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How to Select a Recruiting Firm 

You have an open position and you believe you need to select a recruiting agency to help you find the Unicorn you are looking for, so now what?  We have conducted over 2,000 searches for a variety of companies in just about every industry. We have heard many stories about the horrors of using an agency recruiter and other recruiting services.  From our years of experience, we have come to learn that there are a few key factors that a company should consider in helping them effectively identify what recruiting firm is right for them.

As consumers, we spend money on all kinds of goods and services.  We’d suggest that you should evaluate recruiting firms in much the same way you evaluate where you want to eat, where you get your hair cut, what dentist should clean your teeth, or what doctor should treat your ailment.  Diligence in the beginning will save a lot of time and headache in the end! Here are a few things to help with your due diligence as you begin your search for external recruiting services.


We start with reputation because if all the other boxes are checked, but this one, then you should run for the hills! You will not likely find a single recruiter who will tell you that they are not reputable or worth their salt. That said, do not rely on the agency to tell you how good they are. Look for independent feedback, reviews on LinkedIn, Google, Glassdoor, or elsewhere. Check their references. Reputation in the eyes of the consumer matters most!


If you have a shoulder injury, are you going to go to your psychiatrist to solve your problem? If you need your hair highlighted are you going to Supercuts?  Of course not! 

The second factor in identifying the right recruiting firm is finding someone who specializes.  This will ensure they have deep knowledge and experience in the area that matters most to you.  If you need to hire a programmer, we advise someone who specializes in recruiting programmers, and maybe even specializes in the type of programmer you seek.  They will likely have the deepest network and can ensure quality and speed to hire.

Proven Process

You likely have processes that you deploy to ensure you can deliver your goods or services.  Without them your results would be inconsistent and likely lead to unhappy customers.  Think McDonalds! 

If your recruiter can’t explain how they plan and execute their work to yield your desired result without confusing themselves or you in the process, I’d suggest they may yield inconsistent and marginal results at best.  Ask them to walk you through their process from end-to-end.  If they have one, they likely have a great reputation and many reviews and recommendations. (See Reputation above).


Like with any technology, it is only as good as its user.  I could lump this into the “proven process”, but it is important enough to stand on its own.  Find out what systems and technologies they deploy to ensure your search can be run efficiently and with high quality results so your job can get filled quickly and affordably.  Gone are the days of the rolodex and the lateral file.  Having a world class tech stack is key to any high performing recruiting agency.

Delivery Options

Talent delivery models can vary.  Find out if your firm has recruiting services or options that you can evaluate that can most effectively and affordably meet your need.  It may be that you have been using a hammer when what you really need is a screwdriver.

Check out our services page online to take a look at some of our unique approaches to best meet the needs of our clients.


I save this one for last, because it will help you determine if the agency you seek to help you fill a critical role will put their money where their mouth is. 

  • Do they offer money back, or a replacement candidate?
  • How long will they guarantee their work product? 

Don’t forget, though! Recruiters cannot be responsible if their candidate quits due to poor management, bad culture or company politics, weak on-boarding, or organizational misalignment that keeps them from thriving in their job. If you do your part, the guarantee will likely be a moot point.

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