Should I Use an Agency to Find Candidates

Posted by Judy Fort on August 31, 2016

For some companies and for some types of jobs, it is not uncommon that as soon as a job is posted online, applications come flooding in.  But what about the times when that isn’t the case?  Or when you need a highly specialized hire that may not be looking for a job at this time?  This is a perfect opportunity to take a look at other options, and one great resource to pursue is working with external recruiters or recruiting agencies.

LinkedIn has a great list of how staffing firms can help you excel and some of the advantages of working with them.  Some of the biggest reasons that companies start working with recruitment agencies include:


  • When the types of applicants they want are in high-demand and probably already in a job (and possibly not looking at this time).
  • When they have a hard to fill job that is not getting enough qualified applicants through their normal channels.
  • When they have already looked on job boards and not located resumes that fit their requirements.
  • When their company has grown significantly and the current team is overwhelmed with the number of job openings and the time required to fill them.

When you make the move to work with recruiting agencies, there are some considerations you will need to keep in mind in regards to the terms of your agreement as well as the responsibilities and expectations of the external recruiter.


  • What payments terms does the recruiting agency have?  In most cases, this will be based on the hires annual salary and paid after the employee is on the job for a certain number of days.  For example, you might end up paying out 20% of the employee’s annual salary to the recruiter after the new hire has been with the company 90 days.
  • What is the recruiter’s warrantee period?  Many will offer you a timeframe during which, if the hire doesn’t work out of leaves, they will find you a replacement hire at no cost.
  • What additional services will the vendor complete for you?  Make sure that you work with an agency who, at a minimum, will pre-screen and meet every candidate that they send your way and that they will verify the qualifications before sending to you.  Also, depending on the recruiter’s field and specialty, some may offer additional services such as skills testing, background checking, drug screening, etc.

Keep in mind that these things can be negotiated – especially if you are making multiple hires through the same agency.  Make sure you discuss and come to agreement on the terms and price.  Also, make sure you shop around and thoroughly review each recruiting agency you use.  You may end up sending out to multiple agencies, but sometimes you can get competitive pricing if you work exclusively with a single vendor.

Additionally, there are some terms and scenarios you might want to review with a recruiting agency that may or may not be a part of their original agreement.


  • Do they offer a lock-out period?  This would be a time during which the recruiter cannot place your candidate in another position at a different company, necessitating you filling the position again.
  • At what point do you have to pay for the resume?  For example, what if the recruiter sends you a resume for someone that already applied through your website?  Or what if the same resume is submitted by multiple recruiters?  Make sure this is clearly defined and easy to document.
  • What happens if the recruiter sends unqualified candidates?  This doesn’t seem to be the norm, but it can happen, so make sure you have open lines of communication to address this situation quickly.

With all of this in mind, our last piece of advice is to make sure that everything about the relationship and the resumes you receive and hire is well documented.  Take steps to ensure you are able to find and report on the information about the resumes that have been sent your way.  Utilizing tools such as applicant tracking solutions and vendor management systems can help ease some of the burden of tracking this manually.  Also, having this as a part of your ATS makes it easier to track the resumes sent from recruiting agencies and house them in the same place as external or internal candidates which will help ensure consistency in your own hiring practices.