The Technicalities of Screening Technical Recruitment Agencies
There are a lot of recruitment agencies out there. Some big, some small; however, all propose a variety of competitive advantages, sometimes in direct relation to their sizes. We’ve discussed the validity of some of these declarations in a previous article that spoke more broadly about industry-specific recruitment. But now it’s time to delve into a particular group of industries. If you need to enlist the help of a recruitment agency to find IT, engineering, or other types of technical professionals, how do you tell the difference between the big successes and the big talkers?
Traits of trustworthy technical recruitment agency
When you’re looking for the best and brightest technical professionals to join your team, be it on a temporary or permanent basis, it can definitely be worth the investment bringing aboard a specialized recruitment agency that can shoulder the burden. However, while the agency will be tasked with all the complex decision making that goes into recruiting – from launching attraction campaigns to screening applicants to shortlisting candidates they feel you’ll be most impressed with – you have a complex decision of your own to make. The last thing you want is to sign a contract with a recruitment agency that doesn’t live up to their end of the bargain. Remember that before they start trying to hire for you, you’re actually doing some hiring of your own – you’re hiring them. So here are a few things to keep in mind while screening technical recruitment agencies:
- Positions filled
First and foremost, always think carefully about your specific goals. If you’re in the energy sector, who do you need? A contracts administrator? An electrical engineer? If you’re in IT, do you need a data analyst? What about a business analyst? Can you foresee needing either one – or several of each? Always ask the recruitment agency you’re speaking to about the specific roles they’ve placed as well as how many and how long ago. Also, consider certain non-technical roles you have open that might benefit from being filled by individuals with technical backgrounds. Look into the agency’s track record regarding that, too.
- Depth of candidate pool
At the end of the day, a recruitment agency is only as good as the candidates it can place. So just how deep is that pool? And what’s in thewater? Remember that while a smaller, local agency will claim intimate knowledge of your local market, they may be pretty limited when it comes to whom they can present to you. What if who you really need lives in another city and would be willing to move for the job? Will the smaller agency even be able to connect with such a candidate? On the flipside, a larger agency may boast about their numbers, but does quantity equate to quality? When it comes to certain specialized technical jobs, it’s important to be open to people who may not be in your local market. In this sense, a larger agency might be your best bet. Still, not all are created equal. Ask how they manage remote recruitment. What technologies and processes do they have in place to mimic locally occurring recruitment as closely as possible?
- Applicant evaluation
Of course, that a recruitment agency can conduct interviews and assessments, even remotely, isn’t as important as how they do it. Is the agency able to lay out their entire process – from their attraction strategies, to the tests they rely on, to the timelines they adhere to – and explain why their methods are effective?
- Experienced recruiters
A recruitment agency that specializes in technical fields has to have recruiters that speak your language and the language of those they’re evaluating on your behalf. Who are the recruiters that will be conducting the searches? Do they have technical backgrounds themselves? How many years have they been recruiting for your industry?
- Industry connections
A recruitment agency that places candidates in the mining sector, for example, should have connections with various mining associations,with schools known for churning out future mining professionals, and with top-performing mining candidates who have been particularly happy in the placements the agency has found for them.
- Self-assessment of service
How do the recruitment agencies you’re considering ensure they’re not only doing a good job, but are making effective efforts to improve their services? What metrics (such as fill rate and turnover) does each of them use to measure their effectiveness? How often do they touch base with their clients? Do they perform regular check-ins by phone? In person? Both? Are they flexible? What kind of reporting options do they offer?
- Thought leadership
It’s not enough these days for a recruitment agency to simply say on their website and brochures that they’re leaders in their industry. In addition to providing you with case studies about their successes, a true leading recruitment agency should act like a leader, proactivelydemonstrating their expertise by sparking conversations with clients, potential clients, candidates, and job seekers via a blog like this one or other forms of value-added content.
- Reputation and recognition
Finally, consider not just what a recruitment agency itself has to say; consider what others have to say about them. Who are their references? What awards or other forms of recognition have they received not only from various associations and institutes, but from their clients as well.
If you’re in the market for technical professionals, but require the assistance of a specialized recruitment agency that hits every mark discussed above, feel free to connect with our team at Roevin, Adecco’s engineering and IT division.