There are so many staffing agencies out there. How do I pick the best one for our organization’s needs?

You are right!  There are lots of choices but like anything else, you need to do your homework.  Start with a web search and check out their website.  Don’t get fooled by fancy language on the website – that’s nice but who are the people behind the website?  Do a google search on the “people” and see what articles and information you can glean from that.  Are they the type of people you want to represent your organization in the marketplace?  Do they have the history, credentials and reputation you would like to see?  Your brand is going to be represented by them.  Think about that!  Ask for references so that you can actually speak to some who can tell you what it was like to work with them.  Don’t just ask for client references but ask for candidate references as well.  You want to understand how they work through a recruitment process and how they treat the candidates who are applying to your open positions.  Many firms specialize in a particular area or niche.  That can be valuable and yet it can be limiting.  If you are truly looking for the best candidate, they may not come from your industry.  Hard as it is to believe, some of the best placements we have made in the past 25 years have been with candidates who have taken their skills and applied them to new markets.  The clients love it as they have a person on their team who thinks differently and sees possibilities where non existed before.  Candidates who cross over from other industries bring a wealth of information and insight and potential and should not be overlooked.  Working with a Professional Recruitment Firm who is willing to search broadly and not just in your market, might introduce you to some wonderful candidates you never would have thought of.

Invest in some time up front to search out your best options for a Professional Recruiter and you will not be disappointed in the results.

I am overwhelmed with recruiters calling me all the time to see if they can help recruit for some of our open positions. What should I be doing?

This is very annoying and can be such a time waster for you.  As the “in house” recruiter, whether you be the HR Manager or someone designated to doing recruiting, it can take up so much of your time when unsolicited recruiters call you.

First of all, find out if your company/organization has a policy around working with recruiters.  Is there a preferred vendor list?  If so, find out who is on it and stick with it until you can help change it.  There is no point in wasting your time with a recruiter who can’t be paid by your company because they are not on the list.  If you are happy with the service you are getting from the existing recruiters, there is no point making a change any time soon.  However, if you believe there is room for improvement, carve out some time in your week to actually take a call or two from those recruiters and ask them to walk you through their recruitment process.  If they are simply calling to “flog a resume”, they are not genuinely interested in working with you and developing a plan.  They should be able to properly articulate all the steps they go through to help you find the ideal candidate.  Listen to them and see if this is the type of person you can work with.  After all, you are trusting them with a large portion of your responsibilities so you want to be sure they are trustworthy!  Find out if they have the network and the “reach” capabilities to actually identify and recruit those “hard to find candidates” who don’t apply to postings!

You can make a change to another recruiter but don’t do it unless it makes sense for you and your organization.  Do your homework first and don’t switch just because someone presented you a great resume – see if they are in it for the long term with you!

Don’t be afraid to say “thanks for calling but we won’t be entertaining another recruitment firm in the near future”.  Sometimes, it is better to be direct and if the recruiter is listening, they will politely ask if they can continue to keep in touch with you in case your situation changes.  It only make sense – you don’t have time to waste.

Our company is having a terrible time trying to find top talent. We place ads and job postings but never seem to land the right candidate. What are we doing wrong?

Likely, you are doing nothing “wrong” but you could be doing it a bit differently!  First of all, have you considered working with a Professional Recruiter?  Remember, a recruiter is someone who does that for a living, day in and day out.  They know the “inside candidate market” because they are in it constantly.  If cost is a consideration, take a look at what you have spent in terms of lost hours on your job – doing what you do best, hiring inappropriately and having to terminate a person or having the vacancy cause stress and extra hours for those who are trying to pick up the slack at work.  If you start to add all those “hidden costs”, the investment in a Professional Recruiter is minimal.  Having said that, you need to be clear on what your budget will allow and tell your recruiter that.  Some recruitment companies will negotiate their placement fees.  Some will work “contingency” for you, meaning you don’t pay a dime unless you end up hiring from them.  The advantage there is, you can “see what they have” and compare to what you were able to find on your own and then decide if it is worth the fee to hire from their efforts.

One of the best ways to work with a Professional Recruiter is on a retained basis.  If you select a reputable one, you will not be disappointed.  It is as if they become an extension of your organization.  They will get to know what will work for you and what won’t in terms of “chemistry or fit”.  They will do their due diligence on how the new person will integrate into the role and become a productive member of your team faster and more effectively.   They will do the tedious work of organizing interviews and putting together appropriate questions so you are all set for your interview.  They will listen to you as you discuss the pros and cons of each candidate and help you narrow it down so you make the “right” decision for you and your organization at this time.   They will represent your organization with integrity so that a candidate will make an informed decision about joining you.  They will search the marketplace and not just wait for someone to apply to the role.  They will conduct reference checks and credential checks so you can rest assured the candidate “checks out”.  They will follow up with you to ensure the placement is going well and even help with “on-boarding” the candidate.

There is a general feeling that retained searches cost more, however when you factor in all the benefits of being able to hand this over to a trusted advisor, the investment becomes minimal with maximum returns.

We are thinking about using a professional recruitment firm… what questions should I be asking?

There are so many options when it comes to recruiting.  Many organizations are really good at utilizing on line resources to attract qualified candidates.  They are particularly good at crafting awesome postings which appear to drive traffic to their website.  The only problem is… they are still not finding the “right” candidate for their openings.

When organizations have called me to discuss potential requirements, they often ask some standard questions about timing, cost and previous experience.  What they don’t ask is about our process.  Think for a moment how easy it would be if you really could put a posting up and voila.. all sorts of qualified candidates apply and you actually are lucky enough to get one of them to accept your job offer?  It isn’t that easy… why?  Mostly because we are dealing with Human Beings!  People have reasons for moving along in their career and it is not always about money.  In fact, it is very seldom about money.  It is about the entire experience of work.

In any event, if you are thinking about engaging the services of a Professional Recruiter here are some things you may want to ask:

1.  What do they need to know from you in order to be successful in attracting the “right” candidate?

2.  What is their “track record” in terms of completing assignments and candidates staying in the job?

3.  Have them explain “their recruitment process”.  If they can’t articulate it, chances are they don’t have a well defined process – they may just want to send resumes to you and ask you “what do you think”?  Be careful about a recruitment firm where the consultants ask you what you think.  You should ask them what they think and why they sent the candidate to you!

4.  Ask what resources they will engage in order to fulfill your requirement.  Are they a “one person” show or do they have other resources in order to attract key talent for you.

5.  Ask them if they only work with “active” candidates or do they have a strategy to attract “passive” candidates.

6.  Ask them if they have any experience in recruiting similar types of roles ( it doesn’t have to be exact but you need to be comfortable that they have the capabilities to be able to represent your organization in the marketplace)

7.  Ask yourself… do I see this firm as an extension of our organization?  Would I be proud to announce that I have engaged the services of this particular recruiter?

8.  Ask about their fees… not just their recruitment fees but about the entire invoice that you might receive at the end of the search.  What are the “hidden” or “surprise”costs which might come out at the end.  Make sure they let you know what to expect around the total cost of the recruitment initiative…


It is difficult to ask questions when you don’t know what to ask.  If you find yourself needing some assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

Should we hire internally or recruit externally?

Many of our clients have been asking this question. Let’s examine the benefits of either option.
First of all, if you are hiring from within, it sends a message to your employees that your organization is serious about career planning and succession. It shows you value the investment the employee has made in their career with you. One question you may want to ask is… does this person bring with them some external experiences that they can blend with their current insight regarding your organization. If they have only ever worked for your company then perhaps they are lacking perspective. Progressive organizations look for people who are innovative, team players with great insight and LEADERSHIP skills. Generally, these companies value folks who are not afraid to take risks and stretch outside of their own comfort zone. If you have that person in line for their next promotion and have no doubt they can do it then go ahead and PROMOTE them!
On the other hand, many organizations are seeing the benefit of going to an external third party recruitment professional who can assess – not only external candidates by your own internal ones as well. If you have established a good working relationship with a qualified recruitment expert, you would have no reason to conduct an external search. This ensure equity when considering internal candidates. The feedback we have received over the years indicates there is much value in running a tandem search externally as well as internally. Often, the right person is “sitting right under your nose”
Other times, it gives you the assurance that you have done your due diligence in recruiting the RIGHT person for the role- whether they are from external resources or from within.

You are going to be interviewed for a leadership position?

Here are some quick tips…

Do your homework…what do you know about the company you are being interviewed by?
Remember as a leader you need to use “we” more than you do “I” especially if you are being considered for a leadership role! No one person can make changes – you need to be able to engage a team to make changes – be specific about HOW you did this.
Be prepared to give examples of your work.
People like to hear stories… true stories about you and what you have done in your career.
There are lots of things to consider but just thought I’d share a quick tip.