By David E. Perry, Mark J. Haluska

You can use the recruiter scorecard to assess prospective recruiters. Answer each question by choosing yes, no, or maybe. Each yes counts for 5 points. Each no is worth 0 points. And for each maybe, add 2-1/2 points.

The Recruiter Scorecard

Question Yes No Maybe
Is the recruiter free to recruit from your direct competitors?
Does the recruiter understand the role you need to fill?
Will an experienced recruiter perform the search?
Does the recruiter have experience with similar recruiting projects?
Does the recruiter have a high success rate?
Does the recruiter offer a performance guarantee?
Will the recruiter represent your company in a satisfactory manner?
Will the recruiter be the one who makes initial contact with prospective candidates?
Does the recruiter understand what a typical search entails?
Can the recruiter articulate a well-conceived search strategy?
Has the recruiter ever had profit and loss (P&L) responsibilities?
Does the recruiter’s domain expertise help you?
Is the recruiter located in the same geographic area as the position?
Can the recruiter devote adequate time to your search?
Will the recruiter work on your search until it is successfully completed?
Does the recruiter conduct business in an ethical manner?
Will the recruiter approach active and passive candidates with equal fervor?
Can the recruiter structure executive compensation packages?
Does the recruiter have experience relocating executives?
Is the recruiter willing to meet with all relevant stakeholders?
Can you see the recruiter becoming a true partner?
Is the recruiter objective?
Does your recruiter have a sensible process for checking references?
Will the recruiter provide you with highly detailed supplemental candidate information, such as a confidential candidate brief?
Total Score

To tally the scorecard, add up your points.

  • 80 to 120 points: You should seriously consider partnering with this recruiter.
  • 60 to 79 points: This recruiter may be okay, but it wouldn’t hurt to interview a few others to see if you can find someone better.
  • 59 points or less: Don’t hire this recruiter.

No recruiter on Earth will earn a perfect score. That doesn’t mean he can’t meet your needs.