I’ve often consulted with clients and suggested that engaging a recruiter on Retainer is far smarter than doing so on Contingency. The basis of this is the quality of the relationship built on “Trust” that you develop with the recruiter. You as a hirer can expect that the individual will produce the caliber of candidates within the preferred time-frame that you require. You believe this, because you have an agreement in place and the recruiter has established some level of credibility. This is a great place to start, but it is critical to recognize that the “Object” of your confidence is as important as the method you have chosen to execute your search. (Retained)
Weak confidence in Thick ice is better than Strong confidence in Thin Ice.
I am referring to the selection of a recruiter. Selecting the right search methodology is only half of the equation. The next and equally, if not more important is the Who. You must choose well to ensure proper execution of your search, or you jeopardize the entire outcome. Simply because a recruiter can articulate the process and impress you with the correct vernacular does not guarantee that you’ve partnered with the right person. So, what must a hirer do to ensure they have chosen well? References.
Consider that the selection of a recruiter is as important as the selection of a final candidate and you realize that if you’re hiring a recruiting firm after a few phone calls, you’ve not done adequate due diligence to ensure you have the best possible search consultant. Just as any reasonable sales rep can sell themselves far better than they can actually sell in a competitive selling environment for a company, recruiters are well-trained at pitching the deal. But what you don’t know from a simple phone call or two is far more telling than you can imagine.
Before hiring a recruiter, you really should ask the recruiter what the last five or so searches that they conducted were and who they worked with at the companies? Can you call their client to see how happy they were with the process and as important, the outcome? How about clients from over a year ago? Can you call people to see how these hires worked out over time?
If the recruiter is worth his or her salt, they should have no problem giving you some recent clients to contact in order to dig down and find out what is beneath the veneer of their flashy pitch.
Ask the references these questions:
1. How long did the search take and what did the slate of candidates look like? Was the reference satisfied with the outcome?
2. How constructive was the input received by the hiring authority? Was it incisive?
3. How accurate was the recruiter’s input and analysis of the candidates? Was it all positive, posturing, or was it both strengths and weaknesses?
4. Are you happy with the outcome? How well has the hire performed compared to how you were told he/she would?
5. Would you retain the firm again in the future?
these are only a few of the more obvious questions that you should consider asking before making a selection.
Remember, recruiters are if nothing else, great at selling their pitch. You can expect them all to describe their Recruitment Process in spectacular detail, but the key question is do they actually execute that defined process or is it just part of the pitch?