A Most Important Process Requires Thoughtful Planning

The effective recruitment of permanent and agencies is vital for companies today, especially with an abundant pool of qualified workers looking for work. More companies are looking to work with recruitment partners to help them deliver in an increasingly tight labor market.

“The key issue is how to choose an appropriate partner,” said Michael Townsend, President & CEO of Townsend & Associates, Inc., of Morris Plains, N.J., a prominent staffing & recruiting firm providing staffing solutions to Fortune 500, small- and medium-sized companies in a variety of industries. “Selecting an agency is perhaps even more important than selecting employees, as this agency is going to help move you to the next level. So have a thoughtful, measured plan.”

Townsend offers 10 tips when beginning the selection process:

1 – Specific Or General?
If your recruitment needs are fairly general, then you should look at a broad range of agencies.

However, if you are in a highly specialized industry, or require someone with very specific skills, you need a sector specific agency.

Ask for evidence of experience in that industry. Have they found candidates for your competitors, or has anyone in the company worked in that industry themselves?

2 – Check Their Screening Process
You are paying for a service to save you time and money – you do not want to be wading through resumes that are not applicable to the job specification, or sitting through interviews with candidates who are clearly not suitable.

Furthermore, does the agency check their candidates’ references? If you are filling a permanent position this is an essential task. If you do not have time to do this, choose an agency, which does as a matter of course, or ask specifically for this service when vetting your prospective recruiter.

3 – Speak To Someone
The quality of their personnel will reveal a great deal about a recruitment agency. They should be up to speed on employment law that applies to you. They should ask you lots of questions to determine the skills you require.

4 – Look At Their Mission Statement
Do they subscribe to rigorous codes of practice and standardization? Look for indicators of a commitment to high performance and ethics.

5 – Do They Practice What They Preach?
Do they believe in professional qualifications and developing their own staff? Look for recruiters with industry qualifications, qualified consultants will be conversant in the legal, ethical and business issues, and trained to select and interview candidates for accurate matching.

6 – Can You Complain To Their Industry Body?
Are they members of an industry body with a complaints and disciplinary procedure? This gives you added peace of mind by offering you considerable leverage in the event of a complaint.

7 – Everybody Loves Them
Have previous clients left testimonials in praise of the agency? Good recruitment agencies often have glowing sound bites from satisfied customers, and case studies from successful projects.

8 – Experience Of Armies Or Individuals
Do they have specific procedures for dealing with the needs of small and large projects? Recruiting a single permanent staff member is a world away from coordinating an army of temps, and their recruitment policy in each sphere should reflect this.

9 – Hear The Pitch
If you are still unsure, why not invite the agency in for a sales presentation? This gives them an incentive to do their homework on your industry and an opportunity to showcase it. A good performance tells you they are committed.

10 – Commitment
With the increasing focus on diversity in the workplace, a number of companies are looking to work with agencies that have a real commitment to delivering effective diversity strategies.

“Follow these 10 commandments, so to speak, and you’ll be poised for a successful relationship,” added Townsend. “One that will bode very well for your company’s future.”


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