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Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!

Today’s Question: Some employers have never worked with outside recruiting firms before, but they may be interested in doing so. This piece is for them. What do they need to know about working with third-party recruiters? Share the good, the bad, or the ugly – we’re looking for it all.


Bronwen Photo1. The Recruiter’s Not Being Pushy – They Just Want You to Get That Candidate!

When working with recruiters, companies need to be mindful of timescales. Often, companies drag their feet in terms of scheduling and conducting interviews, presenting offers to candidates, etc. Hiring is a two-way street, and companies need to remember that candidates are fielding other offers and other interviews. We’ve seen so many hires collapse because the company waited just a bit too long. The recruiter isn’t being pushy – they’re trying to ensure that the client sees the candidate before they’re off the market.

Bronwen Hann, Argentus

Lori2. You Need to Know What You Want

Nothing is more frustrating than an employer who doesn’t know what they’re looking for in a candidate. Provide a succinct description to recruiters – otherwise, it will be a waste of your time and the recruiter’s time.

Lori Dernavich, Growth Stage Leadership Advisor

Cathie Faerber3. There’s a Difference Between Retained Recruiters and Contingency Recruiters

It’s important to note that not all firms are created equal. The two most broad-based types of recruiting services are contingency firms and retainer-based firms.

Contingency firms are paid fees contingent upon hire. These firms will usually specialize by industry or level. It’s important to note that contingency firms represent the candidate. They do not receive compensation unless the candidate is placed.

Retainer-based firms are paid a retainer (100 percent of the fee is paid throughout several installments) and solely represent the company. These types of recruiting firms don’t necessarily specialize in any industry or function. It is their responsibility to canvas the market for candidates who are the best fit. These recruiters function more like consultants. Their guarantee periods are usually much longer than contingency firms’.

Cathleen Faerber, The Wellesley Group, Inc.

Tom4. It’s Important to Guard Your Intellectual Property

When you speak with a headhunter, you may mistakenly introduce them to other valuable employees or share your plans and other trade secrets. All of this information may be used against your firm down the road. Be careful, and guard your intellectual property closely.

Tom Armour, High Return Selection

Shane5. Less Is More

Don’t hire on every agency out there. Less is more – quality over quantity. It’s wise to select 3-5 agencies max. The last thing you want is your role posted everywhere, which may lead to oversaturating the market (not a good thing in the long run). You want to strike the balance: You don’t want your company’s roles to be the role that everyone in town has heard about, but no one is interested in pursuing.

Shane Bernstein, Q

Aaron6. ‘Fit’ Works Both Ways

It’s important to find a partner that can accommodate your needs with the right industry experience and a successful track record with other other, similar firms. A recruiting firm that sells a broad range of services will be able to offer a broad range of solutions for your needs.

That being said, a relationship is a two-way street, and you should consider how you can make yourself attractive to a recruiter – many of whom are turning away business in this tight employment market This may mean partnering with your recruiter to provide quicker, more detailed feedback or taking other actions that make you a more attractive client.

Aaron Green, Professional Staffing Group


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