10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Executive Search Partner
Knowing how to pick the right recruiting firm can help you hire the right workers to grow your business. As the economy recovers, many companies are getting back into the hiring game. While plenty of businesses choose to tackle the recruitment and hiring process on their own, others seek out the advice of recruiting and staffing agencies.
If your business is thinking of taking the leap and hiring a recruiting firm, here are 10 questions you should ask during the process. These questions have been culled from industry publications and experts.
1. How long have you been in business? You want to select an experienced recruiting firm that has a good reputation and has been around long enough to have built a large network of available and qualified candidates. A newer firm might be able to offer only a limited range of qualified candidates.
2. What type of clients do you represent? Asking the recruiting firm to describe its typical client will help you better understand the firm’s focus. Does it align with your own company’s plan of action? Always ask a potential firm for client references who can speak about the quality of the firm’s service.
3. What is your industry specialization? You will want to use a firm that knows your industry and has a significant network of professionals within your niche. This ensures that they have the ability to identify candidates that can provide value upon hire very quickly.
4. How do you check the qualifications of prospective candidates? Determine how a firm customizes its candidate search process beyond reading resumes. Find out if it conducts reference checks and employment background checks or skills testing when screening candidates for their level of qualification.
5. Do you have available candidates? Get the firm’s success rate in placing candidates with companies that are similar to your own. Be transparent about your budget so you can get qualified candidates within your salary range.
6. How collaborative are your recruiters? Some firms give recruiters specific company assignments, which means you may get job candidates from an individual recruiter’s candidate list rather than from a company-wide list. Once you know how collaborative and integrated a firm is, you will be able to better assess how its relationships with clients and job candidates are managed and assigned.
7. What’s your time period for placements? Ask the recruiting firm for time estimates. How long will it take before you see qualified resumes and get a candidate you can hire? Does the firm provide a guaranteed period for job placement? Is that time frame reasonable and binding?
8. What is your placement success rate? The length of time a new hire stays in a filled position often reflects the placement success of a firm. Ascertain whether the firm has filled more temporary job positions or more permanent positions. The more permanent positions, the better that firm’s success rate.
9. What options do you offer to accommodate my recruiting needs? Some recruiting firms only operate on a retained basis, obligating you to use them exclusively and/or obligating you to pay them regardless of outcome. While that model has the highest level of success, it may not meet your needs. Another option is a shared risk approach where the recruiting firm receives a small partial upfront payment. This is a step below a retained search, yet still ensures you are receiving dedicated time and resources for a period of time to identify candidates. It holds the firm accountable to provide you results. Lastly, do they offer a contingent search option? This option may suit you well because it requires no upfront payment and you only pay if a successful hire is made. While this is the industry’s most popular service, it historically yields the lowest success ratio.
10. What is your billing process? Recruiting firm fees usually vary by the type of position you want to fill. For mid- to lower-level positions, the recruiting firm will usually bill you once a placement is made and charge you a percentage of the hire’s first-year compensation.