Choosing a suitable recruitment consultant

laptop handshakeWhether you are hiring staff or looking for work, it can be difficult to know which one of the many recruiters to choose from. Assuming you have to engage with an agency, it’s important to understand that for the relationship to be successful, it has to be a two-way process.

A good recruitment consultant needs to understand you, your business and the market in which you operate to be of any real use to you. On a more detailed level, good recruiters strive to identify the technical, personal and cultural aspects of roles, as well as knowing the individuals that can best secure them, to ensure the “cultural fit” is right. Before you start answering their questions there are a few you should be asking yourself about your chosen recruiters:

  • Do they specialise in your market?
  • Do they recruit for your discipline?
  • How long has the company/consultant been recruiting within your industry?
  • Have they recruited for your competitors?
  • Do they take a consultative approach?
  • What consulting value can they add?
  • Can they provide evidence of previous successes?
  • Are they willing to come out and engage with you?
  • How skilled are they at assessing technical skills?

If a recruitment consultant is to conduct an accurate search for suitable candidates and be able to brief interested parties about the role, they must first have an accurate Job Description or brief containing detailed and relevant information.  A professional candidate will also be interested in knowing what a prospective employing organisation is striving to achieve. He or she can assess whether the organisation’s goals are compatible with their own and more importantly, that they are tangible and achievable. It’s worth remembering that good candidates will probably be chasing several opportunities at the same time.  The most talented will be looking for the organisation that provides a well defined job description, a clear benefits package and a succession plan at the very least. How well that is packaged and presented can make all the difference when a recruiter sells an organisation and a job to a candidate.

A good recruiter will offer added value to both clients and candidates. Guidance in terms of markets, roles, job descriptions, work visas and the recruitment process should be part of the service. Do some research amongst colleagues to find out which recruiters specialise in the industry you wish to work within and whether they walk the proverbial talk. Candidates should make sure that an agency meets them in person before they are submitted for a role. This ensures that the consultant fully understands what the candidate is looking for; can make an accurate assessment of their match to the role and organisation; and then sell the role and employing organisation to the candidate. Good agencies offer pertinent guidance and prepare candidates and clients for interviews.

Be very wary of agencies that will put CVs forward for a role without prior permission of the candidate. The “scatterblast” technique alienates most hiring managers who hate to receive totally inappropriate resumes for specialist roles. It can also lead to candidate ownership concerns in which the simplest solution for some hiring managers is to put the resume straight in the recycle bin.

There’s no real substitute for experience. Using a recruiter with a long track record of success will probably ensure the whole process is as smooth as possible.  It’s all about communication – which is always a two way process.