Vetting a Recruiter: 7 Questions You Need to Ask

Not all recruiters were created equal. Some may be more suitable than others to find the perfect job for you. Certain experiences, relationships and accreditations may be exactly what you need to land your dream job.

So, what are the questions you must ask when vetting a recruiter to see if they’re right for you?

Are you specialised?

The best thing you can possibly do for your job search is work with a specialised recruiter. Professionals who know your industry inside out are your best bet for finding your dream job. Those who know the top employers in your field and exactly what they’re looking for.

General recruiters are great too. But in highly skilled roles like Facilities Management, the more your recruiter knows about what you do, the better.

How many years have you been working in recruiting?

The number of years’ experience your agent has in recruiting can greatly influence their success. Whilst it may not be true for all recruiters, generally, the longer they have been in the business, the better they are at preparing their candidates.

It is important that you ask both how established the company is and how long your own recruitment consultant has personally been working in the industry. This means you can be sure they know exactly what to do to find you your perfect job.

Have you worked with *company you’re applying for* in the past?

Recruitment firms and their clients have unique relationships. If you ask if they have worked for the company in the past and how long for, you can gain an insight into their bond.

Even when they’re not working exclusively together, many clients still have preferred recruiters. They trust the recruiter’s judgement in sending the best quality candidates. If your dream company and your agent have a great history together, things could definitely start looking up.

How many candidates have you placed there? 

This is similar to the previous question, but with real life application. Your recruiter may have searched for the employer before, just unsuccessfully. In some cases, this could hint that a different firm has a better edge with said client.

Your recruiter’s actual success in placing candidates with the employer is telling of their relationship. If the company is confident the recruitment firm sends great workers, they’re more likely to trust them again.

vetting a recruiter candidate shaking hand with recruiter

How many in this role?

It may sound like we’re repeating ourselves, but it’s crucial you go into depth with your questions. It’s important to check their success in your niche, particularly if your recruiter is not specialised in a particular industry.

Your agent may have had great success in finding lunch ladies for the cafeteria in that company, but that has absolutely no bearing on how they’ll bag your senior executive role.

This question ties in with asking about the recruiter’s specialisation. For instance, a facilities management recruitment firm would be hired, unsurprisingly, to find FM professionals for an employer. That means they may already know about the exact facility and the kind of skills you will require. More importantly, they could already know from their previous candidates’ experience what it is like to work for that company.

How do you assess candidates?

Before you agree to work with any recruiter, you must ask how they assess their candidates. There is a huge difference between this and the actual recruiting process so it’s important that you ask.

Your recruiter should take plenty of information from you in order to add you to their database. Some may even ask you to come in and demonstrate some key abilities, like mathematics. Then, when it comes to the hunt, they’ll already know if you’re suitable for each job.

Do you have any formal qualifications?

A critical part of checking whether your recruiter is qualified to do your search is, of course, checking their qualifications. Be sure to ask your recruitment firm if they are members of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

This is the professional body that sets standards for the recruitment industry. If your agent is a member, you can be sure they can deliver a high quality and personal service. The REC also offers a range of qualifications to their members. So, if your recruiter has successfully completed formal training, you know they are suitable to complete your search.

Even without asking your agent directly, you can see if a recruiter has achieved the REC accreditations yourself by looking at their email or LinkedIn profile for these acronyms:

• CertRP (Certificate in Recruitment Practice)

• DipRP (Diploma in Recruitment Practice)

• MIRP / FIRP (a member or fellow of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals)

Finding the right job is extremely important to you, so it’s vital your recruiter is qualified enough to do the work for you. By asking the right questions early on, you can find the best recruitment firm for you and greatly increase your chances of landing your perfect role.

To talk to one of Maxwell Stephen’s recruiters, please call on 0207 118 48 48 or email info@maxwellstephens.com.

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