Insider Secrets to Working with a Recruiting Agency

They are out there – some working from home and others working for Walmart-sized firms. Calling, emailing, and stopping by to visit you in person, recruiting agencies are growing rapidly as the employment market becomes more competitive.


The most difficult part in selecting an agency is trying to figure out whether or not they will deliver. While proper vetting beforehand is always a good idea, some insider questions to ask may help you in selecting the next firm you choose. Use these 5 steps to grade an agency before agreeing to partner with them on an important search.


How is their follow up?

Do they call you when they say they will? Do they answer questions in a timely matter? A recruiter’s follow up can be a close insight into how they conduct themselves professionally. If their follow up leaves something to be desired, chances are the candidates they are recruiting feel the same way.

What does their pipeline look like?

Be sure to inquire about their current portfolio of talent – ask for specifics and avoid accepting general statements like, “we have tons of candidates” or “our database has over 1-million resumes”.


What kind of feedback will they share with you about the talent market? If you’re building a new office and searching in a new market, what details can they provide to help secure better talent? As part of their service, market data and feedback should be a critical part of your talent acquisition strategy.

Is it a bargain?

This may sound self-serving, but stay with me: If you pay for what you get, why should your expectations be as high when paying a substantially lower fee than other agencies? The employment market will drive demand and typically self-correct pricing, be cautious of firms desperate for business whose fees are unusually low.

Ask for progress reports. Period.

It’s very important to know where you’re at with a particular search. On a weekly basis, your agency should be updating you with progress reports, good, bad, and indifferent. Hold them accountable for performance and ask probing questions like, “how many candidates did you interview this week?” and "of those, how close were they?"


I’ve been on both sides of corporate and agency recruiting – I understand the frustrations internal recruiting departments face when working with agencies. Use these 5 steps to help when selecting an agency and reexamining your current vendor list. It will save you time, energy, and effort the next time a search is being conducted by an outside agency.



Are they planning on posting the position on job boards? Will that duplicate your own recruiting efforts and possibly earn them a fee for something you've already been doing? Will this muddy the ownership waters when a candidate has applied on both job postings? Post and pray should never be used as an agency strategy - agencies are paid to search and select talent, not duplicate job postings.

About the Author: Robb Callon

Robb Callon is Senior Partner at Blue Point Search. He focuses on recruiting talent across the globe with a focus in major US markets. Blue Point Search helps companies become better through the candidates they hire. Our mission simple: deliver leading talent and game changers to top companies.