The Definitive Guide To Recruiting Agencies

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When building and growing your company, there is nothing more important than having good staff. All your hard work to create perfect products or services and add clients goes out the window if you cannot reliably build a strong team ready to deliver what you provide.

To make things even more difficult, the hiring process can be incredibly challenging. The hiring process is constantly changing, and the industry is highly competitive for top talent. It is no wonder that for most businesses, one of the biggest concerns is recruiting talent. However, despite all the challenges, and with the help of a professional recruiting agency, it is possible to find the right talent who will fit your company culture and boost your business forward.

So, what is a recruiting agency, and how does it work? Why should your company use their services, and how can you properly choose the right recruiting agency for your business? These and other questions will be answered in this extensive guide to recruiting agencies!

Ready to start? Contact CIBR Warriors for the fastest way to qualified employees!

What is a Recruitment Agency?

A recruitment agency poses as a middleman between employers and employees, handling the tasks of identifying top talent, vetting candidates, and presenting the best candidates to clients. Recruitment agencies are usually confused with employment agencies; however, they are not the same. While a recruitment agency serves employers, employment agencies work with job seekers. Also, a recruitment agency emphasizes on finding top talent for permanent positions, including upper-management and executive job positions.

How it Works

So, how does a recruiting agency work?

When a business or organization needs to hire new staff, they will contact a recruitment agency specialized in their industry. The company will then specify the job requirements, the number of employees required, the pay rate they offer, and the work period (is it a temporary or a permanent position).

Once the company chooses the right recruitment agency for them, the hiring process goes like this:

1. An Agreement

When a company has decided to work with a specific recruitment agency, they will first need to come to an agreement. The first thing is to agree to payment terms, typically, a retained or contingency fee structure. However, they will also need to decide on their expectations for the work. For instance, some recruitment agencies offer a guarantee period. This is a good thing since it ensures that a company will receive a great hire. Nevertheless, if the latest hire is not a good fit, the recruitment agency will go back to the drawing board and continue to search for the top talent.

2. Profiling

The next step is a meeting between the company and a recruitment agency to discuss the company’s hiring needs. The company may need to fill multiple positions or have a critical executive position open that must be urgently filled. Whatever the case may be, the agency needs to gather as much information as possible to identify and attract the best candidates for the open position. 

The company usually provides:

  • A clear job description.
  • A list of requirements.
  • Necessary skills and attributes.
  • Any other important criteria.

3. Sourcing

After the previous steps are done, a recruitment agency will then scour their database and networks for qualified top talent and use influencers to reach potential candidates within their unique networks and circles. When the agency finally creates a list of possible candidates, it will screen these individuals and conduct interviews. In general, only 2% of applicants will reach interviews.

4. Interviewing

First, the recruiting agency will organize candidate interviews to understand the candidates better and whether they are a good match for the company. During the interview process, the recruiting agency will brief candidates on the company’s needs, culture, and long-term vision. After the interview process and the narrowing down of the candidate pool, a recruiting agency will brief the company on the candidates and organize final interviews. On average, it takes about three interviews before an offer is extended to the candidate.

5. The Offer and Negotiation

A recruiting agency handles the offer and compensation negotiations with the candidate. By taking over this part of the hiring process, a recruitment agency saves the company’s time and ensures the potential candidate has a primary point of contact throughout their experience.

6. Onboarding

Once a candidate accepts the job offer, the recruiting agency might assist the company with the employee onboarding, which can be very useful since only around 12% of employees are satisfied with their employers’ onboarding efforts. However, this is not the only thing a recruiting agency will do. Beyond assisting both parties in completing the necessary paperwork for employment, the recruiting agency will also continue to make sure that the new hire feels comfortable in the new company.

Why Should You Use the Services of a Recruitment Agency?

There are a couple of reasons why any company, no matter the size, should work with a recruitment agency. They are:

1. A Recruiting Agency Can Identify Talent

A recruiting agency works with both businesses searching for top talent and professionals who hunt for the next big career opportunity, which is one of its biggest advantages. The agency is ideally positioned to be in the know and operate as a mediator between the two parties. The knowledge a recruiting agency possesses about avoiding hiring an unfit candidate is very valuable. Good recruitment consultants know who is looking for a job, how capable they are, and what sort of salary expectations they might have.

Once an employer creates a vacancy and establishes a role criterion, a recruitment agency can search for suitable people for the job position. The ideal talent is usually the one who is not actively searching for a career change but would consider it if the right opportunity presents itself. A professional recruitment consultant has a solid network and a clear idea of where to find such people.

Another advantage of using a recruiting agency is its extensive knowledge about particular segments of the job market and the top talent available in specific localities. A recruiting agency will also learn about employers’ goals and requirements, which means they can source top talent who are capable of providing what an employer is looking for.

2. An Agency Knows How to Advertise the Role

Sometimes when a company advertises its open job positions, they don’t get the applications of the expected caliber. They are looking for an experienced professional with niche skills, but the applications they receive simply don’t hit the target. This generally happens because of poor marketing – the talent they need often don’t even see the advert, and if they don’t see it, they can’t apply for it!

The advantage of a recruitment agency is not only in their advertising of open job positions, both online and offline but also in their active search for top talent who can fit the job description. A recruitment agency can directly contact talented people they know, having helped them find a job before, and invite them to apply for the open position. Some people might not be actively looking for a career change, but their offer could tempt them.

3. An Agency Can Negotiate the Wages

The last thing any company needs is to get to the end of the recruitment process, having found the ideal candidate and made an offer, only to discover they are worlds apart on wage and benefits. Before entering wage negotiations, a recruitment agency can help a company benchmark its wages against other companies in their industry and provide insights on current trends. An agency can negotiate on behalf of both sides and agree on a mutually acceptable salary package. If both sides are aware of the other’s goals and expectations from the start, there will be a greater chance of sealing the deal.

4. An Agency Can Interview Candidates

An agency can perform interviews on an employer’s behalf, saving them time and money. A recruitment consultant will first conduct a candidate screening to start the process of narrowing down the candidates. This will allow them to learn more about the potential candidates on their shortlist and eliminate any unsuitable people from the process. They will also conduct background checks of candidates invited to interview, relieving the company’s HR department from this obligation. During the final round of interviews, a recruitment agency can also advise which interview questions to ask and which to avoid. 

5. An Agency Can Deliver Temporary Employees

By using the services of a recruitment agency, companies can increase or decrease their staff levels as needed. They can deliver professionals for permanent roles, but also employees suitable for temporary positions (16 million temporary employees are hired every year).. Companies may need emergency cover for their absent employee, or they may need additional staff for a specific project that’s getting underway. A recruiting agency can easily find employees willing to start the work almost immediately, meaning there is no time wasted getting these people up to speed.

6. An Agency Can Offer Industry Insight

Recruiting agencies spend every day working to provide staffing solutions for businesses across various industry sectors, from financial services, interim management, and finance and accounting to technology and office administration. Because of it, agencies have substantial expertise and job market insight, locally, nationally, and internationally, which companies can tap into as they plan their recruitment strategy. Recruiting agencies understand employers’ needs, their expectations of candidates, and the impact of supply and demand on the jobs market overall. This means that recruiting agencies are ideally situated to help companies make educated decisions, which can only positively impact their bottom line.

How to Choose the Right Recruiting Agency?

Here are the five most important steps to go through to ensure you’ve made the right choice of a recruiting agency:

1. Narrow Down Your Search

This is probably the most important step of all, and if done right, it will help you on the succeeding steps later on. First of all, consider what type of recruitment agency you need? If you’re looking to fill a temporary or a contractual job position, then a staffing agency is your best option. But, if you’re looking to fill an executive role, then a headhunter agency might be the one you need. However, if you’re looking to fill a full-time job position, then a traditional recruiting agency is what you should opt for.

2. Be Clear and Concise

The second step in choosing the right recruitment agency for your company is to elaborate on your business needs. It is best to be as clear and concise as possible about this, so the recruitment agency knows exactly what type of talent to look for. The best thing is to plan what you’re going to talk about before contacting a recruiting agency. Think of answering these questions:

  • Do you need to fill one or more job positions?
  • What roles are you trying to fill?
  • Are these positions permanent or temporary?
  • Is it management or entry-level?
  • What kind of previous experience do you want the potential candidate to have?

These questions will help the agency in its search for the perfect talent for your organization. Also, don’t avoid talking about your company, as well. Some points to discuss are company background, your mission and vision statement, company values, corporate culture, detailed description of the work environment, and more. 

3. Interview the Recruitment Agency

Don’t shy away from interviewing the recruitment agency just like they are the candidate themselves. During the second step, they had time to get to know your company, and now it is your turn to find more about them. Try asking the following questions:

  • How long have you’ve been running?
  • For whom have you been working so far?
  • How long does it take you to find the right talent?
  • What is your hiring process?

These and similar questions will give you an immediate impression of whether this recruiting agency is capable of meeting your company’s needs. Don’t hesitate to dig deeper into their background. Their preparedness to answer all of your questions will reveal how prepared and professional they are, as well.

4. See How Recruiters Work

Asking about how an agency operates is one thing, but seeing it in person is another. So, the fourth step in choosing the right recruiting agency for you is to check the experience of their staff. There are several ways to check this:

  • You can talk to the recruiters directly and ask what their methods are. What do they do to pre-screen potential candidates? Are they doing it in-person, or is it conducted via phone, or maybe online?
  • You can also ask recruiters how they are sourcing candidates? Searching for candidates on social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn is given, and it is effective since there are always individuals looking for employment. However, social media platforms represent only a portion of the talent market. A good recruiter will know that there are more passive candidates than active ones globally (70%, according to LinkedIn) and that these candidates can bring higher ROI than active ones. 
  • You can also check the agency’s testimonials and the feedback on the internet. There will certainly be reviews by previous clients stating their opinions on working with the agency.

5. Ensure Everything is Within the Budget

Once you are certain an agency has ticked all the boxes above, then make sure if you can afford their services. You know that they can provide you with the top talent; now you just have to discuss the numbers.

Talk to your HR team about this. Will it be worth it for your company to work with this agency? Is it within the budget? How badly do you need to fill in the job position? All of this can influence your decision.

You can always look at their prices before you contact them if you don’t want to waste your time getting to know them just to realize they are too expensive for you. You can find the info on their prices online (listed on their website) or by going through online reviews. You can also ask them directly once you decide to contact them. In any case, it is always important to inquire about their services, terms and conditions, and, naturally, their prices.

The recruitment agency fees also vary depending on the job position you want to fill. Agencies take into account these factors:

  • Number of job positions to be filled;
  • Type of industry;
  • Type of job position;
  • Type of job hire (temporary, permanent, etc.);
  • The salary, and more.


Running a business is a balancing act. And while having the right clients, good products, and the right infrastructure is important, having the right team to support your operations is vital for success. To effectively do your business, you need professionals to do their job and deliver great service. This is where recruiting agencies come into the picture. We hope this definitive guide has helped you understand the basics and how you can successfully use their services to ensure you have top talent working for your company.

Hundreds of new candidates are looking for job openings every day, and CIBR Warriors are there to help you find the right one for you. For more help on advancing your career or finding a perfect candidate in IT and Cybersecurity, contact us. We’d be happy to answer your questions and provide you with the best advice for getting started.

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