Staffing firms can play a critical role in helping companies find talent. By staffing firms I mean any external search firm that earns a fee for making a placement with a company. This includes staffing agencies, RPOs, contingency and retained executive search firms, and their hybrids.
There is nothing inherently superior to recruiters who work at external firms when compared to corporate recruiters, other than they tend to work fewer assignments and their compensation is based on their results, not their level of activity. This is a huge advantage when it comes to representing stronger candidates.
Unfortunately, many (maybe most) staffing firms don’t take full advantage of the opportunity. Too many compete on speed and lower pricing, presenting the same candidates their clients can find on their own. Equally as bad, many of their corporate clients force even the better firms to follow rules and processes that eliminate their unique advantages. To address this, I suggest using the following 10 factors when evaluating an outside search firm. If they don’t meet this standard, don’t use the firm.
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