Top Questions to Ask an Outside Recruiter Before Hiring Them
Choosing to hire a search firm can be the result of several situations. Perhaps a company has been trying to fill a vacancy for a long period of time but hasn’t managed to find the right talent for this niche role. Maybe an organization has been experiencing a high turnover rate and wishes to seek the help of a professional recruiter with a fresh outlook to examine if there’s something that needs to change within the hiring process. Some small businesses don’t have an HR department at all and require the help of recruiters to conduct a proper talent search.
Whatever the reason is, in many cases, an external recruiting firm can help you find candidates more efficiently, saving you time and money. If, of course, you choose the right firm. While platforms such as Recruiters LineUp can get you matched with a firm in your city and niche, it is still important to ask the recruiter the right questions before signing the recruitment fee agreement.
What is Your Sourcing Process?
Most companies approach a recruiter after they have already tried filling the vacancy themselves and failed. Therefore, you want to be sure that the recruiter will use methods that you haven’t already explored and that they will provide you with the expertise you do not possess on your own. For example, simply posting on job boards and approaching candidates on LinkedIn using a keyword search is something you can do by yourself. But if a recruiter has a database of graduates in the field, they can approach passive candidates on your behalf.
What is Your Average Success Rate and Time per Search?
These numbers will provide you with information regarding the recruiter’s available network, work ethics and credibility. They will be happy to share these statistics if they are successful at finding candidates and placing employees. While the national average of time to complete a search is 90 to 120 days, you want the recruiter to be able to achieve that in much less time, as your position has been vacant for a while, costing you money.
As for ways to measure success, those come in several metrics. You can ask about successful search competition (meaning they found suitable candidates for the company), the ratio of interview-to-offer, and the ratio of offer-to-close, as well as the percentage of hires that remain in a workplace for two years. For all of these, 80% and up indicate a good success rate.
What Service Am I Provided With for My Money?
There is no reason to shy away from this topic. You should know the ins and outs of the hiring process and what you’re investing your money in. Whether you choose to go with a retained executive search firm, where you pay something up front, or a contingency recruiter, where they only get paid upon placement, you want to know what to expect. Will they conduct the interviews or you? Will they take care of background checks and calling up references? How many candidates will they present you with?
Can You Provide Complete Visibility of The Process?
While you are choosing to outsource the recruiting process, you do not want to relinquish control altogether. In order to make sure that job descriptions match the specificities of the role, that your employer brand is represented the best way possible, that the right talent is being contacted and in a timely manner, you need to be in constant communication with the recruiter.
Decide on a means of communication, through weekly reports, Skype catch ups and all that is needed to keep your finger on the pulse. Make sure you know who from the firm is working on your search and that they’ll be available for your queries.
Do You Offer Any Guarantees?
From time to time, in order to compete in the recruiting market, some firms will offer guarantees, such as time to hire, a number of candidates they can provide you, and other metrics. Providing such a guarantee as a part of the contract is an indication that the recruiter is confident in their abilities and can back it up with results as well. One common guarantee is a replacement, should an employee quit after a certain amount of time. With this, you should insist on a period longer than a month, and ask for 3 to 6 months if possible, to ensure the employee is properly integrated into your company.
As with hiring any employee, the standard questions apply when hiring a recruiter as well. So don’t forget to ask about past experience, how long they’ve been in the field, if they can provide you with any recommendations, etc.
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