In light of my “3 Self-Evident Truths About Great vs. Lousy Recruiters,” how can you quickly determine a great recruiter from a lousy recruiter?

When a recruiter makes their first call to you, set a time for the recruiter to call you back that is 48 hours from the initial call.  Half won’t call back on time or at all.  You just saved yourself wasted time.

If they do call back, take charge of the call quickly by telling them the truth: that yes, your company uses recruiters, but is exceptionally choosy about who represents them.  Don’t waste your time listening to their pitch; start by asking the questions instead.

Which questions?  So glad you asked, because I happen to have 10 questions that will help you to qualify a recruiter quickly.

  1. Process: Describe your recruiting process.  Is it documented?
  1. Tools: What tools do you use to identify prospective candidates?
  1. Metrics: What metrics do you use to measure your success?
  1. Industry knowledge: How long have you worked filling positions in “X”?
  1. Experience with similar searches: Tell me about the last time you filled a search for an “X” in “X.”
  1. Tenure with employer and overall: What year did you start recruiting?  How long have you been with your present firm?
  1. Certification: What formal training have you had and which certifications do you hold?
  1. Presentation: When you present a candidate for a position, what will that presentation include?
  1. No-hire policy: Describe your firm’s policy on hiring from clients.  Where is this documented?
  1. References: Which three people do you recommend I talk to about the success you’ve had recruiting for them?

If the recruiter gives you good answers to eight of the questions, they’re probably worth your time.  If they nail nine or 10 out of 10, you’ve identified a potential recruiting partner who can add value to your company for years to come.

(For more information about maximizing the benefits of working with a recruiter, download a copy of Dan Simmons’s e-Book, Hunting the Headhunter: Your Guide to Debunking Myths, Cutting Costs, and Changing the Way You Play the Recruitment Game.)