Sourcing and selecting a ‘fit for purpose’ recruitment agency

Sourcing and selecting a ‘fit for purpose’ recruitment agency

There are literally thousands of recruitment agencies plying their trade in a very crowded market.

Some set up shop when the economy is booming and evaporate when the going gets tough, as they see it is a racket for printing money.

It isn’t. Recruitment is particularly challenging when there is full-employment and the prevailing market is candidate driven.

A lot of would be recruiters think it’s all about sales and getting the jobs in to work on. And this is the reality in the bigger high street agencies, as all the recruitment consultants are working to exacting targets.

However, just think again about what the commodity is for the recruiter – the CANDIDATE, a flesh and bones (maybe with a bit of commonsense if we’re lucky!!) – human being like you and me.

When a target driven recruiter is dealing with multiple jobs to fill and by extension, multiple candidates to attempt to fill those roles, in order that they hit target and get paid their commission for doing so, the candidate runs a high risk of being mismanaged and neglected.

Think how about you want your company and brand to be represented by a 3rd party supplier – in this case the recruitment agency.

What messages subliminal or otherwise do you want this group to perceive?

You are putting a lot of faith into this 3rd party to represent your brand well, regardless of what candidates they may produce for you.

It may seem a waste of your time, but it is really important to build a relationship with a potential recruitment partner. A partnership where you are secure enough to take on the feedback and advice of the chosen recruiter, about the market, their competitor analysis in your field etc.

So what are the main factors to consider on this significant decision making? – One which you feel is way down the food chain maybe? – Do not let your previous experiences of being treated somewhat indifferently maybe, cloud your judgement on your appetite to make this fledging relationship work for all.

  • Ask your peers and competitors for recommendations as to which recruitment professionals worked well for them.
  • Decide whether you want to work with a single trusted recruiter who you can build that long-term relationship with, or you wish to have a more tinder like engagement with several recruitment agencies.
  • The more exclusivity you give, the better service you will get. If the chosen solo recruiter knows that they are the only recruiter working on the role, the portents for filling the role successfully, are very good
  • If you are using multiple agencies, you will be get a quick and immediate sugar rush of dubious potential candidates, but then the orgasm will be a distance memory as the recruiter moves onto the next client and their ‘urgent job to be filled’.
  • Giving exclusivity and even if that is only for a pre-agreed 2 week period to the solo recruiter, means that you will be able to negotiate a favorable fee rate.
  • Remember, the traditional recruitment agency model is such a dysfunctional business, where the reality is that a recruiter can potentially be giving you hours, days and weeks of their time for no guaranteed payment, unless they fill the role!
  • Agree rebate schedules – if the candidate leaves within a short time of joining your business. As a rule of thumb, a free replacement, or refund guarantee usually extends to 3 months.
  • Do interrogate potential recruiters on their relationships with other companies in your line of business. There are still plenty of recruiters out there that will have no qualms about placing a candidate with you and then 6-9 months down the line, canvassing that same candidate who is now your employee, about another role in another company.
  • If you have volume recruitment needs, it’s worth re-negotiating the terms every once and a while, if you are delighted with the relationship and the service provided.
  • Treat your recruiter as a trusted external partner – they are a vital piece of the PR engine, they are actively selling your brand and story to the marketplace. Gauge their ability to engage with potential candidates on the phone and in person – how would they fayre? What impression would they convey?


Questions to pose potential agencies?

  • What recent projects have you successfully delivered in our industry?
  • Ask them for an appraisal of the current candidate market
  • Ask them if they actively recruit for any of your key competitors
  • Ask for a discounted fee rate based on a period of sole supplier exclusivity

If you don’t have much of a budget, these are some of the factors that could clinch a discounted fee:

  • Prompt payment of the agency invoice – within 14 days and by that I mean within 14 days of invoice date!
  • Sole agency agreement
  • A tacit agreement that you will refer the agency to your peer group, based on the success of their placement
  • If you are in a position to do so, agree a time specific deal for volume requirements, i.e. you will come to the the agency for 12 months, with all of your requirements

And finally, agencies are not the devil in disguise, they generally work hard for their fee in a very crowded marketplace, with a severe lack of candidates, with no guarantee that their efforts will yield any success. The prevailing issue and it has been ever thus, is that volume high-street agencies, just do not have enough emphasis on candidate care.

If you would like an informal no-nonsense discussion on our services, please get in touch – even if you just want to rant and get all your grievances off your chest! Contact: Amanda Gribbon on +353 (0)86 407 0912, or