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5 Questions Companies Should Ask Before Partnering with an External Recruiter

By Megan Greene on

For some organizations, the idea of working with a recruiting firm brings to mind exorbitant fees, a steady stream of the “wrong” candidates, and an outside entity that doesn’t understand the brand. And, truthfully, if you partner with the wrong recruiter, those concerns are valid.

So, what should you expect from the right external agency recruiter? And how do you know if partnering with a recruiting firm makes sense for your company?

Here are five questions to ask and answer:

Do you have the time?

This one’s pretty straightforward. If you don’t have the time or internal resources to recruit, working with an external recruiter makes sense. My firm, Communications Collaborative, is constantly building and maintaining a network of creative and marketing professionals—something a hiring manager simply cannot do when they have their actual “day job” to attend to, e.g. running a creative services team or overseeing an in-house agency.

Have you exhausted your search?

Some companies do have the internal resources to recruit, but what happens if the search has lingered for months? One school of thought is to hire an external recruiter once your internal team has exhausted their network/efforts. We recommend engaging internal and external resources simultaneously so your search moves as quickly as possible. Our firm is only paid if one of our candidates is hired, so there is no additional cost to working with us while working with your internal HR department.

Is it a tough-to-fill role?

Top talent is not easy to find. In many cases, they are happy where they are and not actively looking. Couple that with a niche role and your search becomes even harder. An external recruiter has the time, network and expertise to find these people. And a specialized firm will know the people specific to your space—copywriters, digital managers, designers, etc.

What is the firm’s tenure/experience in your market?

We see milestones like “15 years in business” and “celebrating our 25th year” so often that they can become white noise. Don’t assume a recruiting firm’s tenure doesn’t matter. In a market like New England, it’s all about who you know and how you keep in touch. A 30-year-old recruiting firm brings the experience and proven processes that will ultimately save you time and money.

Are you ready to trust an external partner?

Working with an external partner can feel like a leap of faith. Particularly if it’s a new, untested relationship. The right recruiting partner should vet candidates (so a hiring manager’s time is not wasted), know what can make or break a hire (skills, location, compensation, benefits), and understand how and when to discuss and negotiate the various logistics that go into a hiring process. If you’ve identified the right external recruiter for your organization, be prepared to provide robust input, maintain an open dialogue and, ultimately, trust that they can help.