6 useful tips for choosing a recruiting agency

Marianna Hrynyshyn,
Founder of AboutHR

For 8 years in internal HR and 7 years in external recruitment, I had the opportunity to work with external recruiters as recruitment service providers for the company and agencies that used to be partners of the AboutHR agency on certain projects. Let me share my own rules for choosing an external recruiting partner relevant for both cases.

Before you start to select an agency, I would recommend to work on a clear definition of your recruitment needs. The clearer the picture you have, the easier it will be for you to filter the agencies to suit your requirements. How many new employees do you need, what positions do you plan to close with an agency, what level of positions is it, what the target qualification is; also we should have a clear understanding that the decision regarding opening certain vacancies is taken, or we come to a decision that first we need a market / salary survey for a certain category of employees. As soon as you list your needs and expectations from an agency, you will have the first filter. After all, if you need to pick up 30 specialists for a call center, you need to contact agencies that work with mass recruiting, if you need IT specialists – filter on experience in IT recruitment, to search for managers – contact executive search agencies.

Rule number 1: recommendation of a trusted person is the best solution

So, the goals are set, the decision to involve an agency is taken. As for me, the ideal, and the shortest option in this case will be the rule number 1 – recommendation of a trusted person is the best solution.  To my mind, turning to colleagues with a request for a recommendation is the best way to find the most suitable provider. Usually, colleagues recommend the agencies they have already had positive experience with. It is also very comfortable and easy to ask a colleague about the “bottlenecks” that occurred in the course of cooperation, the style of communication, the understanding of the market, and, of course, the quality and efficiency of an agency.

If you have no possibility to ask foe recommendation, or if you need to expand the list agencies with new names, you should go to the selection of agencies from the long list. Here are my recommendations how to deal with this.  

Rule number 2:  the form matters

I am a person who practically all my life works in service companies – the legal sphere, IT, recruiting. Due to this, I am convinced that the form matters – such things as the presence and appearance of the agency’s website, its social networks, the search results on Google, the presentation on the job-sites form the impression of the company through the search phase. For me, as a recruiter, these resources are like a resume of an agency. If the information displayed on the site is convenient, clear, consistent, social networks are alive, and contact details are easy to find, you can put a plus to an agency. If the last vacancy was posted by the agency a month ago, the site has not been updated since last year, there are no links in Google, we put this agency at the end of the list or completely eliminate it from our long list.

Rule number 3: core specialty

Messages on the web-sites of agencies like “We close any vacancies within 2 weeks” sound optimistic, but at the same time, are a bit suspicious. Therefore, I always tried to choose among those who at least, as minimum, declare their own specialization, and, as a maximum, can prove it with examples of closed vacancies and clients’ recommendations.

Rule number 4: keep in touch

It is surprising, but I met agencies that held costly marketing and advertising campaigns and at the same time they forgot to make sure that calls of potential clients are received and requests are answered. I assume, if an agency that offers a call-back option calls back to a client in two days, or if it answers a request for a week, it will have difficulties with the terms and implementation of their commitments when it goes about a recruitment project. If we observe clear and timely communication with an agency, it is safe to go to the next stage.

Rule number 5: expertise check

During the transition from stage to stage, the number of agencies in our list should decrease. Expertise check should be given more careful attention, here we check the technical capabilities of an agency to help us close vacancies. At this stage, it is worth assessing the list of clients, asking the contact persons for recommendations, reviewing profiles of key persons and recruiters working in the agency, analyzing the agency’s participation in the life of the business community and, of course, arranging a meeting for personal acquaintance. If the received information is makes a clear picture of the background of an agency, it brings us closer to signing a service contract.

Rule number 6: sometimes rules need be broken

My experience as the head of agency AboutHR shows that rules are good, but sometimes it is necessary to make exceptions to the rules. An example of such exceptions is location. Today, recruiting in most cases does not require physical presence in certain location. For example, the recruitment agency AboutHR is represented in two locations – Kyiv and Lviv. Still we successfully close vacancies within our specialization other cities like Odessa, Warsaw or Minsk. Another example is the overly complex tender procedures and long lists of formal requirements to providers of certain companies. Sometime the formal qualification stage disqualifies all potential participants who do not have an international network or at least15 years’ presence on the market. The oldest agency is not always the best. In our customer list, we have international companies with history who have abandoned such a procedure in favor of simplified tenders and practices of “pilot projects”.

I wish you all the good choice of recruiting partners!

If you have any questions, please send them to me by e-mail or by telegram +38 098 408 6109