Getting the Most from a Recruiting Firm

As with any successful relationship, working with a recruiter will be more productive when each party communicates well and understands how the other party works. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your relationship with a recruiting firm.

When to Call a Recruiter

You will typically call a recruiter when:

  1. You have a tremendous urgency to fill a position. Recruiters are often paid to circumvent the time factor.
  1. You have a difficult position to fill. You have run ads, offered referral bonuses to employees, checked with competitors, consulted with colleagues and extensively interviewed with no success. In this scenario, the recruiter offers a valuable window of opportunity – a “court of last resort.”
  1. You wish to be kept apprised of top-notch talent as it becomes available, regardless of whether there is a current opening.

What to Look for in a Recruiter

When choosing a recruiter, look for someone with a proven track record within your industry. This person will possess qualities such as intelligence, creativity, honesty, persistence, organizational skills and a sense of corporate maturity. He or she should also be a good listener and have an innate ability to “read” people.

What the Recruiter Needs from You

To help ensure a successful search, recruiters need a complete Position Description, including:

  1. Contact Information. This should include the hiring manager’s cell phone number in the event of time-sensitive information or requests. It is also important to return the recruiter’s phone calls in a timely manner.
  2. Duties and Responsibilities. This can be a “day, week or month in the life” of the position.       Include a basic description of what you are looking for. The recruiter may ask you to divide the time into percentages for what is required in terms of administrative, technical and supervisory types of tasks.
  3. Salary and Fee. The last thing a recruiter wants to happen is any misunderstanding at the eleventh hour. That is why recruiters are trained to call in at the highest levels in a company and make sure that someone who can approve the fee does so. It also explains why the fee is cleared in both percentage and dollar amounts.
  4. Hiring Process. Determine who interviews, where the interview takes place and within what time parameters. Provide a “drop-dead date” that you cannot go beyond and then allocate time as needed to ensure the recruiter has enough time to find the ideal candidate.
  5. Recruitment Information. A recruiter will ask who the hiring manager wants for this position—in other words, a prospect’s name. If this is unknown, consider which companies you respect, including your competitors, fro which you might want someone.       This, then, becomes the recruiter’s target “extraction” marketplace. This is where recruiters get the “headhunter” moniker.
  6. Chemistry Matching Information. This might be the most critical piece of information, because all good hires are based on strong chemistry matches. People hire people with whom they develop rapport, i.e., people they like, believe, trust and understand. Provide opportunities for the recruiter to speak to key corporate people and conduct site visits where possible.

How a Recruiter “Sells” Your Opportunity

The recruiter must constantly be prepared to answer the prospect’s often non-verbalized question, “What’s in it for me?” Candidates will change jobs for a combination of factors. The six major reasons can be remembered with the acronym “CLAMPS”:

Challenge of the new position

Location of the position

Advancement potential



Stability of the company

It is important to be aware of these motivating factors and take steps to ensure your company offers as many of them as possible. Top talent wants to work for top companies.