The 8 things you need to consider when engaging a recruitment agency

1. Have you got the budget? There’s no point trying to drive their fee so low that you completely demotivate them, and they just send you candidates that were rejected from their clients that saw them first (because they are paying more). We’d say in today’s environment of record employment, it’s a 15% of candidate’s first year salary as a minimum.


2. Have you taken the time to consider EXACTLY what qualities you want to see in a candidate and produced a thorough brief for the agency that goes beyond a simple job description and bulleted list of responsibilities? No? Get on it…


3. Have you considered what within that brief you’re willing to compromise on, and stress-tested that list with a recruiter you trust? (Chances are your perfect candidate doesn’t exist; know what’s important to you before you start the process to prevent you dipping below a minimum compromise threshold.)


Chances are your perfect candidate doesn’t exist; know what’s important to you and don’t dip below a minimum compromise threshold


4. Have you allocated time in your diary over the next fortnight to review candidate CVs and provide the agency quick feedback on the candidates they submit? Ditto block some time out for interviewing. Fast feedback is critical in a candidate-short market, improving your employer brand (candidates like to know where they are in the process promptly), and keeping the agency engaged.


5. Have you reviewed the agency’s terms of business — what happens if this hire goes wrong, how are you protected?


6. Are you engaging multiple agencies or giving one exclusivity? There’s pros and cons to both approaches. Exclusivity can buy you more commitment from a recruiter as they’re working within a less competitive environment (good for extremely specialist roles and executive headhunting). A multiple agency approach will broaden the candidate search and potential talent pool


7. Who’s responsible for candidate screening and reference checks? Check the Terms of Business. (This free eBook ‘How to avoid hiring an axe murderer’ offers a step-by-step comprehensive guide on candidate screening.)


8. How are you judging the recruitment agency’s quality and ability to deliver a candidate shortlist within a timeframe you’re happy with?



Want to find and work with trusted, specialist recruitment agencies and cast your (candidate search) net a bit wider? check out Hiring Hub’s recruitment agency marketplace. It’s free-to-use and, during the last 12 months, we’ve helped some of the UK’s leading companies fill hundreds of specialist vacancies in an average of just 20 days. You can book a demo here.


Originally published 17th January 2019