So you’ve decided that a specialist recruitment agency is better-placed to find your ideal candidate than a high street firm or recruiting in-house. Great – you’re halfway there in the battle for the best talent. Now it’s time to consider your options.

Not all recruitment agencies will deliver on their promise of providing fully qualified candidates, that will fit culturally and stay the course – whilst saving you time.

Here are ten signs that should mean bells are ringing – and not the way recruiters do when they’ve filled a role.

1. The agent accepts the job brief you’ve emailed over and are happy to run with it ‘as is’

A professional recruitment consultant will not be happy to accept a job brief that is full of buzz words or phrases like ‘the candidate must have great interpersonal skills’ but lacks any real substance. What does ‘great interpersonal skills’ mean to you? Is it somebody that can talk confidently at board level or is it an amiable extrovert that radiates enthusiasm to the whole team and so can get them on board with new ideas?

To find the right talent, a professional recruitment consultant will dig deeper into what your ‘ideal candidate’ looks like.

2. You’re not questioned about your company or culture

We have spoken before about the importance of hiring for cultural fit. Getting the right candidate will also depend largely on your employer branding i.e. what sets you apart.

Your recruiter should therefore drill down into these issues before they put down the phone and start their search.

Hire candidates with the right skills and fit with our Top Interview Questions for Cultural Fit 

3. They don’t ask to meet you

We can’t stress enough how important it is that a recruiter truly understands your business, the team and your culture. And nothing compares with seeing it first-hand. So if a recruiter is not pushing to meet you and for a site visit, something is amiss.

4. The consultant can’t answer basic industry questions

A credible consultant will provide advice and guidance on the state of the market, typical salaries and where the best candidates can be sourced from. They should also be aware of general industry news and trends.

5. They won’t push back on any unrealistic expectations

You may go out to market with a very realistic view of what candidates you can get in exchange for what you can offer  them. If so, great. If not, an experienced consultant will be confident to push back on any expectations that are unrealistic. If you’re offering a below-market salary or don’t provide a compelling and unique Employer Value Proposition your recruiter should outline what skills and experience you can expect to get for your money.

Something usually has to give – the budget has to be increased or the expectations lowered. We tell clients that you’ll often only find a candidate that meets 8/10 on your checklist. In this instance, our job is to inform you how others are approaching the skills gap and what skills or experience we have seen easily transferred to different roles, time and again.

6. The agency and consultant’s LinkedIn profiles have minimal updates or reach

LinkedIn is a valuable tool in recruitment, especially in the current candidate-driven market, with a skills gap in many industries. Tapping into the passive market is becoming increasingly important and therefore the number of relevant, actively engaged LinkedIn contacts is vital.

7. They sound shifty when you ask about their candidate feedback process

Lack of feedback can negatively affect your employer brand.

A decent recruiter should treat candidates with the same respect that they provide clients. They will able to inform you of what feedback is provided to candidates (and have candidates willing to attest to being provided feedback – even when unsuccessful).

8. The latest recruiting technologies aren’t used

Video interviewing and personality testing are becoming increasingly important to our clients. They can help speed up the recruiting process and shortlist candidates that are not only right on paper, but a good cultural fit.

If your recruiter doesn’t offer the latest services, question how this will affect your recruitment ROI.

9. They can’t advise on the best recruitment process for the roles in question

Each role is different and will require a different mix of techniques. A specialist recruitment consultant will be able to talk you through whether there are likely to be several suitable and active candidates available or whether they will have to search the passive market.

They should also be able to advise on the recommended format and number of interviews for the role. This will help ensure that you get the right person, without putting decent candidates off by making them jump through hoops disproportionate to the opportunity.

10. They are happy to be one of ten recruiters working on a role

Working with lots of agents can often have the opposite effect of what clients are generally looking to achieve: a dedicated, thorough service with fully-qualified candidates on a quick turnaround.

A good recruiter can rise to the challenge, but if they are one of ten recruiters, it’s unlikely that they will receive the level of insight needed from you to provide exceptional candidates.

At Cast UK, we believe that good (service) is not enough. Just okay is not okay. We go the extra mile.

Our Edge recruitment bundle delivers a best-in-class candidate experience alongside extensive employer branding elements, delivering benefits such as a 57% reduction in time-to-hire and 75% reduction in time spent interviewing.

Find out more about our Edge service below.