Employer Branding Talent Acquisition

Important Questions You Should Be Asking Your Recruitment Agency

So sure, I know that it’s the objective of in-house recruitment teams, to reduce the cost of third party expenditure, and recruitment agencies are top of the list. However, against all those odds, the agency industry continues to thrive and in fact, grow year on year.

If this expenditure is a concern but still a necessity, then we need to re-look at the engagement with the more positive and productive words; ‘investment’ and ‘value’.

What value does the recruitment agency bring, that brings a positive return on your investment?

The things you need to consider are:

  • Access to Talent – does the agency have unrivaled access to and the confidence of, the best talent in their specialist marketplace?
  • Specialism – does the agency know their onions about the kind of talent they promise to be the best at finding?
  • Methodology – does the agency still operate in a one-directional go-to-market strategy? Cold calls, one-to-many communications; factors built on limited market rapport?
  • Communication – does the agency communicate with regularity, honesty and with the expertise and authority that they know their market?
  • Brand – does the agency have a strong reputation in the marketplace? Your specialist talent in your business will know the best names in the market.
  • Maturity – does the agency representative hold the kind of commercial acumen necessary to talk with mutual respect with key talent in your desired demographics?
  • Unswerving Professionalism – does the agency show signs of wanting to absolutely step in your shoes and best represent your brand to their talent market?

These are all crucial, but I want to look at methodology very closely; as many of the others come under that heading.

We’re in a very mature digital age now, where the intelligence and data we have access to is unrivaled in the recruitment industry’s history. With products like Candidate.ID in the recruitment technology realm, we are able to track and segment talent pools into pipelines, by understanding the motivations of the candidates based on digital footprint and their behaviors.

When you ask a recruitment agency to earn their 20-30% introduction fee, you expect them to be at the forefront of digital engagement, as well as offline rapport.


Is their methodology one that dates back to the 90s, with cold approaches and volume sales calls? Or are they the 2018 agency that embraces the technology to gain the kind of insights that mean that *have* to the best access to the market? Moreso, they will also be an efficient organization, speeding up the time to shortlist because they have a better handle on the hire-ready candidate audience in the pipeline. Another great example of where technology is making the humans better equipped to their part of the process even better.

One way or the other, the agency must be the technology innovation adopters or in-house teams will adopt the technology themselves, and the agency who failed to evolve will have to step aside.

One thing is for certain, the cornerstone of a successful agency relationship, is when it is built upon mutual respect and a partnership; and these are the things you should be discussing together. The evolution of the ‘RPO style’ hybrid agency is a good thing for this partnership methodology, and is taking the acquisition of talent to a new level of maturity, as we move away from ‘Us versus Agency’, and into shared responsibility, what is the most efficient method, that has the best time-saving performance, and the optimum candidate experience.

Research well. Demand the best from your recruitment agencies, and demand the best of yourselves when measuring the performance and your relationship with them.

About the author: Steve Ward is generally regarded as one of the original practicing Social Recruiters, and is now a Talent Attraction Strategist, Social Recruiting & Branding Trainer, and Head of Staffing Agency Solutions with talent pipelining automation software, Candidate.ID.

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