10 questions to ask when outsourcing your recruitment to an agency

Posted by | September 01, 2014 | Career Advice | No Comments

Recruitment agencies can be highly beneficial to companies; not only do they save your human resources department hours of time by narrowing down suitable candidates for you, you are guaranteed a much higher chance of finding a suitable candidate as they put applicants through a detailed screening process and you don’t have to pay out to advertise your vacancies in newspapers and other forms of media.

As you have to trust a recruitment agency with such an important task, you need to be sure that you ask them the right kind of questions to make sure that they can find you the right kind of people.

These are 10 very important questions to ask your agency when outsourcing your recruitment.

1.How many candidates do you currently have on your books?

This is a question of quality over quantity; you want them to have a large enough number to guarantee that they will have several people that could potentially meet your criteria but not too many as this could mean that they are not overly particular with the candidates on their books.

2.Do your consultants have background knowledge of our industry?

To find candidates with the right skill set you require it is always beneficial for your recruitment agency to have some knowledge of your industry and preferably already have placed well-suited candidates into similar roles.

3.Is it possible for one of your consultants to visit our workplace?

No matter how much detail you give to your recruitment consultant when describing what the position you are looking to fill entails, the best way for them to actually be able to pick the right candidate for you is for one of their consultants to spend a bit of time in your workplace learning about your values and culture. It’ll help them to find a candidate with the right kind of attitude and personality as well

4.Do you keep up to date on employment laws?

This is a necessity for any recruitment agency that you use; they need to be fully aware and understand lots of different pieces of important legislation including the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations, Working Time Regulations, the Employment Agencies Act, the Agency Workers Regulations, the Data Protection Act, IR35 and freelance tax status and the Equality Act. You should also ask how they comply with these legislations.

5.What process do you use for your own recruitment?

Obviously a recruitment agency has recruited its own consultants, so asking them what kind of processes and training they use will give you a great insight into the competency of their consultants and how thorough they are.

6.What if the placement doesn’t work out?

Even with the most rigorous and thorough screenings, tests and interviews, sometimes a candidate just isn’t the right fit so you need to find out if they do have a refund guarantee policy in place and what the cut off is, this is normally about three months. Whilst a good consultancy will refund you, a great one will actually go the extra mile and work out why the placement didn’t work out and how they can find a suitable replacement.

7.What systems do you use when scouting for talent?

This might seem a trivial question but really gives you a good insight into how well they search for their talent. A really good recruitment agency should conduct a variety of methods to find potential talent including social media, direct advertising and both formal and informal approaches. This will ensure that they can attract enough candidates with the right skill set to offer you a good fit.

8.Do you belong to the Association of Professional Staffing Companies?

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (ASPCo) is the self-described ‘badge of quality’ in the recruitment industry and all members have to adhere to strict codes of conduct and make a commitment to offer professional recruitment standards. If your agency is not a member or, worse, hasn’t heard of them, it is best to go elsewhere.

9.Is your agency a member of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)?

This is the professional body of the UK and protects you from a legal perspective. Like the APSCo, this means that the have to adhere to a strict code of conduct and ensures that they have Disciplinary and Complaints procedures in place.

10.What kind of testimonials and examples of success stories do you have?

A successful recruitment agency should have a lot of examples of companies that they have worked with. As well as this, they should be able to demonstrate that they comply with corporate responsibilities and legal regulations.

These questions will give insight into a recruitment agency as well as reassurance that they are reputable and will be able to find you a great candidate. It is the kind of working relationship that will prove to be very beneficial to your company.

About Mark Lennard

Mark has 24 years of experience in the UK staffing industry from working as a recruiter to setting up recruitment businesses within IT, Law and Medical sectors.