How to choose the best recruitment agency for your business

At this point, you’ve probably already recognized the fact that you need external help in filling a job vacancy. Your HR team is busy juggling multiple tasks at the same time, but you need to source candidates for a certain position as soon as possible.

Time is of the essence, especially for businesses! You can’t fully function when you lack a member, after all. No need to panic because that’s where recruitment agencies come in. You have dedicated staff to assist you in your hiring efforts from start to finish. They’ll see to it that they successfully facilitate this important talent acquisition process.

However, choosing the right firm to work with isn’t as easy as it seems. According to Murray Resources, there are over 20,000 staffing and recruiting agencies in the United States -- plus a whole lot more around the globe! With so many choices available, you can’t just blindly pick one without knowing the criteria in making a profitable decision.

That is why in this article, we’re compiling a list of everything you need to know when selecting a recruitment agency so you can meet your company objectives, and, at the same time, save valuable time and resources for the business.

Recap: What is a Recruitment Agency?

Before anything else, let’s align ourselves first with what we mean by a recruitment agency.

In a nutshell, it is a firm that acts as a medium between employers and employees. They are external recruiters that work with various companies and businesses to help them source, screen, and successfully hire candidates fit for the organization and, of course, the position.

They are perfect to get in touch with, especially if your in-house recruiters are occupied and don’t have the time to procure top talents. This is a great idea to do because such firms do their best in searching for the right candidates. After all, they only get the commission once their suggested prospect is onboarded.

This allows you to avoid bad hires and those with low stick rates, which proves truly beneficial in terms of overall ROI.

Why work with a recruitment agency?

To encapsulate the point above, here are 3 main reasons why you should work with a recruitment agency.

1. It ultimately saves time for the company

SHRM conducted a vital report and stated that the average time-to-fill is 42 days. By working with recruitment agencies, you can cut down the days needed to get the talent that your company needs.

Dedicated recruiters will find the right individual for the role as efficiently and effectively as possible through their broad network and resume database. Aside from sourcing, they’ll also handle most of the time consuming aspects of the recruiting process like screening, initial interviewing, etc.

Additionally, you can also reduce cost in some areas like job adverts posting, overtime cost, training cost, and more.

2. It helps you reach top talents

With their undivided attention and better sourcing capacity, they take extra measures to source candidates across multiple platforms and screen them thoroughly.

Be it via phone interviews, assessment tests, and others, they make sure that only the ones that would be acceptable for your company would go through. They will weed out those who are not the right fit and only proceed with qualified people that can adapt to your organization’s goals and objectives.

Plus, to connect it to the previous point, they can use the saved time to ensure quality candidates are screened properly and without rush.

3. It helps recruiting talents in high demand verticals

Oftentimes, people work with recruitment agencies to seek assistance for hard-to-fill positions. It may not be a matter of time restraint, but rather the fierce competition over certain positions.

This goes especially for senior level positions or high demand fields like technology, digital, marketing, hospitality, etc. A lot of companies are fighting over the best of the best, and it takes great skills to do so.

Recruiters of such recruitment agencies are trained to negotiate well and convince candidates to be onboard.  Their accrued experience in the matter helps them get better each time, as well.

5 Tips on Selecting the Right Recruiting Agency

1. Narrow down your search on those that fit your criteria

This is arguably the most most important step of all and would help you on the succeeding parts later on.

First and foremost, what type of recruitment agency do you need? If it’s a temporary or contractual worker, then a staffing agency is the best option. How about top-level executives? Headhunting agencies are best in that area.

If you’re looking for full-time employees, then the traditional recruiting firm is what you should search for. You have to remember that there are niche agencies, too. As opposed to general ones, this recruiter agency has the edge to find highly skilled talents who truly specialize in their fields. Why? Because they understand the talent gaps in the market and help fill positions faster by providing candidates best suited for such specialty roles.

We wrote about the different types of recruitment agencies in detail here. Have a read to gain a better understanding.

2. Clearly explain your hiring needs

The second step in selecting the perfect recruitment agency for your business is to elaborate on what your organization needs. It is best if you are as clear as possible about this so that they have a clear idea of what type of talent that you need.

Plan before contacting them. Do you need to fill only one position? Or are there a lot? What role are you trying to fill? Is it a permanent or temporary job? Is it entry or management level? What kind of prior experience do you want them to have?

These basic questions will help the firms lead you to the right talent accurately and precisely. Also, don’t be afraid to talk about your company, as well. There are lots of points to discuss:

  • Company background
  • Company mission and vision statement
  • Company values
  • Existing corporate culture
  • Description of work environment
  • … and more!

It may seem tedious to expound on such topics, but best believe that they are necessary if you truly want to get the best of the best in the market.

3. Interview the Recruitment Agency

Don’t be shy to interview the recruiting agency like they are the candidate themselves. In the second step, you took the time for them to get to know your company. Now, it’s your turn to probe more about them.

You can ask the following questions:

  • How long has the agency been running?
  • Who are you working for so far?
  • How long does it take you to find the right talent?
  • What is your hiring process?

All of these will give you an immediate impression of whether or not they are capable of meeting your needs. Think about such queries and dig deeper into their background. This will reveal how prepared and professional they are, as well.

4. See how the recruiters work

Asking about the agency is one thing, but knowing how their recruiters work is another.

The fourth step in choosing the best recruitment agency is checking the experience of their staff. There are plenty of ways where you can go about this. 

You can talk to them directly and ask what their methods are. What do they do to pre-screen candidates? Is it in person or is it conducted online or via phone?

You can also ask how they source candidates. Seeking actively on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and others are given. This is effective because you know that there are individuals there looking for employment. However, remember that they only represent a portion of the talent market.

A good recruiter knows that there are more passive candidates in the world (70% as told by LinkedIn!), and these individuals can bring higher ROI than active candidates. They have more experience and they are what you can say “in demand” in a way.

The challenge is that they are not really looking for a new job, but are interested in hearing more about other opportunities elsewhere. If the recruiter is capable, he/she will be able to convince them to move eventually. Be sure to remember this!

You can also check testimonials and feedback on the internet. For sure, there will be reviews by clients stating their thoughts on working with them.

They are movers of the firm. They should be strategic and persuasive enough to convince talent to join your company. 

5. Ensure it’s within budget

This probably is a no-brainer for businesses, but it's still important to highlight. Once you feel that they tick the aforementioned criteria, then check if you can afford their services.

This is a vital step to consider. You’re already well-assured that they are able to provide you with high-quality talents, but it’s just a matter of discussing numbers.

Talk to your hiring team and superiors about this. Will it be worth it? Is it still within budget? How badly do you need to fill the position? This can influence your decision.

Alternatively, you can look at the prices of their services beforehand. Some may argue it’s a waste of time to get to know a recruitment agency and their recruiters, then finding out they are way too expensive.

You can get such information listed on their website or via online reviews. You can also contact them directly and ask this firsthand. Inquire about their services, terms and conditions, and, again, pricing.

Here’s a little backgrounder to give more insights about the costs of working with recruitment agencies.

According to Deloitte, the average cost per hire is $4,000. It can be lower or higher, depending on the role and how you go about your recruiting processes.

Now, the fees of a recruitment agency also vary depending on the position you want to fill. They take into account the following factors:

  • Number of positions to be filled
  • Type of industry to be filled
  • Type of job position
  • Type of job hire (full-time, part-time, etc.)
  • The expected salary of the job position
  • … and many more!

Generally, Undercover Recruiter said that they charge 15% to 25% of the prospective employee’s first-year salary. However, it can go as high as 50% if it’s a hard-to-fill role or if it’s a top-level position. That is how they calculate it.

Don’t forget to look at the bigger picture. While it may seem costly at first, think about the return in the long run. As HR practitioners, we believe that each and every employee is an investment. You think about how they can contribute to the organization and you can base potential profit from there.

It’s a tricky dilemma that will make or break your business. Don’t take this lightly!

Additional reminders for choosing the best recruitment agency in the market

Check reviews online and compare recruitment agencies in the market

There are several great platforms online to check your options. You can type in the company size, industry, and ideal budget range to get a list of recommendations. 

Additionally, these have tons of reviews there that you can read written by real and actual clients. It’s best to double-check because you would want to maximize the partnership as much as possible, right?

Check listings of recruitment agencies and recruitment software

There are tons of listings online that show the top recruitment agencies in the world or certain countries. Do your due diligence and look them up.

You can also check out top recruitment software lists such as this one. Why check out such software? The recruitment agency might be using a tool for their hiring efforts, and you might be unaware of what they are.

If you check out this list, you can see which ones are the best picks by people. Our software, Manatal, is a good indicator to start. We are a cloud-based human resources management (HRM) solution designed for recruiting agencies and midsize and large businesses across various industries. We have features including sourcing, applicant tracking, a recommendations engine, tools for team collaboration, and more. Best part? Our software starts at only $15/month!

And you’re done! Now you know what criteria to follow alongside additional reminders to make a sound decision. There are infinite choices out there, but those five steps will guide you to the best choice for your business if you want to have overall success and profitability.

Still not sure about which recruitment agency to pick? Click here to read more of our insights on recruitment and HR technology, or here to explore our 14-day free trial.

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