Should you stick or twist?

I set up Acquire Digital Talent with the belief there was a better way for companies and recruiters to work together. Our mission statement describes how we help our customers overcome difficult challenges, therefore I wanted to create a blog that imparted our knowledge with you to do just that. Help, guide, and advise.


When working with a recruiter for the first time, it can be a challenge to determine if they’re the right recruiter for you and the position you’re looking to fill.


Although my area of recruiting expertise is within Digital Marketing, the following is good advice for any role, in any industry.


Here are a few questions to ask your recruiter which should give you the guidance as to whether you should stick or twist.


Let’s check out their credentials….


If a recruiter tells you they’re a specialist in a certain area, don’t just take their word for it. Make sure you dig a little deeper. I’ve seen many a recruitment agency website talk about being a specialist, then advertising for roles in totally different areas. The narrower the expertise, the better. The way you can determine this will be asking things like;


‘What were the last 5 roles you placed and with who?’


You could even take this 1 step further and ask for the name of the candidates. Any recruiter worth their salt will be more than happy to talk about the people they have placed, and quite rightly so. Most of us do a great job.


LinkedIn is also a great place to do some digging. See who you’re mutually connected to. Do you know these people well? Have they used him/her before and can they give you a reference, even if it’s a thumbs up (or down)?


I’ve always been fond of LinkedIn recommendations. I’ve worked hard to get them and built up a tidy collection, some by people in my niche that are well known and respected, working in awesome brands. Make sure you check out their profile and again see who has taken them time to write them a recommendation. Are they the types of people you would want within your organisation? If yes, great. This recruiter is playing in that network!


So, you’ve checked out the credentials and things look positive. Good first step. Now let’s see if they’re a smooth operator.


How do they work?


By this I mean what process do they like to work in? How do they source candidates? And how do they qualify them?


This is also a big part where you come in. If it’s cheap and cheerful you’re after, then it’s a cheap and cheerful, transactional (bum on seat) recruiter you will find. The ones that pick-up CV’s from job boards, might (or might not) bother to call them to see if they’re right for your role and pick up a 15% fee for not adding much value to the process.  This is at the core of what is wrong with the recruitment world, therefore whatever you do, please don’t fuel it.


Here you want to be speaking with those niche experts who talk to you about working in a retained way, or at the very least on an exclusive basis in order to do a great job. Do they talk about meeting candidates? Due to my own location and covering London and digital hubs in the EU, I’ve never been too concerned about this, however with the use of video technology, having video Skype calls is just as easy as having a regular phone call. Talking about networks and searching passive candidates through tailored messaging are all thumbs up fighting talk you want to be hearing.


Lastly, you want to look at cost. When I talk about cost, you need to think more about value. There is no point paying someone a low fee who doesn’t know the market, doesn’t put any time into the search, and puts you at a huge risk that the hire won’t work out. Not working out doesn’t just mean you potentially lost the 15% fee you just paid, re-hiring can cost a business 33% of an employee’s annual salary! Thank Glassdoor for that stat.


Assurances or rebates as you might have heard before. These are the shouldering of the responsibility of the new hire. Most should offer you 3 months, but you can certainly find better. We as an example offer a sliding scale over 6 months for our customers who work with us on a retained basis. That’s rest easy at night cover!


So, there you have it. Not an exhaustive list I’m sure, but if anything, hopefully, it provides you with a solid foundation. Get positive responses on what we’ve spoken about above and you’re on to a winner.



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