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For Employer

How to Differentiate a Good Recruitment Agency from a Bad One


September 28 • 10 min read

While recruitment agencies are generally beneficial to candidates and employers, they’re also a-dime-a-dozen, making it important to know what separates the good from the bad

When looking for talented employees in extremely competitive hiring environments, it is important to explore every possible channel, including recruitment agencies. However, as employment trends continue to shift and qualified candidates get lost like needles in the haystack of a rapidly growing workforce, the recruitment industry is also expanding to try and keep pace.

While it’s always good to have options, the significant number of firms available also means the possibility of working with recruitment consultants who are inexperienced, are from agencies that are uncertified, or at worse, are not too concerned with clients’ or candidates’ goals. As such, it is paramount to be able to differentiate good recruitment agencies from those which are less than ideal.

Remember: A Competitive Field Also Means Not-so-Fair Play

When considering working with a recruitment agency, it is important to first understand that the recruitment industry itself is fast-paced and driven by high-numbers and quick turnarounds. Unfortunately, this puts a great deal of pressure on some of the recruitment consultants, resulting in them, or even their entire agencies, getting ‘creative’ to meet their numbers.

Among these questionable ways is how some agencies claim to have relationships with employers, by way of viewing job vacancies offered by the latter on other sites, and posting it on their own as if they are the exclusive recruiter. Qualified candidates then apply through the agency, who send the applications to the companies. Unfortunately, the companies often refuse the applications because it is outside their own process or not through their official agency. Candidates miss out on the opportunity because they assume they’ve applied while they haven’t, and employers miss out on possibly qualified talent.

These and other such practices should be looked into. Fortunately, the legitimacy and success rate of a recruitment agency can be easily discovered by taking into consideration companies they claim are their clients and verifying with the said clients. It is best to ask about it all – from how long they’ve had a working relationship with the agency, to how many hires were successfully placed for them, and even how many candidates, and how much time was spent before hiring.

Take the Candidates’ Perspective

Professionally-ran recruitment agencies are well aware that they have two parties to please. One is the company or team they’re filling positions for, and the other is the candidates they are working to secure opportunities for. The following are some commonly recommended questions candidates ask before linking up with a recruitment agency. These questions could prove helpful to employers as well.

  • How long has the recruitment agency been established? If not too long, they might be a fly-by-night operation. Best to check their certification and business permits
  • How long have recruitment consultants worked there and how experienced are those people overall? While the recruitment agency may be new, the consultants there might still be experienced professionals.
  • Which employers did the agency place new hires with this year? How many new employees did they place into jobs last year? There is a saying that you’re only as good as your last performance. This might as well apply to recruitment agencies, where even if they supposedly have a “large pool” of candidates, their hiring is rate is low.
  • What are the types of clients they have? Who within my industry have they worked with and successfully placed hires in? In line with an exceptional track record, a good agency must also have success in and possess a substantial understanding of your industry. If not, then they likely don’t understand your hiring needs
  • Do they require candidates to pay fees? Legitimate agencies are paid by companies that need to do some hiring, so charging job applicants is a major red flag and is indicative of a not-so-legitimate operation.

Consider Their Approach

Finally, the manner which an agency conducts its recruitment is worth taking note of. Firms primarily concerned with numbers and profit tend to sell candidates on positions that aren’t the best fit. While it might be tempting to go the high-volume route and look at as many candidates as possible when urgently filling positions, the “hit-or-miss” approach is hardly effective and hardly results in getting the best matches.

Understanding the manner in which an agency and its recruitment consultants source and build relationships with candidates is also imperative. Firms who pride themselves in matching the right candidate to the right positions are always the ideal choice since it is much more beneficial for all parties involved when candidates are not only qualified, but are also interested enough to stay with the employer long term.

Agencies insisting on not-so-qualified candidates to fill positions just because they’re presently available to do the job, on the other hand, are not ideal, since such a strategy either results in a complete mismatch between candidates and employers, or a working relationship which doesn’t last too long for the two parties.

Kalibrr is a technology company that aims to transform how candidates find jobs and how companies hire talent. Placing the candidate experience at the center of everything it does, the company continues to attract the best talents from all over, with users of 1.6 million and counting. Kalibrr ultimately connects these talents to companies in search of their next generation of leaders.

The only end-to-end recruitment solutions provider in Southeast Asia, Kalibrr is headquartered in Makati, Philippines, with offices in San Francisco, California and Jakarta, Indonesia. Established in 2012, it has served over 18,000 clients, and is backed by some of the world’s most powerful start-up incubators and venture capitalists. These include Y Combinator, Omidyar Network, Patamar Capital, Wavemaker Partners, and Kickstart Ventures.

Need help with recruitment? Sign up for Kalibrr and start hiring better today! For more business and recruiter advice, follow Kalibrr on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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About The Writer

Hello, my name is Karina and I work as a freelance contributor at Kalibrr. I enjoy reading self-improvement books and working out. More about Karina

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