Looking To Grow Your Team? 5 Tips For How To Choose A Recruitment Agency

Choose a recruitment agency and hire a great hire like they have in this picture

With over 30,000 recruitment agencies in the UK, it can be hard to choose a recruitment agency that is right for your business.

Hiring employees and contractors is an investment, and one you don’t want to regret in a few months time.

As a Director at VIQU, I have worked closely with numerous clients to identify the best options for them. Below I discuss some of my top tips for how to choose a recruitment agency that works well for you and your individual requirements.

Why should I choose a recruitment agency instead of handling hiring myself?

You may be pondering the question “Should I use a recruitment agency?”. Of course, we believe choosing to work with a recruitment agency on your next hire will give the most fruitful results. This is because a recruitment agency can truly transform your talent procedures and strategies you might have never even thought about changing.

A good recruitment agency will offer you far more than just a decent candidate to fill your vacancy. So I implore you to choose a recruitment agency that will support you in improving and enhancing the following aspects of your standard hiring process:

How to find the best recruitment agency

Choosing the right recruitment agency can be tricky. It’s an investment of both your time and money. It’s important you find the best recruitment agency for your needs. Here are some key tips for securing the right one.

Use a trusted recruitment agency

Reach out to your network. If anyone has used a recruitment agency to assist their own business or employer, they might be able to offer invaluable insights that you couldn’t gain from a simple Google search. You can get advice from people you trust who have witnessed how the agency performs.

If none of the agencies recommended to you fit your specifications, consider looking at local agencies. Whilst it might seem obvious to enquire with a national brand whose name is synonymous with recruitment, they’re not always the best option, especially for businesses with more limited hiring opportunities, smaller budgets, or requirements involving niche skillsets.

Tips for checking if a local agency would work for you:

  • Check the company’s Google/ Trustpilot reviews to get a better understanding of how their clients and candidates rate them.
  • Ask the agency for testimonials/references from clients who are happy to be contacted.
  • Research the company online through Companies House and via a credit check to ensure you are speaking with a reputable business.

Identify an agency that specialises in the area you require talent

Choose a recruitment agency based on the type of professional you need. If you need a contractor, speak with recruitment agencies that have a strong focus on contract recruitment. The same goes for permanent employees, executive or graduate level roles. Ensure that they have the experience, knowledge and network to hire into the vacancy you have.

Furthermore, this includes the sector/industry your role sits within. For example, if you are looking for a DevOps Engineer, go to an IT recruitment agency. A generalist agency is unlikely to have the market knowledge and insider insights you need. A recruiter at a specialist agency will have a good understanding of the job role they are recruiting for. This means that they know what to look for when shortlisting candidates and what questions to ask during pre-interview calls. Consequently, the candidates they present to you are likely to be a good fit for your business.

Ignore my warning and you could end up sifting through candidates who aren’t at all suitable for your vacancy.

Find a recruitment agency that aligns with your values

This might not seem overly important to you in the first instance, but identifying a recruitment agency that matches your values is far more likely to lead to a fruitful relationship. Priorising values and similar ways of working means the agency will focus on aspects of the recruitment process that you find important and are more likely to find a candidate with a good cultural fit for you.

For example, if you are trying to improve your diversity and inclusion, an effective and unbiased recruitment process is important. Choose a recruitment agency that also values DE&I and ask them what steps they take to limit unconscious bias in the hiring process. Question them about what they do to mitigate bias in their business and what tools they use.

Look for transparency

When you looking to choose a recruitment agency, take note of your first conversations with them. Are they actively looking to speak with you on the phone or via video to get as much information as possible, or do they avoid these interactions, instead preferring email correspondence?

There are a few sure-fire ways to identify if a recruitment agency is acting with genuine intentions:

  • Do they speak to you on the phone? If yes, are they overly eager to speed up and get you off the phone?
  • Do they ask you whether they can visit your offices?
  • Have they explained their procedures and how they plan to source candidates?
  • Have they shared insights into their client portfolio and offered referees for you to speak with?

Trust your gut feeling. If they aren’t acting transparently with you, they are unlikely to be a good fit.

Interview them. Ask questions!

Following on from the previous point, asking questions is a great way of analysing recruitment agencies in the early stages of a potential working relationship.

You should consider asking questions such as:

  • What are your success rates like?
  • How long are your standard contract and permanent placement times?
  • What are your fees?
  • What range of recruitment services do you offer?
  • What are your methods for identifying and attracting candidates?
  • How do you keep candidates engaged during the hiring process?
  • What recruitment tools do you use?
  • What specialisms do you focus on?
  • Do you value DE&I?
  • How do you mitigate unconscious bias in the recruitment process?
  • How will you look to represent my brand to the market?

The answers to these questions will help you separate the apprentices from the masters, giving you the insights you need to choose a recruitment agency.

Looking for a recruitment agency that supports your IT needs?

VIQU has over 150 years of combined experience in IT recruitment. We specialise in multiple IT sectors and offer a wide range of services that might suit your business. Please click here to get in touch.

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