How to get the most from your agency

Great agencies can really improve a hiring process, contributing methodologies, techniques and of course unique candidates to an organisation. But there are loads of agencies out there, good and bad. Finding a good one will save you time, and knowing how to get the best from them will radically improve your hiring success. Here are a few pointers to help you make the right choice next time you're planning a recruitment drive.

  1. Identify real experience.
    Find out the depth of expertise of your specific consultant and their team. Can they deliver on their promises? How?
  2. Ask about previous assignments.
    Good consultants have an established name in the market, an honest history of previous and recent assignments and happy testimonials to back up their claims.
  3. Try and ensure unique candidate sources.
    What makes this agency different to others you are working with? The last thing you want is duplicate CV's. Why put up with the hassle of multiple agencies working LinkedIn on your behalf, all sending the same people?
  4. Understand and agree terms and conditions.
    Make sure you are comfortable with what you are paying for, at what stage and what redress you have if something goes wrong. There is nothing worse than finding out your favoured candidate is out of your budget except perhaps having a candidate leave with no adequate rebate in place.
  5. Use the agency expertise.
    Good consultants can help with so much more than just finding applicants. They should know the tone of the market, have access to salary benchmarks and best practice hiring strategies. They should ask good questions and be prepared to adapt their process to meet your unique needs
  6. Convey the essence of your company / have conversations early.
    A fifteen minute conversation with an experienced recruiter at the beginning of you hiring process can save countless hours later on in the process. Once you have found a good agency and a skilled consultant, make sure they know all about your company culture, team fit and goals. It will make the process of identifying the right talent so much more effective.
  7. Participate in an iterative process.
    If you receive CV's that are not perfect be sure to provide feedback to the consultant to improve her best thinking. By engaging in this iterative process with honest opinions you are likely to find exactly the talent you are looking for.
  8. Use the agent to handle the offer rejection process.
    Candidates prefer an intermediary between themselves and a potential new company when it comes to offer stage. Discussing money can still feel threatening; they don't necessarily want the offered salary but don't feel comfortable saying so on the phone. They say yes, but then find another opportunity. An intermediary acting on behalf of both parties will make sure that messages are carried effectively and delivered without causing resentment