Need help hiring? Here’s 5 tips to choose a recruiter

Recruiting the right people can help your business grow and thrive.  

But how much do you really know about the employment market in your industry? How much time can you dedicate to finding candidates? How many hours will it take to read that pile of resumés and create a shortlist?

If you’re running a business, managing a team, or busy doing a million things as an HR all-rounder, you might be asking these questions right now. And when you’re competing with other businesses for the best talent, there are more questions to consider: Is it worth working with a recruiter, and how should you choose one?

No matter the size of your business, a recruiter can bring huge value by finding the best candidates effectively and efficiently. This can reduce vacancy costs and down time for your business. A specialist recruiter can also utilise their wealth of market knowledge for your industry to give you a competitive edge.

How can you select a recruiter that’s right for your business? We’ve asked recruitment experts for their advice.

  1. Weigh up cost and value

All businesses need to consider their costs, especially during tough economic conditions. When choosing a recruiter, how do their fees translate into value? For example, how much time will you save in the recruitment process? Will you gain access to higher quality candidates? Will you avoid costs associated with leaving roles unfilled, like reduced revenue or unrealised growth opportunities? What is the overall value a recruiter can bring to the hiring process?

“A lot of small businesses don’t have a talent specialist,” says Jim Roy, Partner, Page Executive. “They may have an HR person who is involved in compliance and safety or performance reviews, but there may not be someone dedicated to finding you the right person.

“That’s what a recruiter does. They take care of advertising, CV review and screening candidates based on your needs. This saves you a lot of time and hassle, because candidates will be coming to meet you who have already been assessed as suitable to work in your business.”

  1. Check their specialisation

Whether you work in manufacturing, finance or technology, you know your industry inside and out. By choosing a recruiter with specialist knowledge, they’re more likely to understand your needs and to have access to candidates with the most relevant skills and experience.

Roy says specialist recruiters can also share valuable market insights.

 “They may be able to tell you what the top of town is paying, for example, and they may be able to help you to benchmark your salaries.”

  1. Consider their network and reach

If you’re looking for people with specific skills, a recruiter with a wide network may be able to find them for you much faster.

Tyson McNeilly, CEO of Fuse Recruitment, suggests speaking to recruiters about their network and their reach. Do they have access to candidates from other states? Are they members of industry groups that they can leverage for talent?

“A recruiter can provide access to a candidate pool that may be quite difficult for SMEs to tap into, especially if you’re competing against larger businesses with more established brands”, he says.

  1. Discuss your timeline

Do you need to recruit quickly, or do you have some time to wait while a recruiter explores the market on your behalf? McNeilly says it’s important to discuss your recruitment timeline with a recruiter and ensure that they can meet your expectations.

“The role of a recruiter, particularly a specialist recruiter, is to identify and engage with the best talent available in the market. The art is getting that candidate to an interview,” he says.

  1. Check track record and references

Employees are your most valuable asset, so it’s important that the person sourcing them on your behalf has a strong track record. McNeilly recommends doing some due diligence before choosing a recruiter.

“It might be as simple as the way the recruitment agency takes the job brief,” he says. “Have they wanted to meet you in person to get a sense of your work culture, for example? Do they aim to partner with you, or do they take a more transactional approach?

Look for the agency that has the capability. Look for prior demonstrated experience of delivery in the industry or role types that they specialise in. Recruitment is about more than just getting a body on a seat. It's very much about support, onboarding, ongoing performance management and sharing feedback between all parties.”

Roy also suggests requesting client testimonials.

“Can they show a successful track record of relevant work? I would recommend talking to two or three recruiters to identify someone who can help your business, who understands what you’re looking for, and who wants to get to know your business – everything from your location to the work you do, your growth plans, and how you're structured. This means they are more interested in being a partner for your business and they are invested in its success.”

With limited hours in the day, how much time can you afford to dedicate to hiring? Working with a recruiter can save you time and bring huge benefits to your business, but there are important factors to consider. Speak to them about the value they can bring to your business, and make sure they have a strong track record for success.