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How to Find the Right Recruiting Agency for Your Business

You choose a recruiter for your business the same way you choose any professional services specialist. You take a look at what services are available, you ask colleagues for recommendations, and you talk to different recruiters. Ultimately, you want a recruiter you feel confident will be able to effectively articulate your company’s mission, values, and culture to job prospects.

The following list provides some reminders that can help you make a wise choice:

  • Check them out personally. However busy you may be, make visiting any recruiter who may be representing your company part of your business. Make sure that you feel comfortable about the way the recruiter runs and maintains its office. (A good question to ask yourself as you visit a recruiter: Would I, as a job candidate, like to work with this recruiter?) Don’t hesitate to ask for references.

  • Be explicit about your needs. The cardinal rule in dealing with recruiters is to be as candid and as specific as possible about your needs. Make sure that the firm understands your business, your company culture, and what exactly you’re looking for in a candidate.

    Extra bonus: A savvy recruiter often can tell you, simply by looking at the job description, how likely you are to find someone to fill the position.

  • Clarify fee arrangements. Make sure that you have a clear understanding — before you enter into a business agreement — of how your recruiter charges. Make sure that any arrangement you agree on is in writing. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification; a reputable firm is always happy to explain its fee structure.

  • Ask about replacement guarantees. Most of the leading recruitment firms offer a replacement guarantee if a new employee doesn’t work out after a reasonable period of time. Just make sure that you understand the conditions under which the guarantee applies.

  • Express your concerns openly. Speak up if you’re unhappy about any aspect of the arrangement you’ve struck with a recruiter. Tell the recruiter exactly what your concerns are. If you don’t feel comfortable expressing your concerns with the recruiter you’ve chosen, you’re probably dealing with the wrong company.

As in any field, recruiting has its bad apples. Fortunately, the industry has done a very good job in recent decades of policing itself. Still, you need to be wary of any recruiter that

  • Is evasive about providing a list of satisfied clients it has worked with or unwilling to provide information about its procedures.

  • Is reluctant to provide progress reports or vague about fees and billing arrangements (“Don’t worry about it — we’re friends”).

  • Charges applicants for services (résumé preparation, testing fees, and so on).

  • Has no business track record or has a record of legitimate consumer complaints.

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