9 Secrets To Choosing The Right Recruitment Partner

So you’ve decided to bring an external recruitment firm into your business. Someone with an understanding of your industry and experience securing top-level talent for key roles. But where do you start? The hardest part after making the decision can be navigating through the myriad of options available and finding the right recruiter to meet your needs.

While there is no foolproof method, there are key indicators that typically lead to a great outcome. Secrets to success if you will. Here are nine key questions we recommend asking when you assess a future recruitment partner. Ticking each of these boxes and feeling comfortable with the answers is as close to guaranteeing a great fit between client and recruiter as you can get.

1. Does the firm have a strong track record?

A history of proven performance and a list of satisfied clients is a great first checkpoint. Reach out to several of the clients or candidates to get real world feedback and verify the client experience aligns with what you are seeking. Also, look over the testimonials on their website and LinkedIn profile. Is the feedback consistent, positive and detailed? Here you are looking for themes in the type of experience and results they deliver.

2. What is the breadth and depth of their experience?

Look beyond the company itself and dig into the experience of the recruiter you will be dealing with directly. A firm with 10 years’ experience is great, but you will gain little value if your account is being handled by the office junior with less than a year under their belt. You want someone who has a deep understanding of the market, existing relationships and an established referral network to draw in the best candidates. Plus invaluable knowledge on competitors, salary benchmarking and industry trends.

3. Understand their selection process?

When done correctly, a rigorous selection process is time-consuming but delivers outstanding results. You want to see evidence of detailed work in each step of the process including sourcing, interviewing, reference, personality and background checks, along with the option for psychometric testing. Ask the recruiter how thorough their selection process is and their success rate with these types of roles you are looking to fill. A reluctance or inability to detail their process or provide real-life examples is a good indicator of a red flag.

4. Do you feel a connection?

It’s imperative you feel comfortable working with your chosen recruitment firm. The best relationships become long term partnerships built on trust and collaboration. They support your senior leaders and complement your in-house HR team by making their job easier to find excellent candidates. You need to gel together. If you don’t feel the potential for that type of relationship to develop, you may not be the right fit together.

5. Do you trust them?

Finding a recruitment partner who will take the time to invest in the relationship, and get to know your business and your people is important as they will have access to confidential information. You need to feel a level of trust from the outset. Don’t ignore your gut feeling here!

6. Are they flexible?

No two job briefs are the same, and no two candidates are the same. Some recruiters only focus on specific types of roles, while others prefer a volume-based versus a targeted approach. Get clear on what you need. Be sure your recruitment partner has the flexibility to adapt their processes and level of support to suit your needs – whether it’s a permanent, part-time or contractor role you are looking to fill.

7. What technology and tools do they utilise?

Searching for a chartered accountant in Brisbane for example is a lot harder than you might think! A good recruiter will have extensive search capabilities to look for candidates, cope with a large volume of applications and manage the entire process from sourcing to the final interview. It is not unusual to receive over 200 applications for an engineering role within a week of it being advertised. It is crucial your recruitment partner has the technology and methods in place to efficiently manage this process.

8. Do they offer additional services?

The types of services on offer vary from one recruitment firm to another. So get clear on the scope, type and range of services provided and how these match your business needs. Strategic recruiters will gain an in-depth understanding of your business and become an extension of your leadership or HR team which in turn, helps them successfully recruit suitable candidates who are a good ‘fit’ culturally. Strategic recruiters also take a long-term view, meaning they are generally happy to carry out research for clients who want to understand the market. This can be particularly helpful when salary benchmarking for a specialist role.

9. What guarantee period do they offer?

While some recruiters focus on long-term relationships, others are only interested in the placement fee. The latter tend to present the same candidates to several different clients in the hope that one says ‘yes’. This means you don’t enjoy the benefits of a tailored recruitment process. At Onten we offer a six month guarantee on all of our placements. We do this because we are confident the rigorous process we undertake for each and every client will deliver a great outcome. Look closely at the guarantee period of the recruitment firms you are assessing. Most recruiters only offer a three month guarantee due to the cost involved if a candidate doesn’t work out.


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