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Recruitment Agencies: Choosing a Recruiting Firm

Recruitment agencies can help you find the perfect candidate, especially when the role you’re filling is technical or specialized. Hiring a recruitment agency can help you save time vetting job candidates and find a larger pool of potential candidates. Learn more about recruitment agencies, their benefits and tips for using them to decide if this is the right process for you.


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A quick history of recruitment agencies

Recruiting agencies first formed as a result of World War II, because there were many gaps in the workforce due to soldiers leaving their jobs and war casualties resulting in open positions. Companies needed a way to find talent quickly, so the industry of recruiting began. 


Since then, companies have used recruiting agencies to streamline their hiring process, both during the search phase and during the interviewing and hiring phases. 


Pros of using recruiting firms

Here are some advantages of using recruiting agencies:


They help put your company in a good light

As most hiring managers know, the job candidate is not the only one being interviewed. Companies have to make sure their workplace seems like a great place to be a part of. Interviewers have to communicate the value they offer potential employees as well as the other way around. This is especially true when you’re recruiting for a competitive position.


The staff of a recruiting agency spends their time communicating about potential job roles and helping candidates see the merits of each company they might work for. In addition to your own HR department, they are a great resource for attracting top talent due to their ability to help you communicate value.

Related: 10 Recruiting Strategies for Hiring Great Employees


They understand the market

Recruiting agencies may specialize in one area of expertise, such as technology firms or medical recruiting. This can make them very knowledgeable about the market. They will know the average salaries and benefits packages being offered by your competitors, and they will know the best places to look for candidates in the field. With this specialized knowledge, you can be sure that you will find the best candidates and pay them what they’re worth. 


They save your HR team time

When you publish a job offer, you might get hundreds of applications. Some will be qualified, but likely not all of them. With a recruiting agency, you won’t need to have an employee spend valuable time sorting through applications and trying to discern competency. Since this is a specialty of a recruiting agency, they can help you do this much more quickly. 


A recruiting agency can also conduct your phone screenings and first-round interviews for you so that only extremely qualified candidates make it through the door for an in-person meeting with your team. Interview days can be draining on everyone involved, so this is a boon for productivity. 


Tips for choosing a recruiting firm

Before you select a recruiting firm, consider these tips:

  • Know their background: Research to understand how much experience the recruiting agency has, who will be working on your team,  their track records and customer success metrics.
  • Check their specialty: Make sure the recruiter’s experience aligns with your company. 
  • Interview the firm: Treat this like you would an interview with a candidate. Ask plenty of questions to test their fit.
  • Know what you’re looking for: Whether you value cost, time, or finding the best employees, communicate this to your recruiting agency. 
  • Make sure they offer the services you need: If you need payroll services, for example, make sure the company provides these services.
  • Look at reviews: If possible, get reviews both from other employers and from job candidates. Both you and your potential employees will be in touch with the recruiting agency, so you want to make sure it’s a great experience on both sides. 

Related: Social Media Recruiting Tips and Strategies 


Recruitment agency FAQs

Here are some common questions on recruiting agencies:


Should I use a local or national recruitment agency?

With a local agency, you get the benefits of a recruiter who knows the local market, and more local support. With a national recruiting agency, you may have access to more resources and a larger pool of candidates. Speak with a few agencies of each type to find the right fit for your company. 


How do recruiting agencies charge?

Typically, a recruiting agency charges a percentage of the first year’s salary of the candidate they find for you.  You generally will not pay an agency until the job has been filled. Check with the agency for details, because every recruiting agency has different terms in their contract. 


How does a recruiting agency work?

Employers can hire a recruiting agency on a one-time or a recurring basis. You will need to meet with the recruiter to discuss the type of candidates you’re looking to recruit and go over paperwork. From there, the recruiter employs various strategies to find candidates who match your job description and company culture. Since recruiters are only paid when they fill jobs, you can expect that you will only meet the most qualified candidates. 


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