Like Tinder, but for Recruiting; Things to Know before Swiping Right (or Left)

Have you ever struggled to find the employees you needed to keep your operations running? To find the employees which support your company as you ramp up your productions or expand into new markets? You definitely aren’t the only one. Promoting from within is ideal, since it keeps your people happy and more productive. You also save time on training when your people move internally. Sometimes, though, you just need to look beyond your walls to find new talent.

Hiring people can be challenging, for sure. It requires your staff to become recruiters and human resources professionals. If you don’t already have a recruiting staff and an HR team in place, like some large companies do, that mean you’re pulling people away from their other jobs, hurting productivity.

I won’t go much more into touting the benefits of using a recruiter, I’ve already done some of that here and here. What I will talk about today is some ways to help you navigate picking the right recruiting relationship for your business.

Types of Recruiting Companies

The first thing you need to know is while recruiting companies may be cut from the same cloth, they definitely aren’t made from the same pattern. It’s fairly straightforward to know which industries a particular company is specializing in, they will tell you. What’s less apparent is the model they are using to find people and how they are going to charge for saving you time. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few models.

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Contingency Based Agencies

These agencies work with companies to find candidates suitable for a particular job by matching a candidate’s given qualifications and skills with the company’s requirements. The recruiter will do all the legwork of vetting resumes, checking references and backgrounds, and conducting preliminary interviews.

In some cases, the client is charged an upfront fee or an hourly percentage of the employee’s wage. In most cases, the candidates serve a probationary period and the agency is only paid once the candidate successfully passes that period. No matter how much work a contingency based agency does or how many resources are used in the recruitment process, you don’t pay until you choose to employ the offered candidate. Contingency is sometimes described as no win, no fee.

Retained Search Agencies

Retained search firms are engaged by a client company to conduct a specific search assignment. They are more staffing consultants than they are resume miners. A recruiter for a retained search agency will provide valuable insight though assessment and make strong candidate recommendations. They don’t just shotgun resumes over and hope for the best, they know their business.

You’re going to pay for their time and their resources, but you can rest assured they are not going to waste their time interviewing candidates they don’t believe is a good fit for your organization.

This type of recruitment agency will likely have a nonrefundable advance, with the remaining balance due after you hire for your position.

Temp Agencies

Temps, or temporary labour, are used to fill short term work increases or covering for employees who are out of the office, especially during the times of maternity leave, vacation or illnesses. Industries, like shipping and warehouse for instance, would need to increase staff during the Christmas season and return to normal staffing levels in the new year. While most temps are on a short-term contract, some fill indefinite positions.

Many businesses use temp agencies because of its cost-cutting measures. It allows companies to use workers without providing vacation time, health insurance, or other benefits. The downside is that temp work lacks benefits and stability.

Temp agencies have dozens of employees available on call and charge a flat hourly rate, inclusive of required Social Security and federal taxes. When you hire temporary employees, you are not responsible for paying them. That responsibility falls to the agency.  The agency, in turn will bill you at the rate you’ve agreed upon.

Boutique Recruitment Shop

I hope you don’t mind a little shameless self-promotion here. This is the model I’ve chosen to serve my clients and it allows us the ability to do more to find the right people.

The boutique, or niche, agency is responsible for hiring skilled workers who are specialized in certain fields. As well, since a boutique shop is a smaller agency, it can be more responsive to your needs. Being able to adapt and scale to your particular industry is the key to this model.

Considering a Recruitment Agency? Think About These Things

So how does one go about picking the right agency for one’s business? Since no one has built the app to swipe right to choose your recruiter, you will have to do it the old fashion way. Fortunately for you, I’ve made a short list of things to help you choose.

Staff Professionalism

What are the people in the agency like? Do they speak your industry language and understand your needs? Choosing the right fit is more than the flashy ads. The people you’re working with need to speak the same lingo and share your expectations.

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Talk to the agency staff. Remember, you are hiring this agency to work for you. Investing a little time to interview the people who will do this task will help you develop a more informed opinion on their fit. Recruiters need to fill job orders to get paid. They want your business. It’s okay to make them work a little before signing them on.


Does the firm itself have the talent and the depth to find the people you need? How much experience do they have, not only in recruiting, but in your specific industry. Hiring thirty-five temps to fill a warehouse and hiring an engineer to build your plant is an entirely different process.

Recruiting firms do a lot more than just selecting people and sending them to your company. They should be trusted assets that you can count on.


Not all agencies are created equal and there are many cases of firms appearing in the middle of the night to fill orders, then are gone very shortly thereafter. These are not the places you want to do business with.

Choosing the wrong firm can lead to disastrous consequences and worker safety is something we all must take seriously.


Your organization is unique and has its own particular needs. Your recruitment agency needs to reflect that and take the time to listen to your requirements. Consider the flexibility of the recruiting company that you want to hire. Ask if they provide a range of recruitment service options to meet your search needs.

Recruitment Techniques

Every company has a signature way in which they carry out tasks. The way in which a staffing firm recruits, can be very telling of its potential success as your partner. If an agency is using the same channels to find the same people you’ve already tried without any success, there isn’t much sense in using that agency. You would be paying them to duplicate your work!

You can ask questions about their database of people and if they have an aggressive recruiting program.


When all is said and done, and there is a new hire in your shop, how does the agency stand by their work? Do they offer guarantees or do they offer quality candidates. What solutions do they offer if things don’t work out with the new hire? Who incurs the cost of replacing that new hire?

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The End

There you have it, a brief guide to choosing your recruitment agency. It is a lot to consider, but this will certainly help you choose wisely as you go on to find the right fit for your business.

Take the time to accurately assess your needs so you know which type of firm you need. And it’s okay to have them by you a coffee or two and get to know them, before you make any sort of commitment. It’s your money after all and your agency should be there to optimize the hiring process.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback. Tell me about the firms that got it absolutely right. What did the firms do that got it so wrong that you’ve sworn off them forever?


Thank you,
Paul Bergsma