TO DO THAT?
This depends on the service agreement you have with the agency partner. Many agencies will do reference checking for on behalf of their clients. However, the smart clients do it themselves, particularly for contingency recruitment (when the recruiter only gets paid when they make the placement). Think of if this way. If you look at how the recruitment agency is incentivized, they only are compensated if you hire their candidate. Wouldn't there be a significant biased to ensure the reference come through as excellent? It's always better to do references on your own unless your agency partner has technology or a third party they use to complete them at arms length.
Background checks such as validating academic achievement, records of employment or lawfulness are always done by third parties. Even if a recruitment agency claims to do these on your behalf, they are still outsourcing this part of the process to background checker. This is a great service if the agency takes this on for you as long as the provider they have selected is reputable.
HOW DO YOU SCREEN YOUR CANDIDATES BEFORE YOU SEND THEM TO ME?
Agencies have a standard process that they use to filter candidates for their clients. Typically, the process will begin with their data base that has thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of candidates who the agency has a history with. Good recruiters are the busiest recruiters, so look at what jobs the agency currently have posted to see if they align with your search. The agency may even have candidates who were recently engaged in similar searches that could easily be introduced to you. Recruitment firms, often are referred to as "headhunters". This is not the nicest of names, but those agencies who have this skill down pat are often the best to partner with. It means that once they have learnt what you require, they will actively go out and find the candidate by cold calling and introducing your opportunity to candidates who are not in their database, but from first glance of a resume or social profile look like a perfect match. The agency will then interview the candidate and first see if he or she would be willing to entertain a career opportunity and if so, they will proceed to screen and validate the candidate's background to see if it's a fit.
WHAT IF A CANDIDATE PRESENT BY A FIRM DOESN'T WORK OUT?
Recruitment agencies that are strong will stand behind their work and "guarantee" their placements. Typically the industry standard will provide organizations a three month guarantee. If there's ever room for negotiation, this is the best place to do it. When a recruiting firm will not extend their guarantee to six month, you may want to question why not?
AND THE LAST HINT...
If you can, ask to work with the busiest recruiter in the staffing firm as your designated recruiter for your business. He or she will have the most contacts, the highest number of passive candidates to select from and will often move faster and more efficiently than other recruiters within the practice. As the old saying goes 'if you want something done, give it to a busy person".
GOOD LUCK IN FINDING YOUR STAFFING PARTNER :)