We are thinking about using a professional recruitment firm… what questions should I be asking?

There are so many options when it comes to recruiting.  Many organizations are really good at utilizing on line resources to attract qualified candidates.  They are particularly good at crafting awesome postings which appear to drive traffic to their website.  The only problem is… they are still not finding the “right” candidate for their openings.

When organizations have called me to discuss potential requirements, they often ask some standard questions about timing, cost and previous experience.  What they don’t ask is about our process.  Think for a moment how easy it would be if you really could put a posting up and voila.. all sorts of qualified candidates apply and you actually are lucky enough to get one of them to accept your job offer?  It isn’t that easy… why?  Mostly because we are dealing with Human Beings!  People have reasons for moving along in their career and it is not always about money.  In fact, it is very seldom about money.  It is about the entire experience of work.

In any event, if you are thinking about engaging the services of a Professional Recruiter here are some things you may want to ask:

1.  What do they need to know from you in order to be successful in attracting the “right” candidate?

2.  What is their “track record” in terms of completing assignments and candidates staying in the job?

3.  Have them explain “their recruitment process”.  If they can’t articulate it, chances are they don’t have a well defined process – they may just want to send resumes to you and ask you “what do you think”?  Be careful about a recruitment firm where the consultants ask you what you think.  You should ask them what they think and why they sent the candidate to you!

4.  Ask what resources they will engage in order to fulfill your requirement.  Are they a “one person” show or do they have other resources in order to attract key talent for you.

5.  Ask them if they only work with “active” candidates or do they have a strategy to attract “passive” candidates.

6.  Ask them if they have any experience in recruiting similar types of roles ( it doesn’t have to be exact but you need to be comfortable that they have the capabilities to be able to represent your organization in the marketplace)

7.  Ask yourself… do I see this firm as an extension of our organization?  Would I be proud to announce that I have engaged the services of this particular recruiter?

8.  Ask about their fees… not just their recruitment fees but about the entire invoice that you might receive at the end of the search.  What are the “hidden” or “surprise”costs which might come out at the end.  Make sure they let you know what to expect around the total cost of the recruitment initiative…


It is difficult to ask questions when you don’t know what to ask.  If you find yourself needing some assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!