Recruiting can be a daunting task on your own. Besides the time it takes to find and sort through candidates, there are many other pitfalls to navigate which have steep learning curves. Knowing the right verbiage to use in ads, knowing what grants or sponsorships can assist with training and certifying new employees, even just knowing where to try to source recruits from are all things that require expert knowledge to do properly.

That is why many successful recruiters employ the services of an employment agency, such as ReStart, when it comes time to find the perfect new hire.

But not all agencies are the same. You’ll want to ascertain that the people helping you build your team are the best fit for helping you find the right candidate for your open position. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when selecting an employment agency, from the standpoint of a recruiter.

Find out who is responsible for YOUR search

There are many different people responsible for different aspects of managing an employment agency. You will likely meet with a senior team member, but the search for candidates may be a task given to one or more other people at the agency.

It is important to know who is accountable for assessing and knowing your business’ needs, as well as familiarizing themselves with your company values so as to match you up with candidates who share them.

Look at their tenure

Tenure speaks volumes about the reliability of an employment agency. A long run means they have a consistent track record of correctly matching employees to employers and vice versa. They wouldn’t still be in business if they didn’t.

It also means they will have built up more connections and resources, and become vastly more familiar with the options available for facilitating an employment transition.

Bear in mind, however, that they may have predominant experience in certain industries. Feel free to ask about their experience in your own.

Ask about the candidates you are meeting

When you are sent potential recruits, you will obviously have your own questions regarding their qualifications and suitability for the job. On the other hand, you can also glean valuable information from the recruitment agency that will inform you not only about the candidates under your review, but also about the agency and their ability to put forth quality people for you to consider. These questions can also help corroborate what the candidate themselves is telling you, but for now we’ll focus on how this can help you establish the qualifications of the agency. Some questions might include:

  • Has the candidate shown steady career progression?
  • Has the candidate jumped around a lot, without credible reasons?
  • Do they have quantifiable accomplishments (i.e. measurable results) or simply vague answers about what their company or department has done?
  • Do they have a strong desire to move?
  • What is their motivation to move?
  • Ask the candidate if they were headhunted or “sourced” by the recruitment company. Great candidates have not emailed or posted their resumes all over town.
  • What do they know about your position and company? Often, a recruiter will not take the time to fully explain the opportunity, but will simply say, “Just go have a talk with the employer to learn more.” If this happens, you are not being served well.

Your agency’s ability to respond will show whether they take time to really get to know candidates before connecting them to employers, as well as the calibre of potential workers they can provide.

Ask about the timing and type of references checked

An agency should ensure that their candidates have references. A good agency will check those before sending them along to a potential employer. They will also ensure that those references hold water in the industry and at the professional level that you are sourcing for.

Some agencies, ReStart included, have certain programs where candidates can earn references from the agency staff themselves, for demonstrating proper conduct and essential work skills.

Will the agency help with negotiations?

Many a good recruit has been lost when their concerns and hesitations about a new job go unaddressed. Sometimes the offer is too good, but the other requirements of the job are too stressful. Sometimes they’re eager to work that exact position, but the salary and benefits don’t meet their needs.

Negotiations around the job offer and ensuring the employee has what they need to physically accomplish the work can be tricky, but an experienced recruitment agency should have no trouble sorting out the requirements for both parties, and employing a solution that they have seen to be effective in the past.

Do they guarantee their placements?

Any good business person stands behind their work. Employment agencies should do no less.

Now, that’s not to say that even the best agencies won’t occasionally place employees who don’t work out, but in the event that that happens, a guarantee to find a new candidate is one way a top tier recruitment agency can show that those sorts of situations are a fluke, and an exception to the rule.

All employment agencies should demonstrate a dedication to making things work for both the employees and employers they service. That said, it can still be difficult to confirm exactly how dedicated they are, and the level of performance they can provide for your recruitment needs.

Now that you have a better understanding of the values and behaviours to seek out in an employment agency, though, sussing out the best agency for your business should be a piece of cake.