11 Things Employers Need To Ask Before Engaging A Recruiter

by Sirius People

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The one fear that many business owners and hiring managers have is making a bad hire.

Not only does it cost you and your team productivity, morale and your employer brand, it also has a major impact on your bottom line.

According to a survey by The Australian, a bad hire can cost your business 2.5 times the employee’s salary.

So, if you pay a bad hire a salary of $100,000, it could end up costing you $250,000.

That’s a steep price to pay for someone you thought would help your business.

So, when you bring in an external professional to help you find and hire a new employee quickly, there are certain questions that you should ask to ensure that you and your recruiter are on the same page about what you and your business want and need in a new employee before you start working with them.

Here are...

11 things you need to ask before engaging a recruiter

1) What recruitment do you specialise in? / What’s your experience recruiting for this role?

Not all recruiters specialise. So if you have a niche role to fill, you might be better off going with a recruiter who has built up their knowledge and subsequently a talent network dedicated to this particular niche.

They know their market, which means they’re not scrambling to find someone who matches your business needs — they already have narrowed down those candidates. It’ll come down to someone who will be a great cultural contributor to your company and who will be more likely to stay for the long haul.

2) What can I expect from your service?

Recruiters are often more than just the person bridging you to candidates — Oftentimes, they also offer a more consultative approach and feedback.

While it’s always great to get another person’s opinion and knowledge of the current candidate market, you also want someone who will actually listen to you and your business needs to find the best person for the role.

When you’re narrowing down what recruiter you’d like to work with, make sure they don’t talk down to you or talk over you. You will likely end up with a candidate that isn’t well suited to your company because they think they know your business better than you do.

Look for an empathetic recruiter, who knows their market and will use your knowledge of your business to their advantage.

3) How often do you receive recruitment-relevant training?

With new legislation coming into Australia, it’s important that you know that your recruiter is the most up to date with laws pertaining to hiring. You don’t want to work with someone leaves your business open to legal compliance matters.

A simple way to know whether your recruiter is up-to-date is asking if they are APSCo-recognised. The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) is an internationally recognised brand that drives and supports accountability and legal compliance of its members. APSCo Australia works directly with legislators across all states to ensure that any new regulations regarding hiring are implemented into their certification process.

To learn more about APSCo and what training a certified recruiter would have received, click here.

4) What’s your process for screening candidates before sending them over to me?

Working with a recruiter will be your candidate’s first step into your company. Asking this question will allow you to see what kind of background checks your recruiter will provide and whether they can tailor their screening process for your company culture and expectations.

It’s also a great way to see if your potential recruiter asks illegal interview questions. Here are some common ones they should be avoiding.

5) How do you eliminate bias in your candidate sourcing and shortlisting?

With diversity and inclusion at the forefront of every business owner and hiring manager’s mind, it’s imperative that your potential recruiter is on the same page as you.

After all, having people from many different backgrounds (age, gender, race, culture, education, etc.) means that everyone has different life experience, and will bring different perspectives and ideas into your business. In fact, research from McKinsey & Company shows that ethnically diverse companies are 35 per cent more likely to outperform their non-diverse equivalents.

Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done, as we all have our biases. For instance, researchers at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto sent out 13,000 fake resumes to over 3,000 job postings and found that people with non-Western names were 28 per cent less likely to get an interview, even when their qualifications were the same… in 2017.

This problem isn’t unique to Canada, but it does raise an important question: How can recruiters remove a candidate’s name and other identifying features from a CV to look solely at a candidate’s qualifications?

The software is out there for name-blind recruitment, so ask your consultant what they’re using to eliminate bias.

6) How will you get to know my business?

In other words, how much effort will you put into getting to know my company’s culture and our business needs?

A recruiter won’t be able to do an effective job if they don’t make an effort to get to know your business. So, make sure you’re not wasting your time waiting for them to deliver the service you expected when they haven’t put in the ground work to know your company culture, expectations, goals and current challenges.

7) From your experience, what makes a “bad recruiter”?

Like in every industry, recruitment has its bad apples. And at some stage in your life, you’ve probably had that conversation with a friend or acquaintance about an experience they had with a bad apple in your industry.

“That journalist said he was 25, instead of 26! They’re lying to us!”

“That doctor was very dismissive and said she was being dramatic, but it turns out her rib was broken!”

“That developer was meant to add an SSL certificate, but deleted our entire theme instead and proceeded to tell me that it wasn’t his job when I asked him to fix it.”

By asking your recruiter what they think makes a “bad recruiter,” it ensures that they’re aware of what’s going on in their own industry and what negative stereotypes they need to avoid.

It also gives you both the opportunity to define and manage your expectations before you start working together.

8) What other roles have you filled that are similar to the one I am looking for / hiring for?

Similar to the “specialist” question earlier, this ensures that your recruiter has a history of recruiting within the same talent network or at least has some contacts in a similar industry so they can find your new, skilled employee quicker.

9) What do you do differently to other recruiters?

Much like your own business, there’s something that makes a recruiter stand out of the crowd. Might as well what that is up front — it could make a huge difference in your final choice.

Some great differentiators you may want to consider include:

  • They’re focused on building relationships — They work with great candidates throughout the candidate’s career; they stay with their clients to understand the business to its core.
  • They offer a more consultative approach — If they see a gap in your business that could be hurting your ability to attract and retain great candidates, they won’t hesitate to let you know.
  • Etc.

10) What happens if you go on holiday or leave your current job?

When you’re outsourcing your hiring to a recruitment partner, you need to make sure that the job goes on smoothly — even if they’re not there.

Find out if and when they’re going on holiday, and who will be covering them whilst they’re away. Find out if the person will be actively covering for them whilst they’re away, or if they’re only there to answer any questions you might have.

Also, find out what the procedure is if they decide to leave their current job. This may include getting in touch with their direct manager, so make sure you have that contact information before deciding to work with them. It also makes it easier for you to leave any well-deserved feedback for your recruiter, good or bad!

11) Are you APSCo recognised?

As touched on in an earlier question, ask your recruiter if they are APSCo recognised. This takes away the stress of any of the thousand things that could go wrong during the hiring process and ensures that your recruiter is qualified to support your company.

For instance, with the Labour Hire Licensing legislation that came into effect in Queensland and Victoria in late 2018 and April 2019, respectively, the state governments did not directly notify every business that would fall under this new legislation. It’s up to the company to be up-to-date with the latest legislation that would affect their business. While there are recruitment-specific news sources, APSCo will notify their members of changes to legislation that will affect their business and their clients’ businesses.

If you’d like to find out more about how APSCo certification works, click here.

We are currently working toward becoming a fully APSCo-recognised company by the end of 2019. Our management team is now fully certified, and we are also rolling it out to our specialised recruitment consultants in the coming months to ensure that we are proactive and compliant throughout every stage of the recruitment process.

To learn more about working with an APSCo-recognised recruitment partner and how our specialised recruitment consultants can help you find your next highly-qualified employee, please reach out!

Hiring Manager

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