Things To Consider When Selecting Recruiting Firms

Hiring a recruiting firm is not a decision to be taken lightly. Choosing the right headhunter to work with is like choosing the right mate – everything in life gets easier when it is a true match.

Let's set a few things straight before we delve in.

First Things First

  • The average cost to hire a recruiter is 25% of expected compensation, so they aren't cheap.
  • Recruiters do not issue refunds. Most offer a 90-day replacement guarantee – but past 90 days you'll be starting over.
  • Some recruiters are less than ethical or just plain jerks. I pride myself on not being either! Reputable recruiters answer their phones, don't poach candidates from you and won't lie or fabricate to entice candidates. Above all else, they are honest – even when the search is going poorly or prospects are scarce. They'll tell you not to hire one of their candidates if it isn't a fit.
  • The right recruiter makes hiring easier. You'll spend more time actually talking to the candidates who can change your business, not finding or engaging with them.
  • A great recruiter has more passive candidates in their pocket than you can ever hope to find.

Great, we are all on the same page! Here are a few ways to find your next great hiring partner.

Visit Their Website

You want to get a feel for their communication style, background, expertise and past success. Hopefully, you will make a long-term connection, so if it doesn't feel right keep looking.

A quick note on client reviews – Most recruiting firms do not list their client names in testimonials. Why? Well, some less scrupulous recruiting trainers direct employees to scour reviews looking for names and companies. They then can try to poach business because they have proof the client will pay for recruiting services. Also, hiring is by nature a confidential practice. Candidates and clients don't always want it known they are looking. So if you don't see names, don't worry!

Visit Their LinkedIn Page and Profile

No recruiter worth their fees is missing out on LinkedIn.

You can see how they present themselves online as well as if they are active on LinkedIn and how many connections they have. New recruiters or headhunters with less than 500 connections are probably not going to have the horsepower you need in your search. You can also see testimonials and get a better feel for the firm on LinkedIn.

Ask Around

I wouldn't take any companies' website as the alpha and omega on if they will be a good fit. It doesn't take much imagination to build a slick looking website. So do a little offline research.

Check within your network – where did their last hire come from? Have they had success with a recruiter? What is the best part of what their recruiter does for them? What sticky situations (relocation, background check surprises, candidates who don't take no for an answer) has their headhunter helped them out of? If you don't ask, you probably won't find out.

Also, ask your last few great hires where they found out about your company. Did they have any recruiters contact them? Is there anyone they have worked with in the past? Ideally, a smart recruiter is going for long-term connections with both clients and candidates.

Getting To Know You

After looking at LinkedIn and their website and talking with your connections, you should have a short list of potential firms. Make contact and ask for a short phone call or discovery session. Here are some things to consider discussing.

  • What types of positions do they usually fill?
  • What industry, niche, and channel are they in?
  • Have they ever filled a position like yours?
  • What were the challenges and successes?
  • Have them detail their process for finding and connecting with candidates.
  • What tools and technology do they employ?
  • What services do they offer & what is the fee structure?
  • Have them describe their documentation or agreement?
  • What type of replacement guarantee do they offer?
  • How do they communicate with clients?
  • How long will they work the search?

The hiring process can be very stressful. But an experienced building products recruiter can help you to find the best employees. The right recruiter will take your business to the next level and make hiring a breeze. Find a partner, not just someone who can do the job.



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