Many employers do not like working with recruiting companies. In markets the employers know well and have social connections, it may be possible to avoid independent recruiters or at least reduce the dependence on outside agents. However, when the needs of companies expand beyond the local market and into countries where there is no physical presence, recruitment agencies may be the only way to achieve the desired results. What should you know when you go searching for international recruiting expertise? Consider these six basic questions to identify the strong players from those who may waste your time and money:
1. How does the fee structure work?
There are many different approaches recruiters use. If you have an immediate need, opt for paying some sort of engagement fee or retainer so that you know your opening will get some attention. As you can imagine, if you are working with a 100% contingent international recruiter, then the easy jobs and the higher fee jobs get the recruiter’s attention first. Change the rules by asking – and paying – for a minimum number of hours applied to your job each day or week.
2. Does the firm have partners and connections where we are hiring?
It is often desirable to approach a local recruiter with international connections rather than searching for a recruiter in the market where you have a one-off need. Develop a relationship with someone in your time zone, who speaks your language, where you can meet them for a coffee or have a meeting to hold them accountable for results. Have a relationship that is more than a single traction. Opt for a relationship that gets leveraged around the world for your benefit, but keeps you grounded right where you are.
3. What is the most common source of candidates they place?
Try to find international recruiters who are recruiting (we used to call it headhunting) and not just doing LinkedIn searches. Locating names is easy, selling people on making changes to their lives as significant as leaving one employer and moving to another is not easy. Sometimes the recruiter can do what even very talented hiring managers cannot. Also, look for recruiters with connections to a group of peers. You want the best candidate available, not just the best candidate in their database.
4. How long will it take for them to give you a short list of 5 candidates?
If they answer this question without asking you 10 or 15 clarifying questions… RUN! A short list of 5 could take one hour or one year. The recruiter needs to understand the requirements of the job and the fit characteristics that will make someone a top performer in your company. They need to be a partner and not a vendor, so start treating the recruiter you select that way.
5. Can they tell you about previous international placements they have done?
Examples of success are good predictors of future success. Not every recruiter you connect with will have partners and connections and able to share success stories. The ones who are capable will know other who are successful and have made international placements.
6. Does the firm belong to an international network or association of any type?
Ask what organisations they belong to. If they do not belong to any, then this shows lack of commitment or focus on what you are defining as necessary to support your search. They may have developed networks and connections independently… if so, they need to share some details on how they remain relevant in the market they hope to search for you.