Choosing the Right Recruitment Agency

Choosing the Right Recruitment AgencyMy thoughts turn to choices and how, as a candidate or client, you can judge the agency that you are looking to have work on your behalf.

The last 12 months have changed the way recruitment works. Clients are looking to see value for money from their suppliers and as such, expect an amazing quality of service for the fees that they pay. Not least they seek an agency that can truly search out the right calibre of candidate and not just set up interviews by ‘bulk’. In addition, more and more clients are looking to find a recruitment partner who has a full understanding of Immigration, Data Protection etc. and is committed to an ethical Code of Conduct. Therefore when looking to find a recruitment business that is right for you, it would make sense to create a set of criteria that they should match before making your decision to register with them. Not only that, it is your career that they have in their hands, so once you’re registered ensure that they meet their side of the bargain. Below is a list of things that you might find helpful in making your selection.

Before registering

  • Is the agency a member of the Recruitment and Employment Confederationand/or APSCo? These are industry bodies which work with their members to provide ‘Best practice’ recruitment. In support of that both APSCo and the REC have Codes of Conduct that their members need to uphold. This covers everything from ethics to guidance on adhering to the consistent changes in the legal requirements for recruiters.
  • Are its Consultants knowledgeable about the legal framework surrounding recruitment practice and recommended recruitment practice? If not, will they represent you correctly? A simple test of this is to ask a few questions:

a) If I am to be a freelancer, what is the best option PAYE or Limited Company?
b )Should I look for freelance or permanent work right now?
c) Can you recommend an Umbrella Company to me?
d) Will you send my CV out without first telling me who you are sending it to?
e) Will you meet me to get to know me as part of the process?

In response to the questions above:

a): A professional recruitment agency will not give out advice on how to set yourself up as a freelancer – it is a personal choice which they should not influence.

b): An agency might tell you what the market is doing – but again shouldn’t coerce you into one type of work or another.

c): It is totally inappropriate for a recruitment agency to recommend an Umbrella Company. Those that do are likely to be receiving a ‘kickback’ from the Umbrella Company for their ‘recommendations’

d): Your CV is your personal property that you entrust into the hands of your recruitment agents – It is neither ethical, nor wholly legal for them to send out the CV without first identifying to you the name and nature of the business that they want to send your CV to.

e): If not, they cannot possibly know enough about you to accurately match you to their clients.

After registering

  • Once you have registered with the agency make sure that you feel comfortable with them and your respective consultant. Just because you have met them, doesn’t mean that you have to use them. It is your choice.
  • Have they set out what will happen next?
  • Have they done the checks that they need to do? All agencies should be asking you for proof of your identity and right to live and work in the UK. If they have not done these checks, what else are they not doing?
  • Is the experience that you are having a positive one? You should be receiving consultation all the way through the process – this should include being briefed on the client that you are being represented to and being given a detailed overview of what to expect in the interview and ideally some advice on interview technique.
  • Have you been lied to? If this happens end the relationship immediately. Without trust, you are likely to be sold down the river.

Now that the industry is starting to improve, it is vital that we all make the right choices in a choice-rich supplier scenario. Source is a member of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). We uphold the REC and APSCo Codes of Professional Recruitment Conduct, as well as the Employment Agencies Act and our own internal core values.