Ask Your Recruiter This Question (and watch them squirm)

Posted on February 06, 2019 by PaulHickey | Recruitment

A professional recruiter will tell you they can save you time and money.

But how do you know if the firm you’re hiring can really deliver on this promise?

Ask them this one question, and you’ll know almost instantly.

Are the fees too high or too low?

No, that isn’t the question. We’re just setting the scene.

Let’s say you have three recruitment firms offering almost identical services. The key difference is the fees:

  • Firm #1 charges 14%
  • Firm #2 charges 16%
  • Firm #3 charges 18%

Which firm will save you the most money?

You could argue that Firm #1 costs the least and is therefore the best value. Or you could argue that Firm #3, by virtue of the higher fee, is indicating a superior service. Or you could hedge your bets and go for Firm #2, who are not too cheap and not too expensive.

The correct answer is that the amount of the fee is redundant.

The difference between the fees amounts to just a few hundred pounds. Or for a senior role, a few thousand pounds. But if the recruitment firm fills your vacancy with someone who turns out to be unsuitable and who leaves after six months, the cost to your business is ENORMOUS.

Once you factor in the disruption, lost business, and having to repeat the hiring process, you’re looking at costs running into tens of thousands. For senior roles this can be as high as six figures.

So, this is the question to ask the recruiter…

What percentage of your placements are still in the role after 12 months?

Ask the question, go quiet and listen carefully, because the answer will be hugely revealing.

  • If the answer is “I don’t know” or some kind of waffle that amounts to the same thing, show them the door.
  • If the answer is a number below 90%, show them the door.

That’s all you need to know.

The recruiter that will save you the most money is the one that can fill the vacancy with someone who stays in the role long-term.

Too fast or too slow?

The question of saving time is resolved in exactly the same way. It doesn’t matter if one firm is a week or two faster or slower because if your new employee leaves after just a few months, you’re going to be starting over anyway.

The recruiter that will save you the most time is still the one that can fill the vacancy with someone who stays in the role long-term.

There’s an important follow-up question.

If a firm quotes a retention rate of above 90%, you need to be sure that they’re not just pulling the number out of the air.

Simply ask…

What replacement guarantee do you offer?

If a recruiter genuinely has a 90%+ retention rate, their replacement guarantee should match it. It’s not unreasonable to expect a replacement guarantee of 6-12 months.

For a no-obligation discussion about our 96% retention rate on new placements and our replacement guarantee of up to 12 months, Click here