How to Pick the Right Recruiter


We’ve all been there.

Trying to fill your headcount.

The pressure of finding the right person for the job, within budget (what budget?!), the right level of experience, the best team fit, a reliable hire who will not let you down. Sounds like a pretty tall order. Especially with the budget you have.

Quality candidates are expensive. They know their worth and will not be sold short. It’s important to remember that or you may find yourself losing out on the person you really need.

We all know budgets need to stretch far. Money does not grow on trees, but neither do cheap hires.

It sounds logical to keep the recruitment process in-house. It makes sense to spend every penny you have on the actual package you will offer the new hire to ensure they stick with you. After all, nasty counter-offers have a habit of cropping up and teasing away that perfect hire at the eleventh hour. Not what you need after months of screening and interviewing….

You have ever looming deadlines to meet, the pressure mounting for your team to perform, a point to prove to your manager and if only your headcount was up to full capacity, you might have a chance to do it.

So what to do?

Trundle on in the hope that one day that perfect person will walk through the door and solve all of your woes? Or try a different strategy which may sound more expensive but also may save you so much more money in the long run. The cost of running under capacity when you are busy is higher than you might think.

The usual thing to happen is for hiring managers to finally give one lucky caller the time of day (out of the hundreds of calls they get from recruiters) and tell them that they may need some help for a new hire. Before any details are given about the position, they talk rates. The lower the better of course. After all, these recruiters only push CV’s through the door.

Correct. Many of them do.

You don’t pay a penny, you get lots of CV’s, interview a dozen more candidates, quite like the look of one or two of them, put out an offer and wait…..

and wait….

and wait.

You call the recruiter. Oh, the candidate has gone elsewhere/they have had a better offer/they have relocated to Timbuktu. Wait a minute, these were  all of the same excuses we heard the first hiring cycle round when we were NOT using a recruiter. I knew all recruiters were useless! The phone rings, and you won’t be answering again.

There are several things that hiring manager could have done to significantly increase their likelihood of securing the right candidate.

Remember, some recruiters are a LOT better than others. Better in different ways. Better in terms of quality service. Knowing your business. Knowing their candidates. Reading who will be the best fit. Advising you honestly about how you are selling the position and managing the hiring process. Knowledgeable about your product/service and deeply credible when it comes to talking about it.

Here are some things to remember when it comes to picking a recruiter.

Do your research

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By this we do not mean to dredge through the internet or do a Google search to see what crops up. Often, the best recruiters may not be the most advertised, or have the bigger marketing budgets.

They are the people that your friend may be using (and not telling you about)! They are the people that may be sharing relevant information about topics in your field to key groups on social media sites. They are the people that share material designed to help and guide hiring managers, regardless of whether they use them for their hiring needs or not. They are the ones that have their finger on the pulse and don’t need to hide behind a corporate brand. They actively get out there and network with like-minded individuals.

They know who will be receptive to your job opportunity before you need to advertise it.


Credibility 3

We can’t stress this enough. We don’t necessarily mean a big brand name with 100 years experience within the sector. All too often poor hiring managers feel trapped by this and to justify the budget spend, go with the ‘industry leader’ in their field. A lot of the time they are disappointed with the service they receive for the price they pay.

What we mean to say is the actual person you will be dealing with regularly.

Whether they come from a big, small, specialised or generalised recruitment company is largely irrelevant. Does that person ask credible questions? Do they demonstrate a deep knowledge and understanding of your requirements and how they fit into the company overall? Can they hold a stimulating and interesting conversation about what your organisation does to a perhaps a senior candidate who is not actively looking? Are they genuinely interested in finding the right hire for your organisation and willing to work closely with you to ensure you are supported at each stage? So when it comes to the offer stage you both already know the candidate will be taking the job?

Communicate and meet each other regularly

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Recruiting is a dynamic process. We are dealing with people who are perfectly within their rights to change their minds, explore other options and refer to other decision makers when they are unsure. Make sure that the recruiter you decide to work with is fully aware of everything that is going on with the candidate and regularly keeps you updated with any information that may affect the success rate of getting that person on board. Issues identified early are usually issues that can be overcome. If the candidate trusts the recruitment partner you have chosen, you will have the upper hand to guide the process in the direction you need it to go in.

Agree to timeframes and stick to them!

Dreams 5

We all don’t want to miss out on that perfect candidate and are sometimes prepared to elongate the recruitment process to make sure we have stretched the net far and wide enough. There is a real danger of doing this.

An experienced recruiter will tell you that organisations looking to attract top quality talent need to strike while the iron is hot. The reality is that the best candidates find jobs fast. This means they are not likely to go on lots of interviews and the best employers know how to close the deal quickly.  So if you know you are onto a good thing, juggle around your schedule and make the face to face meeting happen ASAP.

All of the best hires are secured within a matter of weeks, not months. If it’s taking months, chances are, the candidate is not that strong to begin with. Or vice versa, if you lose the candidate due to your recruitment process being too long, the candidate was too strong to wait for you.


The decision on whether to use a recruiter to help you with your hiring needs is always a tough one. With limited hiring budgets, you need to make sure you are spending wisely.

If you do decide to use the services of a recruiter, make sure you are not short changed.

The money you spend is only one way of measuring the value of the service you receive.

Consider other factors such as your recruiter’s credibility and trustworthiness.

Partnering with the right recruiter can bring you much value and quality both in terms of the talent you meet and securing your hire.

Money well spent, in our opinion, on your peace of mind.

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