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Ten Top Tips On Selecting The Right Recruitment Agency

Plan Your Recruitment

While you are busy operating a successful business, you will not have the time to sort through hundreds of CVs to find the right candidates for your latest job vacancy. And, as we discussed in the previous item, you shouldn't be doing this task anyway!

You'll need a recruitment agency to take on the daunting task of sifting through irrelevant and low-quality applications or to come up with a better way of selecting the ideal candidates for your vacancy.

However, there are a lot of recruitment agencies in the market so how do you select the right agency for your employment needs?

Here are TEN TOP TIPS that will save you time, money and unnecessary heartache:

1) Help with planning your staffing needs

You may want a combination of temporary and permanent staff and your needs will change over time. Contrary to popular opinion, most reputable recruitment agencies are not interested in placing a single candidate somewhere and then exiting with a large commission. What they ARE interested in is establishing a long term relationship with a client, so they understand the business and the people in detail and help the business grow. So look for an agency which is looking to partner with you and will help you plan your staffing needs over time.

2) Experience of your sector

The agency may not always need to be an expert in your sector but should have proven successful experience of recruiting for the role you are looking to fill. You should ask them about their screening process as they are saving you time and money by weeding out average candidates and only sending you the best fit people for the role. Also check that they offer reference checking for the successful candidates as not all agencies offer this and this is an essential safeguard to encourage a longer term placement.

3) Do they visit you? 

We've given this question its own point as there are organisations which will hire an agency that hasn't actually visited their premises! In today's climate of full employment, how else can the agency fully understand your culture and therefore learn enough about you to really sell the opportunity to their candidates?

4) Understand the local market

Experienced agencies will maintain a bank of candidates. Many of these people may be currently working for someone else but are waiting for the right opportunity to move.

5) Time in business: References, Testimonials, Success Stories

It's quite easy to set up a new recruitment agency. The real challenge is to run a local and successful business over time. So agencies that have survived over ten years or more will have a good track record of helping their clients with excellent placements. Choose a mature agency and read their client testimonials and client success stories and also do ask for references from their other clients.

6) What recruitment bodies do they belong to?

Check that the agency is registered with TEAM, the largest network of independent recruiters in the UK, because they vet all applications to join and interview the agency's clients before any membership is granted.

The agency should also be able to demonstrate an understanding of current employment law and ethical standards. You will often find the better agencies practice what they preach, generally attending recruitment industry events and ensuring the personal development of their own staff.

7) Guarantee Scheme?

Whilst it's not too common, an otherwise ideal candidate may leave early because their personal circumstances have changed - they may need to relocate, for example. Neither the agency or the employer will be able to prevent this on every occasion so ask the agency what Guarantee Scheme they have if a new starter leaves in the first twelve months, for example. If they don't have a good answer, select a different agency because they need to put your interests first and should be thinking of a long term partnership with you.

8) Scheduled After Sales Service?

Too many agencies think the job is done once the client has chosen the candidate. But the candidate may still be receiving other offers from elsewhere so you want to work with an agency that will help the candidates settle in your organisation and will support their decision with a series of scheduled tasks. Again, this is a good sign that the agency is serious about a long term partnership with you.

9) Costs

We can't ignore costs here but it's important to understand that you are not simply buying a second hand car! You are investing in the successful growth of your business. The cost of employing the wrong person is far greater than the cost of even the most expensive recruitment agency and so it's far more important to choose an agency who will find the best candidate.

A good technique to qualify out the less serious agencies is to ask what their costs would be for recruiting a number of new employees over the next two years, for example. If you aim to establish a long term partnership with an agency, not simply fill a vacancy, you will create a relationship that works well for both parties.

10) Like and trust

It sounds trivial but actually, once they have passed the tests above, check your instincts! If you like and trust the recruitment agency team, you are far more likely to work well together, to enjoy the experience, and to find and place the ideal candidates in your organisation.

It will not surprise you that Jackie Kerr Recruitment has some great answers to all of the above points and our nineteen years in business has helped us identify the good agencies from the not so good ones. Fortunately, there are still a number of good recruitment agencies out there - obviously including us!

Are you looking to attract talented individuals who will help grow your business?

Call us for a chat on 01793 762026 or email Jackie and her team at:


It really helped when you mentioned that the recruiter must be able to visit your establishment so that they will have an idea of what kind of culture you have in your office. I will share this tip with a friend of mine who called this afternoon asking if I know any recruitment agency that I can recommend. Unfortunately, I have no idea since I never needed their service yet. It appears that they need to expand their company, so they need their help to hire the right people. This tip will help them choose the right agency for their needs. Thanks!
Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 03:57 by Millie Hue
I really love that you end this assessment by talking about how much you like and trust a recruitment company after they have passed all the other tests. I appreciate that you took the time to mention this aspect as well. Even if someone seems to be a really good fit for a job, I would think that it would be important to work with people that you felt good and comfortable around.
Posted on Friday, December 09, 2016 17:41 by Luke Smith
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