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!

This Week’s Question:What tips and advice do you have for employers who are thinking about working with an agency recruiter? What should they look for? How can they make the right decisions?

Jeff1. Do Your Homework

To choose an agency recruiter, do the same homework you would do when evaluating a candidate. Look at their LinkedIn profile for their experience. Is there an indication of their experience in the area you want them to work in? Do they demonstrate as much experience as they claimed in your conversation?

- Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jennifer2. Interview Them Like Candidates

Interview the recruiters just as you would a candidate for employment. Ask: Do you have candidates for my position already in your database? How will you find and assess the candidates for my position? How will you keep me up-to-date on the status of candidates? How long will it take to fill the position?

- Jennifer Brown, PeopleTactics

Dennis3. How Much Experience Does the Recruiter Have?

If you are recruiting for hard-to-fill skills sets — which is most likely why you are engaging an agency — you want to find the best candidates. Experienced recruiters have spent years setting up networks of great candidates. These candidates are not found on job boards, as they do not need to post their resumes. You hire the agency recruiter for their network of candidates that no one else can find. That is worth more than the couple of dollars per hour for a contract candidate or the few thousand dollars it may cost on a permanent placement to hire the best agency. Time-to-fill will be less and the candidate quality will be better. Those are the two most important aspects of a hire, and you cannot get them without using an experienced recruiter.

Dennis Tupper, Eliassen Group

Trevor4. Evaluate Their Terms

Often, recruiting agencies can be very rigid when it comes to talent procurement contracts and the like. The best recruiters are nimble and able to move quickly and creatively in order to help you and your company find and retain talent. The last thing you want to do is get stuck working with a recruiter that gets bogged down with inflexible terms.

Trevor Simm, OpalStaff , Talos Solutions

Sabrina5. Consider the Firm’s Expertise and Track Record

For permanent, strategic placements, employers should consider the firm’s expertise and track record in that industry vertical. When was the firm’s most recent fill? What’s the reach of the firm’s network? How large is the firm’s database? How often does the firm update candidate records and replenish its funnels? Is the firm tapped into passive candidate networks? What strategies does the firm use to uncover fresh talent?

Sabrina N. Balmick, ACA Talent

Evelyn6. Be Clear About What You Want

While agency recruiters are salespeople, a good one will listen to you and find you someone that’s a good fit. However, the employer has to know what they are looking for and communicate this to the agency recruiter. Your idea of intermediate Excel skills may be someone else’s idea of advanced skills. You must be clear in what you want in a candidate.

Evelyn Snow, The Winebow Group, Connect on LinkedIn

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