- Follow the Reputation
One of the quickest ways to discern a great firm is to ask your colleagues who they would recommend. This will help you to feel more confident in making the connection, and because you came to them on referral they will have a bit of extra motivation to deliver for you since they are certain to want to receive more referrals down the road. Whether you ask your coworkers or others in your network, be sure to find out who has provided the best talent they’ve seen, and ask if they have been placed by any great firms in the past.
- Get Specific
Recruitment has become increasingly specialized over the years. While some of the big firms still handle the full gambit of searches, most small to midsized firms have some areas of specialization. Ask any firms you are considering if they specialize by region, function, level, or industry. You may find that it’s best to have several different recruiters who you use for different types of positions, so it can be helpful to compile a pipeline of reputable firms who have a variety of focus areas.
- Ask for Metrics
Search firms employ a variety of metrics as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). One of the fastest ways to determine a firm’s effectiveness is to ask them about some of these measurements for success. One of the most telling metrics is the time-to-fill, which indicates how long it takes from the start of a new search until successful placement. Likewise, asking about their offer acceptance rate will give you an idea of how well they close offers once they’ve been made. Any reputable firm should track some kind of metrics, so ask for the numbers when you’re introduced.
By following these three steps, you should be confident in your chosen recruiting partners. Depending on your needs, you may even work with multiple firms simultaneously – it all depends on your business and the roles you need to fill. Use your network to your advantage in narrowing down the options, find firms who have full candidate pipelines in the specialties you’re searching for, and make sure you ask them to quantify their success to ensure that you are making the perfect match every time.