Keeping Up Our Standards


Keeping Up Our Standards

By: Alan Davis

Here’s How To Select A Recruitment Firm That Will Give The Service You Need

There’s no secret – many 3rd-party recruitment firms have poor reputations. One of the reasons for this is that many of their recruiters are paid on a commission-only basis, which encourages them to put more emphasis on making a fast placement rather than conducting a thorough and comprehensive search to produce the best candidates.

When more than one recruiting firm is involved, an unhealthy competition ensues, with a scramble for the same pool of candidates.
While competition to secure business is healthy, competing for candidates for the same mandate promotes unprofessional ism. More importantly, the client rarely gets a choice of all the best candidates.

Selecting a 3rd-party recruitment firm should be no different from selecting any professional service: get to know the people involved, check prior performance and methods of working. Typical questions you might ask fall under three main headings:


  • How large is your firm and how long have you been in business?
  • What is the background and experience of your consultants?
  • How do you pay your staff: salary, commission or a combination of the two?
  • Who will be interfacing with me?
  • Who will be interfacing with the candidates?


  • Which companies have used your services before?
  • Which of these companies will provide references to us?
  • Which positions have you recruited?
  • How many positions of a similar nature has your firm filled in the last twelve months?
  • What is the retention rate of candidates you have placed?
  • What is the promotability record of candidates you have placed?


What search methodology and screening techniques would you use in order to ensure the best candidates are presented for my requirement?
What are your fees, guarantee, and general terms of doing business?
How long will it take to complete this mandate?
Do you have an off-limits policy and a non-raiding policy?
How much information do you give the candidate about the employing company?
How visible is your recruiting and screening process to the client?
Once you have chosen a company, whether it’s on the basis of search or contingency placement, you must work in partnership with them to produce a successful outcome.
You can help achieve this as follows:

  • Invite the recruitment firm to your premises to see the working conditions and to meet the hiring manager for whom the incumbent will ultimately be working.
  • Give them enough information about the job so that it can be adequately and objectively described to prospective candidates.
  • Tell them about the intangibles – the interpersonal dynamics, previous incumbent, corporate culture.
  • Provide a written job description.
  • Agree on all terms and conditions and the parameters of the search prior to commencement.
  • Given them enough time to do an outstanding job of search and screening for the right calibre of candidate.

It’s important to be objective when selecting a recruitment company. The more time you spend in making the right choice, the better your chances of successfully filling the mandate. Be sure to select on quality and service, not just price.

What is the promotability record of candidates you have placed?

The Author:

Alan Davis is founder and President of Alan Davis & Associates Inc., 450-458-3535

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