What You Need to Know About Working With A Recruitment Agency

If you are engaging a recruitment agency to assist with a search assignment we recommend that you communicate your expectations early. The following tips will ensure that you are in control the next time you engage the services of a recruitment agency.

  1. Ensure that the recruitment agency understands your requirements - This means that the recruitment agency consultant should understand not just the job description, but also the unwritten requirements that you or the hiring manager may have. An example is when a job description requires 5 years’ experience in X, but you or the hiring manager are looking for 10 years experience since you have a large number of graduate trainees and need someone who can mentor them and also get the job done. The culture and working environment should also be taken into consideration.

  2. Separate the required from the preferred—this is a step often missed. What is a must have and what is preferred? The agency should strive to find someone with the preferred requirements but if not available, you have already communicated that they can refer candidates that meet the required criteria only. This ensures that the search progresses faster and increases the odds that your position will be filled faster.

  3. Share the salary and benefits you are able to offer - You need to trust your recruitment agency and work in partnership, otherwise you should look for an agency that you can trust. By sharing the package, you will ensure that you don’t get candidates that are above your salary budget and avoid wasting time and delays during the search. Remember that potential candidates will often ask about salary and benefits, and if these are not provided, they may decline to be considered further. So let the consultant know what they can and can’t share with potential candidates.

  4. Share the reasons why the position has not been filled if it has been open for some time - This will ensure that the agent does not send you the same type of applicants you have rejected and provides more insight into what is required.

  5. Engage an agent only when you have a vacancy - You want to build trust on both sides. The recruitment agency will invest resources and time to find your candidates so they should be engaged only for vacant positions you intend to fill. Let them know if you are working with other agents. If you wish to give exclusivity, do so for a period of time and then re-evaluate.

  6. Establish the working parameters and expectations - Discuss how often you want to be updated on the status of the search, which human capital markets you want them to cover and those not to consider, and agree on the timeline of the search.

  7. Provide timely feedback on candidates submitted by the recruitment agency-If positive, let them know you want to interview to ensure that you don’t lose good candidates since many of them interview with multiple employers and may get more than one employment offer. If the candidates don't match your requirements, let them know why to make necessary adjustments early in the search.

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