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Working with and selecting the best recruiter to help you with your staffing needs is as important as finding the best possible candidate to fill a vacancy. Selecting a search firm should not be a matter of flipping a coin or sheer guess work. All recruiting firms are not alike! You will be sharing confidential information with your recruiter and spending thousands of dollars. So, you need to make the extra effort to select a firm that can best handle the search, understand your unique needs and represent your company.

How should you decide which search firm to choose? When you select a search firm, you should have a complete understanding of the services to be provided, their methods of operation and limitations effecting the search, as well as who specifically will handle your opening. You should know the quality, professionalism, reputation and track record of the search firm. References can also be important. All of this information can be obtained by interviewing the search firm, just as you would interview a candidate.

The following are some basic questions you should ask a search firm before you give them an assignment to fill. There will certainly be other questions that may be unique to your company or your company's needs that will supplement this list.

  1. How long has your firm been in business? How long have you been a recruiter? What training have you received? Does your firm have ongoing educational programs or requirements for staff?
  2. Does the firm specialize in your industry?
  3. Does the firm belong to any professional organizations or associations that have a code of ethics?
  4. Does your firm have any Certified Personnel Consultants "CPC's" on staff? (A Certified Personnel Consultant is the highest professional designation in the recruiting industry).
  5. Does your firm participate in any organizations that will handle arbitration in the event of miscommunication between us?
  6. How does your firm operate: Locally? Regionally? Nationally?
  7. What resources will your firm provide to assure me that the best candidate will be researched and identified?
  8. What are the steps in your process when working on an assignment?
  9. How will you perform and what can I expect from you as my recruiter?
  10. Can you help develop the job description and profile of the candidate?
  11. Will you be handling the salary negotiations?
  12. What kind of follow-up can I expect during and after the hire?
  13. What is your company's reputation?
  14. What is the background of the particular recruiter who will be assigned to the search, his/her knowledge of the industry, and therefore, their capability to satisfactorily complete the assignment?
  15. Do they believe in personally visiting the Client Company to understand the organizations personality?

In summary, choosing a search firm should not be done by lottery or chance. It should be a conscious step toward solving one of management's many important problems. When taking the time to choose the right search firm, you make finding the right candidate a matter of fact, not luck.


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