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How To Choose The Right Recruiter: 9 Characteristics To Look For

What characteristics should you look for when hiring an external recruiter to fill an open role at your organization? 

To help your company to know what to look for when hiring an external recruiter to fill an open role at your organization, we asked HR experts and business leaders this question for their best advice. From starting with a network of industry contacts to investing in search skills, there are several tips that may help your organization when hiring an external recruiter to fill an open role at your organization.

Here are nine tips for hiring an external recruiter to fill an open role at your organization:

  • They Are An Extension Of Your Brand
  • Network Of Industry Contacts
  • Knowing What We Do And Why We Do It
  • Vision, Culture And People
  • Think About The Attention Required
  • Technical Know-how
  • Different Perspective From Your Current Team Members
  • Investment In Search Skills

They Are An Extension Of Your Brand

The interview process is the kick-off point for your onboarding experience and says a lot about how you will treat that person once they are on your team. When working with external recruiters, you should look for a firm that is both able and willing to be an extension of your brand.

Nicole Spracale, Coaching and Consulting

Network Of Industry Contacts

When I am looking for an industry recruiter, I look for a network of industry contacts. We work primarily with dentists, so when hiring an external recruiter to fill an open position in our role, we want them to find someone with the knowledge and background needed to work in dentistry. There are different recruiters that specialize in different industries, so find one that suits you and your company. 

Henry Babichenko, DD, Stomadent Dental Lab 

Knowing What We Do And Why We Do It

When working with external recruiters, it is imperative that they know and understand our business. Oftentimes, recruiters will place us in a general engineering category, but pipeline pigging is a very narrow specialty within that sector. In order to ensure we are finding the right candidates, we need our recruiters to not only know what we do but how and why we do it.

Noah Downs, American Pipeline Solutions

Vision, Culture And People

As the owner of a recruiting agency, hiring externally is the best way to quickly and effectively fill an open role. When looking to do business with an external recruiter, you should look for a company that doesn’t just focus on numbers and filling a quota. You should look for a company that focuses on vision, culture, and people. At Recruiterie, our dedicated executive recruiters take a unique approach to every client, helping to identify culturally-aligned leadership to drive your mission. Make sure you are working with companies with this idea in mind. 

Jon Schneider, Recruiterie

Think About The Attention Required

We’ve hired two recruiters to help us fill different roles at our company and have done the SEO marketing for staffing agencies. Choosing the right recruiter depends on the role. For executive or senior level positions, working with a boutique firm can help add the level of intimacy needed to find the right person for a key position. For more turnkey roles, we’ve worked with an agency that specializes in staff augmentation to help satisfy our employment needs on a short and long term basis. The more important the role, the more attention that is required of a recruiter. 

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

Technical Know-how

The most important thing for me when it comes to hiring an external recruiter is that they have some technical know-how. When you are looking at a resume covered with an alphabet soup of certifications, the recruiter needs to know what they mean versus what I need. Otherwise, I’m going to end up with a stack of qualified applicants who just happen to be qualified in the wrong technologies.

Mark Varnas, Red9

Are They Active On Linkedin?

Someone who is brand new to the area, fresh out of school or new to the career field may not have many connections or resources to tap. Likewise, someone who is not involved with related professional associations and networks may be missing some of the most qualified possible candidates. Is the recruiter active on LinkedIn or other business sites that may provide additional connections or recruitment resources? How large is their own network on that site? The more connected your recruiter is, the more recruitment resources he/she/they will bring to your search.

Colleen McManus, Senior HR Executive and Consultant

Different Perspective From Your Current Team Members

When hiring an external recruiter, you should look for someone who will bring fresh ideas to the table and help your team look at things from a different perspective. That said, your external recruiter should be different from you and your team members! It might seem trivial, but it’s a common mistake to look for people that think alike and have similar backgrounds. However, these people usually won’t bring a different type of creativity or out-of-the-box thinking your team might be lacking. On top of that, they also won’t challenge your team enough to go beyond its comfort zone and do things differently. Do you have a team of experienced HR professionals who have been with your organization for a long time? Think of hiring a recent graduate that recently created a successful start-up and has a strong social network he can use for your benefit. Be open to other recruitment opportunities and bring some new blood to your team.

Dorota Lysienia, LiveCareer

Investment In Search Skills

How have they invested in their search skills and ability to headhunt? Any recruiter can put an advertisement up and screen candidates, but how has your recruiter invested in the ability to source candidates that are not on the market? Ask for statistics on how many of their placements come from search activities rather than ads. Additionally, a good recruiter will be able to succinctly talk through their process on how they decide whether a candidate is a good fit for your role. Avoid recruiters that are simply “resume sources” who will flick resumes at you until they make a placement.

Ineke McMahon, P2P Learning and Development

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