How to choose the right recruitment agency to fill your vacancy

So you want to grow your team, and you’ve decided to use a recruitment agency, but you’re unsure which one will best fit your needs.

It can be difficult to choose just one of the 30,000 agencies in the UK, each with its own specialisation and approach.

Do you require assistance in making a decision? Then continue reading to learn what to consider when selecting a recruitment agency.

What is the vacancy?

The first question any employer should ask themselves when deciding which recruitment agency to approach is, “What exactly is the role I’m recruiting for?”

This may seem self-evident, but being explicit about the vacancy will make selecting the proper provider much easier.

Is it better to be permanent or temporary? Do you want to be a junior or an executive? Is it better to be a specialist or a jack of all trades?

All of these factors play a role in determining which recruitment firm you should deal with, so think about what you’re looking for.

What kind of agency would be best for you?

It shouldn’t be too difficult to limit down the correct type of agency once you’ve decided on the applicant criteria.

There are four basic sorts of recruitment agencies:

  • The main street.
  • Expert in the field.
  • Temp.
  • Executive recruitment.

Some of these services will be more relevant to you than others, depending on the vacancy.

Do you require a team of packers on short notice? Perhaps you might contact a temp agency. If you’re looking for a KS2 teacher, you’ve come to the right place. Consider working with a staffing service that specialises in education.

Of course, there are hiring firms that will do all of the above, so shop around and compare a few different firms.

Is it necessary to hire a recruiter?

Headhunting is a type of recruitment that is used to fill senior positions. It is also known as executive recruitment, executive search, or search and selection.

An executive recruiter’s strategy differs from that of a standard agency in that they seek out passive candidates (those who aren’t actively hunting for job).

When should you hire a head-hunter?

Typically, head-hunters are contacted to fill c-suite, management, or specialist jobs. So, if you’re looking for a managing director or a chief financial officer, a headhunting firm can be a good fit.

Although executive recruiters take delight in identifying the ideal candidate, the procedure is often more time-consuming and expensive; this is something to consider before making your decision.

If you’ve never worked with an agency before or simply don’t want to take any chances, a guarantee is something to look for.

If you don’t think you need a head-hunter, look for one on the high street or one that specialises in your industry. These provide similar services and may be more suited to your need.

Do you require the services of a local recruitment firm?

Geographical considerations may or may not be relevant to your agency search, depending on the nature of the vacancy. A recruitment agency Aberdeen, for example, is likely to have talent from across the country, as well as in your local area.

If you’re searching for a permanent IT professional, for example, proximity is unlikely to be a factor in a successful placement.

If you need a temporary team of labourers right once, though, you’ll generally want to engage with a local firm.

Because many agencies will recruit nationwide, regardless of where they have branches, a lack of local presence should not be a deterrent to employing a service – but it may be essential to you.

Should price be a consideration when selecting an agency?

Given that the company is responsible for paying recruitment fees, you could be forgiven for looking for the ‘cheapest’ provider.

Because most agencies charge on a percentage basis rather than a fixed fee (although some do! ), you’re less likely to be swayed by pricing.

Fees are expected to be around 15% -20% of the role’s income, regardless of which agency you use. For executive positions, this may be as high as 30%.

You might want to shop about a little, but the percentages aren’t too far off.

Bottom line: don’t make your agency pick just on the basis of cost.

How do you pick an excellent recruiting firm?

It’s one thing to cut down your options, but how can you choose a “good” recruitment firm?

In the United Kingdom, there are over 30,000 employment agencies, each with its own unique selling point. While there’s no way to guarantee that you’ll choose the best service for you, there are a few tell tale indications to watch for.

Do they belong to a professional organisation?

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation are the two most important recruitment organisations to be aware of (REC). While membership (or lack thereof) in these organisations is by no means a guarantee of quality, agencies that join them tend to follow a similar ethical code and are bound by specific rules.

The REC now has over 10,000 individual recruiters and 3,500 member agencies.

Do they provide any assurances?

When making a new job, there’s always the risk of hiring the wrong person. While using a recruitment firm will reduce this risk, you may end up hiring someone who isn’t quite suited for the job.

Many agencies may offer a guarantee of some form to give businesses peace of mind, such as a waived cost or a substitute candidate. This, predictably, only applies for a limited period of time, usually 30 to 90 days.

If you’ve never worked with an agency before or simply don’t want to take any chances, a guarantee is something to look for.

Who are their clients?

You only need to look at a recruitment agency’s clients to get a sense of how good they are. A good agency, even one that is relatively new, should have a portfolio of successful campaigns.

Because most agencies charge on a percentage basis rather than a fixed fee (although some do! ), you’re less likely to be swayed by pricing.

You’ll typically find this in the form of testimonials, with some agencies even listing clients on their websites. If any big names, competitors, or businesses you aspire to work for come to mind, you can be confident that this is a trustworthy firm.

It’s worth noting that not all agencies are comfortable sharing their client list, and not all businesses are comfortable being listed as a client of an agency. This isn’t unusual, and it’s not a red flag in and of itself.

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