How To Vet Recruitment Agencies

To get the most ROI from your recruitment processes, collaborate with an expertly managed staffing provider (MSP) like CSSvSource to handpick the best recruitment agencies. 

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To find the right internal people, partner with the best external agencies 


Your people ultimately make or break your company, which makes talent acquisition teams pivotal to your organization’s longevity. A CareerBuilder study found that one bad hire can cost up to $50,000 by the time ties are severed. You want quality talent coming in at an efficient pace, a coalescence of capabilities that only tried and true recruiting houses have.  

“To achieve staffing nirvana, collaborate with your MSP staffing partner to secure the perfect mix of resumes flowing through your VMS from an elite set of competing agencies,” says Andrea Micucio, CSSvSource Managing Director.  

There are countless factors that make a recruitment agency successful from its interview-to-offer ratio to its preexisting candidate pool. Once you’ve determined which agencies to staff with, your MSP partner can filter top-tier talent through their fluid application, pay, and benefits systems to simplify processes while maximizing candidate coverage. Here are the key factors to consider when vetting recruitment agencies.  


Before your external search, identify your internal search criteria  


A fatal flaw in choosing staffing partners is failing to understand your own needs first. Work with your internal management and MSP partner to agree on the criteria necessary for your agency search. To start, determine whether you’re looking for contract, contract-to-hire, or direct-hire talent. Many agencies specialize in one or the other, and some recruit both, so it’s pivotal to nail down your candidate type.  

Decide how much budget you’d like to allocate toward the search depending on the number of resources you need to bring on. To determine where the budget allocation will be most effective, identify which roles have been the most difficult and/or urgent to fill in the past and form search criteria targeting agencies that specialize in those roles.   

Other factors to determine should include the rarity of the roles in need of filling. If you’re looking for general HR, sales, marketing, or customer service roles, you’ll have a larger pool of agencies to choose from. If you’re on the market for niche talent in engineering, IT, or c-suite roles, you’ll need to bring in specialized agencies with a preexisting roster of elusive talent. If you’re focused on full-time staffing, define your corporate culture in a conveyable way so recruitment agencies can sell candidates on your community.  

Once you’ve determined your exact needs internally, you can begin to analyze popular metrics that determine the success of any recruitment agency.  


Common distinguishers between successful and unsuccessful agencies 


Just as a sales team tracks an outreach-to-sale ratio or a marketing team tracks clicks and engagements, a recruitment agency has its own set of key performance indicators. They determine the effectiveness of a particular agency and should be considered in the vetting process. 

To get a sense of speed, poll prospective agencies on their time-to-hire. This metric tracks the total time from requisition assignment to offer acceptance and start. Within the time-to-hire period, you should assess candidate CV-to-interview rates and interview-to-offer rates. A healthy CV-to-interview rate is anywhere from 50% and up, and some exceptional recruiters even achieve 90%-100%.  

Interview-to-offer rates depend on the number of qualified candidates who make it to the second round of interviews. An agency that presents three qualified candidates in the second round has an 80% as a successful placement, a presentation of two averages 50%, and a presentation of one candidate averages 20%.  

Other important performance indicators include the cost per hire, offer acceptance rate, and employee retention rate. 


Look for industry proof from client and candidate case studies 


Once you’ve gathered quantitative data regarding the timing and pricing of an agency’s recruitment lifecycle, search for real industry feedback from clients and candidates. You can ask your network which agencies they’ve had good or bad experiences with, or you can do your own research for news on specific company mergers, awards, reported growth, and more to validate their work.  

If you want to get really investigative, search for their past clients and professional networks on LinkedIn and survey them on their experiences with a particular agency.  


Get a sense of agency resources  


What’s meant by “resources” here is a preexisting talent pool and access to market intelligence among other data. The combination of stellar, priorly vetted talent and deep industry knowledge allows an agency to predict recruitment trends before they happen, and staff those new hot positions quicker than everyone else.  


Partner with CSSvSource to utilize the best agencies streamlined by an airtight MSP  


The vendor management team at CSSvSource provides expert contingent staff onboarding, payroll, organization, and communication to ensure your company and partners have the best available resources on the market. Connect with CSSvSource today and promote continuous agency partnership growth and development! 

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