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How do you choose a recruiter?


At the end of my first week Carnegie Consulting, one of my colleagues asked me what I thought their USPs were. Since answering his question, I’ve cast my mind back and remember sitting in a training course many years ago at the start of my Recruitment career and being told by the trainer that essentially, all Recruitment companies do the same thing, and it’s really hard to set yourself apart from your competitors. 

But is it really?  Is it true that all Recruiters are the same? 

Having worked for 4 different companies over a 17 year period, during which time I have worked closely with at least 100 Recruitment Consultants, I’d like to share 4 things that I feel can set a Recruiter apart from others.  Perhaps these could be a basis on which you might decide who to use to hire your next team member or help you in the next stage of your own career. 

1. Specialism:  So, to give you an analogy, if you want to eat a great pizza, you’d go to an Italian restaurant, not a chain of pubs that happens to have a pizza on the menu.  Likewise, if you want a specific skillset or background in a candidate you need to go to a Recruiter who knows how to find the right person to do the job.  Likewise, if you are looking for a new role, it’s probably best to be speaking to someone that frequently places people in your field and understands what you do all day! 

2. Length of Tenure / Experience:  Yes, I know that there are some really good people in Recruitment who have not been doing it for long, but I also know that the most important things I have learned in our profession, have only come about through experiencing new situations & dilemmas, not training.  Longevity in a company or at least a sector is also a really good indicator of a Recruiter’s ability to do a great job, if they will have built a strong reputation and feel valued by their employer they are more likely to stick around a build a long term business relationship with you. 

3. Standards:  This one can be tricky to judge if you are working with a Recruiter for the first time, but if you’ve been recommended to a specific individual by someone that you respect, the chances are that they will have good ethics and standards.  I’d also strongly advise you to avoid any Recruiters who are keen to undercut their competitors on rates.  As with most things in life, cheaper does not mean better. 

4. Passion:  The most exceptional Recruiters that I’ve seen are absolutely passionate about their chosen field or discipline.  Having spent most of my career within Accounting & Finance recruitment I’ve worked alongside a rare breed of Consultants who get ridiculously excited about the intricacies of Risk, Tax & Compliance.  These are the people that you want on your side when you are negotiating the minefield that Recruitment can be!