Hiring can sometimes be a nightmare. You need someone to fill a position quickly, but you’re not sure where to look, or you don’t have time to take care of it on top of all the other things you have to do. There are lots of companies dedicated to servicing this issue, but weeding out the good ones from the bad can be almost as confusing as actually hiring for the job you’re looking for. This week, we’re here to help you make the distinction a little more painlessly. Here are four qualities of a successful staffing agency:
A Good Curated Network
A good recruiter knows that their strength only extends as far as their contact list will allow it to. Any respectable staffing agency will place the highest emphasis on making sure their candidate pool stays “free of leaves” and will screen their candidates extensively before adding them to their database. Bear in mind that a great network only stays “great” if it’s updated constantly. Look for companies that maintain a strong presence within the professional community and seemed to be as engaged now as they were 5-10 years ago. Otherwise, you may end up with a list of people who were fantastic prospects – a decade ago.
Before you get too excited about the size of a company’s database, make sure that they actually have a strongly established network for the region you’re hiring in. If they claim to hire all across Canada, press them about the areas that they say they have the strongest presence in. If yours is one that they’re still “developing”, then it might be best to find another agency.
So the agency has a solid network in your area and a strong commitment to keeping it that way. Seems like a great time to jump on board with them, right? Well, not so fast. Before you decide whether a company is right for you, make sure that they’ve actually got experience hiring for the field and the type of position you need. A recruiting organization dedicated to helping young professionals might not be the best place to find new senior management; likewise, a staffing firm with a history of helping marketing/sales professionals probably isn’t going to have the right structure to help you find a new mobile app developer. Do some research on the companies you’re considering and observe whether they’ve hired successfully for the areas you need. Meet with them and ask them questions about the industry and see how comfortable they are with the subject matter.
They Communicate & Ask Questions
When sitting in a meeting with a representative from the agency, there should be plenty of questions being asked from both parties. If you’re the only one who seems curious, then that should be a big red flag. Hiring can be a complicated process, and every company has very different ideas about what the ideal employee will be. A good recruiting organization will maintain a constant dialogue with you to make sure that they know exactly what you’re looking for. This an on-going process, since new questions can come up on almost a daily basis. For example, if someone has a great personality and all the skills required but only has 4 years of experience instead of 5, should they be considered for the role? Regular follow-up is key in ensuring that stellar candidates don’t slip through the cracks in those kinds of situations.
Staffing is already hard enough without creating another headache by wrestling with ineffective recruitment agencies. Bad hiring can cost an organization thousands in a very short amount of time, so focus on finding the one with the right connections, location, knowledge and engagement before you fork over any of your hard earned cash.
L. Wang | Contributing Writer