10 Things You Need to Know Before Working with Recruitment Agencies and Headhunters

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10 Things You Need to Know Before Working with Recruitment Agencies and Headhunters

A comprehensive report from Korn Ferry predicts that by 2030, there could be over 85 million job vacancies due to a shortage of skilled workersWorking with recruitment/staffing agencies and  headhunters can greatly ease your search for talents and qualified candidates, especially in a competitive job market. However, to ensure a fruitful collaboration, there are several points to consider. Here’s a detailed guide to help you navigate this essential process.

1. Choosing the Right Recruitment Agency for Your Sector

It's crucial to collaborate with recruiters who specialize in your industry. Each industry has its own unique characteristics and specific needs, and a recruiter experienced in your field will have a better understanding of the required qualifications and skills. For example, recruiting for technical positions in the IT sector requires knowledge of specific skills like Python development or database management, while recruiting in the finance sector necessitates knowledge in auditing, accounting, and financial regulations. 

You wouldn't ask an electrician to fix your plumbing issues. Same for recruiters.

Would you like to connect with the right recruiters in your industry for free ? Register here.

2. Verify the Recruiter's Information

Before committing, thoroughly check potential recruiters. Some simple actions can give you an overview:

- Review the Recruiter's LinkedIn Profile: A good recruiter regularly posts content related to industry trends and news. Also, check the recommendations and reviews left by former clients or candidates.

Recommendations can be found at the bottom of someone's LinkedIn profile (see example below).

- Visit the Agency's Website: This will give you an idea of the types of profiles they frequently seek and if they align with your needs. Look for case studies or testimonials that can demonstrate the agency's effectiveness in similar missions to yours.

On our platform, when a recruiter sends you a CV or a collaboration proposal, you can review their LinkedIn profile and website to ensure you have all the necessary information before beginning a collaboration.

3. Request Examples of Past Profiles

Don’t hesitate to ask for anonymized examples of CVs that the recruiter has previously handled for similar roles. This will allow you to judge whether the recruiter understands the type of profile you’re looking for and if they have the necessary experience. Additionally, you can ask for past successes and how they managed similar challenges, such as recruiting for difficult-to-fill positions.

This due diligence process is often overlooked by hiring managers, leading to disappointment with the CVs they receive. They could have saved time from the outset by knowing that the recruiter does not have the candidate network the company is looking for.

This aspect is crucial at Hiring Notes. When you publish a job offer on our platform, you receive a series of anonymous CVs from recruiters to ensure that the recruiter understands the market and your requirements before starting a collaboration.

4. Clarify Terms and Conditions

Before starting any collaboration, ensure you are aligned on the following terms and conditions:

- Agency Fees : How much does the service cost, and what are the possible additional fees? Fees can vary depending on the type of position to be filled (senior, executive, etc.) and the level of difficulty of the search. For more information about recruitment agencies fees, check our article "How much do recruitment agency fees cost " 

- Guarantee or Replacement Period: What happens if the candidate doesn’t meet expectations in the first few months? A 3 to 6-month guarantee is generally standard, but this can vary.

- Payment Schedule: When does payment need to be made? Make sure to clearly understand the payment terms, whether they are staggered, one-time, or milestone-based.

- Dispute Resolution:  How will disagreements or issues be managed? Dispute resolution can include mediation, partial refunds, or other pre-agreed solutions.

When you post a job ad on Hiring Notes, you can specify your terms and conditions upfront, ensuring that recruiters are aware of the collaboration details before submitting any CVs. This saves you a significant amount of time because you won't have to spend time renegotiating with recruiters.

5. Be Cautious with Exclusivity Clauses

An exclusivity clause is when a recruitment agency requires you to work only with them for one or more of your hiring needs. This clause can be beneficial, but it requires caution. Before accepting it, ensure that the recruiter can send you relevant CVs. Ask for a few anonymized sample profiles to verify the quality and relevance of potential candidates ( see point 3). A time-limited exclusivity clause (e.g., one month) is reasonable for assessing the recruiter's effectiveness without committing too long. However, it’s recommended to engage at least 2 and maximum 3 recruitment agencies to avoid missing exceptional candidates while preserving your employer brand.

6. Understand the Pros and Cons of Different Types of Agencies

There are several types of recruitment agencies:

1. General Recruitment Agencies: These have access to a wide range of candidates but may lack specialization.

2. Specialized Recruitment Agencies and freelance recruiters : These focus on specific industries and have in-depth knowledge of the sector ( IT, construction, engineer, etc).

3. Executive search Firms: They specialize in recruiting senior executives and are often used for strategic hires.

4. Temporary Staffing Agencies: Ideal for short-term manpower needs or projects ( freelance, interim, replacement).

Finding the right recruitment agency is crucial for successful hiring. In practice, however, it is often very difficult to identify an agency that meets your needs. Most recruitment agencies present similar pitches, but unfortunately, hiring managers frequently end up disappointed with the services. They often do not receive the expected candidates or, in some cases, no CVs at all.

So what could be the solution for finding the right recruitment agency? See point 8 for the solution.

7. Set Clear KPIs to Evaluate Performance

Setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is essential to track and assess the effectiveness of the recruitment agency. Here are some examples of KPIs to consider:

- Time to Fill a Position: The average duration between posting the job and integrating the candidate.

- Retention Rate: The percentage of placed candidates who remain with the company past a certain period (usually 6 or 12 months).

- Manager Satisfaction: Feedback from managers on the quality of the candidates provided.

- Candidate Quality: Ratio of pre-screened candidates to those invited for an interview (or hired).

These datas are crucial for assessing the success of your collaboration with a recruitment agency. You need to ensure that the recruiter you are working with is capable of performing well to keep up with the growth and recruitment needs of your company.

 8. Use Effective Recruitment Platforms

There are very few platforms that effectively connect hiring managers with suitable recruiters. Most available platforms use algorithms to match you with recruiters who are likely to assist with your hiring needs. However, the problem persists because there is no guarantee that these agencies will deliver qualified candidates.

At Hiring Notes, we believe the solution to effective recruitment lies in allowing companies to post job openings, with recruiters who specialize in those industries submitting pre-qualified candidates.

Our platform facilitates connections with industry-specific recruiters and offers anonymous CV submissions from those recruiters at no cost. By addressing this gap in the current recruitment landscape, we offer a streamlined process for finding the right talent.

When you’re seeking a specific profile, simply post your job offer anonymously, specifying your criteria and search terms. Within a few days, you will receive anonymized candidate proposals or collaboration proposals from recruiters. You can then review the recruiters' profiles (such as on LinkedIn or their website) and decide if you wish to proceed with the collaboration.

You can sign up and list your job opening by clicking [here]


9. Maintain a Strong Employer Brand

How you work with recruitment agencies can influence your employer brand. Ensure that your recruiters communicate a coherent and positive message to the market. Your company’s reputation is reflected in every interaction with candidates, including those conducted by third-party recruiters.

This point is often overlooked by hiring managers but can have a very detrimental effect on the company's reputation. When a recruiter contacts a candidate for a position, the information provided by the recruiter is perceived as coming directly from the company. If the recruiter gives false information, it directly affects the company's image.

To avoid such situations at all costs, it is crucial to conduct what is known as a "position briefing" or " job qualification". This involves providing all relevant information about the job and the company to the recruiters you're working with and ensuring that every aspect is clear.

On our platform, we have chosen to make job postings anonymous to protect the employer brand as much as possible. However, when you post a job, you must provide the recruiters with as much relevant information as possible so they can determine if they have one or more candidates who might fit the position. For more information about how our platform work for hiring manager, please refer to our FAQ .

10. Stay Agile and Adjust Based on Results

Recruitment needs can evolve quickly. Be ready to adjust your criteria and methods based on the results obtained. Regular follow-ups and open communication with your recruiters will allow for continuous optimization of the process.

We recommend that at the beginning of your collaboration with a recruiter, you establish a regular schedule (for example, once a month) to debrief for a few minutes via a call or video conference on the progress of the recruitment campaign. This will provide more information on the problems and difficulties encountered by the recruiter, allowing you to adjust your requirements accordingly. One of the main reasons collaborations between hiring managers and recruiters fail is due to a lack of communication. So don't hesitate to emphasize this point!


By following these tips, you will maximize your chances of finding the recruiter or headhunter that best meets your specific expectations and needs. A well-managed collaboration with a recruitment agency can make all the difference in the quality of your hires, thus contributing to your company’s long-term success. 

How to register as a company or recruiter on our platform?

If you are a company looking to receive qualified applications or find your next partner for your recruitments, you can register now [here].

If you are a recruiter and wish to offer your services to companies, you can register by clicking [here].

For more information about our platform, you can also visit our press section or FAQ.

Do you have any questions? Feel free to contact us at contact@hiringnotes.com