Talent acquisition is practically a science; there are multitudes of social channels to navigate, an often-specialized screening process, and what can be a very technical candidate sourcing process. While every recruitment firm has its own specific method of doing things, there are a few key questions that you should be asking your staffing partners, to set your own expectations and ensure that you are working with the right people.

  1.    What channels do you use?

From Facebook to Indeed, there are innumerable channels that recruiters can use to source talent. If you are working with a staffing partner who is only using the big job boards, you are missing out on a lot of talent. Recruiters can use associations, social media, job boards, and more to find talent, so you should look for a partner who has a multi-pronged approach, rather than a “post and pray” firm.

  1.    What is your time-to-fill?

This metric is common for a reason: it’s telling. While every search is different, finding out your partner’s time-to-fill can help you set your expectations and will enable you to compare their effectiveness against their competitors. The lower the time-to-fill, the faster results you can expect to see.

  1.    What is your offer acceptance rate?

Perhaps a less commonly used metric, the acceptance rate refers to a recruiter’s ability to close the deal. Simply finding the right candidate isn’t enough, you need a partner who can help you get them onboard. It is a competitive marketplace, so top talent can be difficult to attract and it never hurts to have an experienced closer on your side. The higher your partner’s offer acceptance rate, the better they are at sealing the deal.

  1.    Where do you specialize?

Some recruitment firms are more specialized than others. Recruiters may focus primarily on a function, an industry, a job level, or a location, so the right partner for one role may not be the best fit for another, even within the same company. While many staffing agencies can work in multiple spaces, it helps to ask your partners where they specialize, so that you can play to their strengths when you need help finding talent.

  1.    How many candidates do you expect to present?

It’s important to remember that, while you certainly want plenty of talent to choose from, having more candidates isn’t always better. Some recruiters tend to present large slates of candidates for review, while others tend to focus on a small but well-vetted group. Asking how many candidates your staffing partner expects to present on a particular role will help give you an idea of how they operate as a firm. The volume that works best for you will be dependent on how involved you want to be in the selection process, so there is no one right answer here.

By asking your potential and current staffing partners these questions, you will better position yourself to partner effectively with them. By asking pointed questions, you can begin to understand their process, their success rate, and how they can be best utilized as a resource.

Written: February 2017