How Do I Choose the Best Recruiting Agency?

Lainie Petersen

Choosing the best recruiting agency typically involves doing extensive research, finding a firm that specializes in your industry, and verifying its success in matching job candidates with available positions. As is often true of many different types of services, word-of-mouth recommendations are typically your most reliable guide for finding an agency that will meet your needs. You should also review the credentials of a recruiting agency’s owners or recruiters and ask for references from both employers as well as candidates who have worked with the firm. This is particularly important if you work in a highly technical field or your business operates in a specialized industry.

Choosing the best recruiting agency involves conducting extensive research.
Choosing the best recruiting agency involves conducting extensive research.

If you are an employer seeking candidates for one or more positions, take the time to write out a comprehensive job description. This can help you when approaching agencies, as you can more easily describe the types of jobs that you offer as well as the types of candidates you are seeking. Pay attention to what the representative of the recruiting agency has to say about your needs. If he or she appears to be knowledgeable about your industry and offers some substantive feedback on your requirements as well as a realistic plan for finding quality candidates, this is generally a good sign that you are working with a competent agency.

It is likewise important that you fully understand a recruiting agency’s process for finding candidates. If you are relying on the recruiting agency to vet a candidate on your organization's behalf, find out how it goes about doing this. For example, the recruiting agency may contract with a third-party background check service that can investigate a candidate's credit, criminal history, and whether the candidate is telling the truth about his or her education and job experience. It's a good idea to get the name of any background check companies that the recruiter works with so that you can evaluate whether the recruiter is working with reputable vendors.

If you are seeking out a recruitment agency to represent you as a job candidate, be wary of scams. In many areas, reputable recruitment agencies do not charge candidates money for utilizing their job placement services, but are instead paid by employers after matching a candidate with a job. Ask former and current colleagues for recommendations. You may also want to ask a recruiting agency’s representative for information on his or her success rate at placing people in positions.

Whether you are an employee or a job seeker, you should expect a recruitment agency to practice good communication. Your phone calls and emails should be returned in a timely manner, and you should be able to rely on your recruiter to provide you with accurate information about the status of your application and a company or a candidate’s interest in working with you. If an agency or its representative fails to do these things, find another firm to work with.

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