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A guide to choosing the right recruitment agency (for employers)

Let’s face it, who you hire can make or break your business. So it should go without saying that choosing the right recruitment agency can do the same.

Identifying the perfect candidate for a role takes a very unique set of skills. Of course, no-one knows your company like you, but using an agency can bring considerable value. First, interviewing and approving candidates will feel far more streamlined, and you’ll waste far less time. Secondly, it makes your hiring process much more effective and gives you an edge in today’s competitive recruitment market.

However, before you approach an agency, make sure you’ve done your homework. Here are 5 practical tips for getting it right:

Make sure they have the right mindset

Different agencies (and especially different size agencies) often adopt very different approaches. You need to make sure that you are getting the kind of service that will produce the best results. At PA Business Support, our MD’s Sophie and Sabina have entrepreneurial backgrounds, and a lot of experience running their own businesses. Their leadership has engendered a highly pro-active and resourceful culture – two of the benefits of being a boutique agency. Many larger agencies employ a commission-based model to incentivise sales reps. This often results in an overly process-driven approach, which makes you feel like just another number. Our approach is tailored to each client’s needs and we pride ourselves on the attention we give them. That said, we are as selective about our clients as we are about our candidates because we want to make sure we can do a good job.

Find out how they source candidates

These days, candidates are just as likely to look for jobs on social media as they are on job boards. In fact, with the amount of recruitment agencies using LinkedIn, you want to make sure that your agency has access to their own existing, established network. This will have been built up over time, and mean they are able to make personal recommendations based on those relationships. At PA Business Support we use a variety of channels to search for candidates – but all of those we put forward for interview we will have already met and closely vetted.

Read their testimonials and case studies

Every agency will tell you how great they are. Their website may be full of bold statements about being client-centred and passionate, but how do you know if they are as good as they say? That’s where testimonials and case studies come in. Take a look at what their clients are saying – that will give you some insight into where their strengths and specialties lie. Case studies will also give an insight into their approach and how they address particular client challenges. Ultimately, you’re looking for a decent amount of synergy between what you’re looking for and what they’ve done to date for their other clients.

Be clear about what you want

Not being clear about your requirements can mean that the agency you think is perfect for you turns out to be somewhat off the mark. Different agencies specialise in different things. Even if they bill themselves as ‘general’ very often the recruiters themselves will have more experience in one type of role/experience/sector than another. PA Business Support’s speciality is high level executive PA and secretarial support. We also make sure to find out as much as possible about you, your company, and the role you are hiring for before even embarking on a search. But part of the responsibility falls to you, as the client, to be as pro-active and clear as possible when offering information.

Read their blog, follow them on social media

If you really want to understand what makes one recruitment agency different to another, read their blog and check out their social media posts. If you find their content insightful and interesting then that’s a good sign. But if their LinkedIn is purely advertising for roles, beware – they may be using a ‘spray and pray’ tactic as opposed to leveraging their network and using a targeted approach. At PA Business Support we produce regular articles offering insight into the world of recruitment and employment, as well as a range of topics we think our clients and candidates may find valuable. On our blog, you can read about things like how to scale up your business using a virtual PA, or perhaps you want to learn about why everyone is talking about ‘growth hacking’ – and we keep it regularly updated.

Why not streamline your interview process and gain a competitive edge over your competition? Call us now on 020 3621 8076 or click here for a bespoke service with a quick turnaround time.

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A bespoke approach to Executive & Personal Assistant recruitment in London & Internationally
6th Floor International House223 Regent StreetLondon, W1B 2QD
Company number: 09244730 VAT number: 202 4357 50