Recruitment Agents — What to Look For

Finding the right new people can be one of the biggest challenges for a growing business.

Using your network — personal contacts and recommendations — can be very effective. But you will need to cast the net much wider, and that’s when Recruitment Agents step in.

They may seem expensive, but a good one will free you from the burdens of understanding the market, advertising, and reviewing a mountain of unsuitable CVs.

So how to find a good one?

Personal Relationships

Whether the Agent is a one man band, a regional outfit, or a national, it’s all about the person who is handling your search and your relationship with them.

Seek recommendations for good individuals and then meet with them face to face.

  • Tell them all about your business — what it does, how its organised, its history and culture, your aspirations for it.
  • Explain why you need new people and where they fit in.
  • Get their feedback — make sure they have understood and that what they say makes sense.

Setting Up

Make sure you’ve agreed T&Cs before considering any CVs — don’t let a good CV become a lever over you.

Expect the first few CVs to be somewhat off the mark, but take the time to provide rapid and detailed feedback — explain why what you need is different from what they sent.

The next few CVs should be better — if they’re not then try another Agent.

Run this process with three Agents at a time — until you’ve established three good personal relationships.

Ups and Downs

Some searches are hard, some are impossible.

A good Agent will know this — they will tell you up front and be honest with you when they hit a brick wall — others will just loose interest and disappear off your radar.

  • Even if the Agent hits a brick wall, keep that personal relationship intact for your next search.
  • Bear in mind that the people you want may just not be out there.

Longer Term

Prefer local and regional Agents.

  • They’re more likely to understand the needs of another small business and how you fit into the local and regional ecosystem.
  • It can be hard to relocate people, so good knowledge of the local and regional markets is an advantage.

Keep in mind the personal relationship and follow the individual rather than the Agency.

Points to take away …

  • Don’t be put off using Recruitment Agents because of the cost — good ones are worth it.
  • Build the personal relationships — meeting face to face and then setting up.
  • Expect honesty and feedback — bear in mind that you may be asking the impossible.
  • Follow the individual rather than the Agency.