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Staffing Agencies: How to Recognize a Good One

Staffing Agencies: How to Recognize a Good One

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By Outside-In® Team Member Zach Werde

How to recognize the good staffing agencies from the not so good.

I’m sure if you have any amount of experience, recruiters probably reach out to you fairly regularly. How can you tell the good from the bad? How do you determine who you want to work with? Having a great relationship with a good recruiter can be a wonderful thing. You know its good when a recruiter serves as a personal consultant, someone who makes recommendations to improve your resume, provides interviewing tips, and helps you find work. But a bad recruiter can be a nightmare. You don’t want to align yourself with a person or agency who either isn’t competent enough to represent you or is so transaction-oriented that they only care about closing a deal and pressuring you to make uncomfortable decisions.

It all starts with the credibility and rapport of the staffing specialist. When you work with an agency, your recruiter will representing you and submitting your information to their client. Your recruiter should understand your field and instill confidence in you that they can represent you to a hiring manager. If they don’t seem to understand anything you are saying, or they don’t seem to understand the big picture, you should probably question if you want that person or their agency representing you.

A little research would probably be a good thing for you. This is why companies like Glassdoor exist. When contemplating whether you should work for a certain company, you should consider reading some reviews about them. I’d specifically be looking for “high-level” complaints, such as “this company offered me a job and then took it away” or “this company lied to me and told me I was definitely converting in their contract-to-hire opportunity.” Those types of complaints can be indicative of an organization that uses unethical tactics to close deals.

I’d still pay attention to some “low-level” complaints as well, such as “I got a call from this recruiter and never heard from them again.” But I probably wouldn’t completely cross an agency off my list if they only have 1 or 2 low-level comments. These could be isolated incidents or representative of one bad recruiter (who hopefully no longer works there!). Does the recruiter who reached out to you have a LinkedIn profile? If so, he or she should have a lot of connections and some recommendations. If you don’t see 500+ connections and at least a couple of recommendations, that may be a sign that your recruiter is either new or isn’t doing a good enough job to inspire recommendations. Either way, I’d be suspicious.

At the end of the day, to recognize the top staffing agencies and recruiters, it all comes down to looking at the total picture. If there’s no rapport or no trust (for example, if they still haven’t told you the name of their client by the end of the first conversation), then it would probably be wise to rethink whether or not you wish to forge a relationship with this staffing company. If you are able to build rapport with your recruiter, they seem to have a legitimate LinkedIn profile with a large network and multiple recommendations, and if their reviews check out on the web – then you’ve probably found yourself a good company to align yourself with!

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