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How to Identify a Great Recruitment Company

I’ve been in recruitment since 2006, which I have previously admitted makes me a bit of a dinosaur in the industry. Over the years I have seen tech recruitment consultancies pop up and disappear, with only the great ones surviving and thriving throughout the years. For businesses who might have had bad experiences with tech recruitment agencies, or for leaders who are using recruitment agencies for the first time, it can be hard to identify which consultancies deserve your trust.

But how do you find the best tech recruitment agency? And how do you avoid the bad ones – because they are out there?

Finding the best tech recruitment agency for your business is so important, so based on my own industry experience, I’ve pulled together the top things you should look for in a recruitment consultancy, so you can make sure you work with the best.

1. Are they specialists?

You are likely to come across three different types of recruitment agencies in your search.

  • Generalist recruitment agencies
  • Specialist tech recruitment agencies
  • Tech recruitment agencies with specialist arms/ functions/ delivery teams

In order to make sure you are being given access to the top talent in your specific sector or industry, using a recruiter who specialises in that sector is fundamental. Consultancies that solely focus on your area of hiring, or who have a full division that focuses on it, ensures that you are working with people who really understand the market and who knows who and where the top talent is.

There will also be an understanding of any technical language, which is especially important in areas such as cyber and software which have a large bank of technical jargon associated with them. Having this understanding of language, and what it means will better equip them to find candidates and to fully understand the role you are recruiting for.

Their knowledge of the market will also allow them to provide honest consultancy. They will be able to manage your expectations in terms of their specification or salary using their insights into the wider market. This should help you make any necessary adjustments to ensure you find and hire the right candidate for your business.

2. They’re not just ‘yes’ people

Great consultancies won’t just take your spec as it is and work it. They will carefully read through the full spec and should have a full consultative phone call with you to see where any potential compromises could be made if needed. Generalist recruiters who lack knowledge in a specific area, would likely just use this spec and give up if the right candidates didn’t materialise.

Great consultancies would be confident in challenging specifications and using market knowledge and talent insights to suggest adjustments to the advert, salary, or benefits to make the advert attractive to the right calibre of candidates. They’re there to help you, not just say yes. Great recruiters will really focus on providing high level consultancy, including constructive feedback that is based in market knowledge and insights.

Great recruitment consultants provide consultancy services. They don’t just sit and struggle to recruit for a spec that is not quite right. They should proactively suggest small amendments that work for your business and are attractive to candidates.

3. Consistent Communication

You should never be chasing your recruitment consultants. The best recruitment agencies will keep you informed throughout the whole process and should even be checking in when you’re not actively hiring. You should have one point of contact (your account manager) and should only ever speak to another consultant from the same agency should the specialism of the role change. And even then, this should really be organised through the account manager.

Great recruitment consultants will provide frequent updates on their progress and should often be asking for feedback from you on any candidates they have sent over. This shows that they are taking an active interest in finding the right candidates for you.

4. Integrity and Transparency

The best recruitment agencies don’t embellish the truth. They don’t disappear when they aren’t successful. They remain honest and informative about successes and setbacks. Great consultants always manage expectations, suggest feedback, and provide realistic time frames that don’t over promise. Much of this depends on a company’s values. Find a recruitment agency with a people centric approach and a commitment to honest and transparency.

You can often judge this by having an in-person (or over Zoom) chat about who they are and how they work. Rely on case studies, testimonials, and your general feeling about how genuine they are in what they say.

5. Testimonials and Endorsements

Word of mouth is a great way to judge a recruitment consultants’ performance. Consultants who have great reviews from a number of businesses, especially ones similar to your own, are likely to perform well for you too. Look at a few review sites, check their website for case studies, and take a look at their LinkedIn page (and consultant profiles) for endorsements.

If there are a lot of good reviews from genuine people and real companies, you’re on the right path. You can also converse with people who have worked with the agency before to hear an “off-the-record” review to get a real taste of how the company works.

6. Pressure Free

Whilst great consultants might push back on candidates they genuinely believe are worth your time, or strongly suggest alterations to job specs, honest consultants should never spam your inbox with every person who is on the market for a job, and they shouldn’t be pressuring you to interview everybody they have sent. This is a sign of a consultant who just wants their pay check and bonus. Great consultants will carefully select only the best candidates for you to review, and will then ask for feedback to make sure they understand why the first candidates weren’t correct. They will then amend their search to better suit your requirements.

Only with exceptional candidates would they ever encourage you to pursue against your initial reaction.

7. They always add value

Great recruitment agencies and consultants go the extra mile. Beyond recruitment, they usually offer additional services including exclusive talent partnership deals to fully remove the burden of hiring, events and networking opportunities, talent insights and salary benchmarking, and other resources that could benefit the business. Essentially the best recruitment consultancies want to see their clients succeed and will do anything to help drive their growth whilst adding value.

Tech Recruitment Leaders in the North West

Maxwell Bond are known as one of the best recruitment agencies in the North West and has a great reputation for putting people first. Since 2016, Maxwell Bond have approached all consultancy with a people-centric attitude, and valued integrity and honesty above all else. In addition to our recruitment consultancy, we hosted 15 events and roundtables last year with leaders and technology professionals from around the world, covering pressing topics and emerging challenges. As a result we built a reputation for being the go-to tech recruitment consultancy based in Manchester.

Our reputation has allowed us to sustainably open up 2 brand new markets, in Europe and in Salesforce, and grow the team throughout the pandemic, and continue working with a variety of businesses including Stagecoach, Vocalink, Boohoo, Interact, Arctic Shores, and many more.

We also recently sign our first exclusive Talent Partnership detail for one of the fastest growing tech functions in the North West, Wakelet, after helping them grow by 200% in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to use our expertise and experience to help other UK, American, and German businesses achieve the same, and are therefore looking for new talent partners.

If you’re ready to thrive, grow, and build your tech functions across software development, cyber and information security, product and project, DevOps, UX and UI, Salesforce, and Marketing in the UK, USA, or Germany, get in touch. We have specialist divisions in each of the above who can help you shape your future growth.

We also still have plenty of opportunities for Official Talent Partnerships. We know after COVID, a lot of internal recruitment teams were furloughed or disbanded, but if you need support recruiting for 2021, contact me to discuss how Maxwell Bond can alleviate your workload.

Partner with the leading tech and digital recruitment agency in Manchester today.