Five questions to ask before engaging a recruiter

“I am so busy”, a statement that all business owners can relate to.  Whether you’re busy juggling your accounts, tweaking your SEO, or just trying to grow your business the catch cry of “I am so busy” always rings true.  Often businesses owners will happily farm out tasks to subject matter experts to help alleviate some of the pain when trying to balance your BAS, build your website or to talk to a business coach.  However, when it comes to recruitment, business owners are perhaps far more cautious of engaging a recruiter to help with the all important task of finding talent to grow the business. 

I know of a company in Brisbane who needed to find a new receptionist. After days of different job descriptions being written, and advertising of the role they were overwhelmed with over 150 candidate applications.  The business owner had completely underestimated the interest in the role and the local job market.  With an overwhelming number of candidates, the situation only became worse when considering the business brand was used to advertise the role. Ensuring all candidates were communicated with in a timely manner and had a positive experience was more than just a nice to have, it was reputational.  With the best intentions, the business owner took invoicing client time to review each application, not growing their business and certainly not focussing on areas that were their strengths.  For this business, engaging a recruiter is a no brainer – in terms of time savings and ensuring their brand delivered to each candidate.  With experience, dedicated technology and processes, a recruiter may have likely spent no more than four to five hours in total finding their new receptionist instead of several days. 

So why is it businesses are perhaps not as enthusiastic in engaging the skills of an external recruiter?  Perhaps a lack of education as to the tangible activities a recruiter will do for your business. Maybe misunderstanding the value proposition of ultimately what they can achieve for you.  The simplest thing to then do when looking at engaging a recruiter is to ask a few questions of them to help empower and educate yourself on what you are getting.

Question One:

Do they understand your business and the role that you’re trying to fill?

When engaging a recruitment firm, ask yourself do they truly understand your business, your culture, your way of doing things.  Has the recruiter taken the time to research what you do, your history, and your team?  We have at times offered to shadow team members in the role that we are looking to fill for a business.  Why?  Because it gives us a better understanding of the role, the expectation of the team and perhaps the type of person that would best suit it.  When was the last time you know of a recruiter offering to roll up their sleeves and to get their hands dirty to gain a better understanding of the job? 

Question Two:

Can they take on the work load and will they meet your deadline?

Recruitment can be a knee jerk reaction, someone has decided to leave the business and as such you are now in a desperate scramble to find your next receptionist, sales person, or store man by the end of the week.  You make the decision to engage a recruiter and as such you want someone that will work with you, to your time lines and your deadlines. But the question is will they meet them and will they be able to provide you what they are promising?

Question Three:

Where does the recruiter find your candidates?

 Asking how a recruiter sources candidates is critical to the process outcomes. Do they have a pool of existing candidates to tap into? Do they have easy access to advertise on job boards, or do they know of specialist advertising platforms for specialist roles?  Ask about the costs involved with advertising and who pays for them.  Also take the time to find out if they head hunt their candidates for the roles.  Headhunting can be a double-edged sword, in that it may turn a ‘passive’ job candidate into what we call an ‘active’ job candidate, and in doing so they may then start looking at what other opportunities might be out there for them. 

Question Four:

Ask about what you get as part of the service?

Ensure that you understand what it is that you are getting as part of the service.  Are you purchasing a basic package or a package that provides you with a replacement if the successful applicant leaves in a certain time frame?  Ensure that you look at all the options and costs, and decide which of them best suits you and your business. 

Question Five:

Do they understand best fit vs right fit?

Perhaps the most important question to ask is do they understand the difference between best fit and right fit for your business?  You might have a candidate who is overly qualified, has worked in several roles with many large businesses, or is more comfortable working in a corporate environment. If you are looking for staff to work in a small start-up business, the candidate may not be the right fit for your business regardless of qualifications or experience. The big question is if the candidate is the right fit for your business in terms of personality and experience. Only when you find the right candidate will you secure a productive and happy employer and employee relationship into the future.

It can be a daunting process engaging someone to work with you for your recruitment needs.  Asking for assistance with finding talent to grow your business, and become part of your team is often the hardest thing to do. Taking the time to engage a recruiter, understand their services, and selecting the best service to fit your business can deliver value both during the recruitment process and long into the future of your business. The final and most important question that needs to be asked is - can you afford not to have dedicated help in recruitment?

Dan Jones - Managing Partner Teamfinder

About Teamfinder

Teamfinder is a recruitment company which connects great businesses with great candidates, we like to do things a little differently so we also offer comprehensive training packages, fixed rate recruitment, and most importantly we help save you time and money.

If you would like to know more about how Teamfinder can support your business with your next recruitment needs then get in touch with us either through our website via email at or give us a call on 07 3268 2452



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