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Is Your Recruiter Elastic? 4 Questions You Must Ask

Is your recruiter elastic?Is your recruiter elastic?

While it might be fun, we don’t mean that your recruiter could look like Elastigirl or Mr. Fantastic here (although that would be awesome).  We’re wondering whether your recruiter is stretching with your needs.

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about How to Un-Break Recruiting. We talked about how it sucks to have to go through a hiring process that’s expensive, hidden, inconsistent, and seemingly lacking in choice. And we talked about fixing that with transparency, consistency, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. If you haven’t read that yet, go ahead – I’ll wait.

Okay, back? Great.

If this is something that you want, you could use our recruiters (duh!), but you could also take a look at your current recruiters and see where you might need them to be more flexible (yes, I will use as many bad puns as I can. Please email me any I might’ve missed.).

Questions to Ask

To make it easier for you to figure out whether your recruiter is flexible enough to meet your needs, we’ve put together a list of questions you can ask yourself and your recruiter.

1. How do you like to communicate?

Why: You need transparency into the recruitment process, or you start doubting what’s going on. Doubting that you’ll make a hire is stressful for you and your team, since that work needs to be done!

What you want to hear: “I really like to regularly communicate. I’ll send you each screened candidate with my comments, and I’ll call you for any super-hot ones. I’d also like to schedule a weekly call so that we can have a status update, and you’ll have full visibility into the candidate pipeline if you want – just let me know.”

Red flag response: “I’ll email you a resumé when I have a likely candidate. Otherwise, assume that I’ll just be working hard over here.”

2. Do you have client and candidate references?

Why: With nothing regulating the recruitment sector, pretty much anyone can call themselves a recruiter. You want to ensure that your recruiter doesn’t suck, and references are a really good way to do this.

What you want to hear: “Of course! Here’s a link to my profile, where you can read them. Let me know if you want to talk to any of them on the phone or in-person.”

Red flag response: “Um… I guess so. Why do you want to talk to them? I’ve worked for the best companies in the world!”

3. How does this process work?

Why: The best elastic recruiters work within your process. They help you where you say you need help – not where they arbitrarily determine you need help (and if they think you need other help, they’ll discuss it with you honestly and openly).

What you want to hear: “There are some fundamental steps that every recruitment process has. Let’s talk through them and figure out where you need assistance.  If you need more or less assistance as time goes by, let’s chat about it at our weekly call (or whenever you’d like) to make sure you’re getting what you need.”

Red flag response: “I get you candidates. You hire them. What do you mean, how does this process work?”

4. Will you work within my budget?

Why:  Chances are that you have limited budget for this search. Very few companies can afford to spend indiscriminately on recruitment. You want complete control of the cost, and you’ll ideally keep that as low as possible while making your candidate happy with the offer.

What you want to hear: “Of course! Because I bill by the hour and there are no minimums, you can stop the project at any time and completely control the cost. You can also set a cap so that you’re 100% sure I won’t overbill you.”

Red flag response: “You control the cost by setting the candidate’s salary. I charge a flat 20% of the first year base. If you pay them less, you pay me less.”

There are other essential questions you must ask before you’re sure about working with the recruiter, but these are the four keys to discovering whether yours is flexible enough to stretch with your needs. And if you have a recruiter who DOES bend like Mr. Fantastic or Elastigirl, I want pictures!

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock.

Head of Growth at RecruitLoop. Previously at Amazon & HubSpot. Passionate about growing humans and companies, working out, and wine. Also blogs on leadership at Follow her @jennsteele.