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  • Betsy Lee

2024 Update: How to tell if you have a Good Recruiter (or a Bad One 👀)?

I don't know a single company that actually enjoys paying a large recruitment fee. Most companies will try every other way they can to hire before engaging with a recruitment firm. That said, sometimes it is necessary to turn it over to recruiting experts in your field to get the best results.

Figuring out the difference between a "good" recruitment firm and a "bad" one may not be that simple. Of course, there are general expectations for any respectful company: honesty, transparency, open communication, etc. But what makes a firm "good" for you will likely be a group of people who know your industry and roles specifically. There really is no one-size-fits-all if you want quality results in recruiting.

So how do you know if you are dealing with an expert?

3 Keys to Determining the Right Recruitment Firm for You

1. Are they truly a specialist in your space?

Test their knowledge. If you have to explain your sales channels and competitors and product applications to them, they are likely blowing smoke about their industry specialization. This is a real key as it takes years to develop strong relationships and referral networks within an industry. A recruiter that already has this advantage will be several steps ahead.

2. Are they the cheapest firm?

If so- it's probably not a good sign. If you want quality work, you have to pay for it. Recruiters are like lawyers. They sell their experience, knowledge, time, and ability to deliver the desired result.

If you find yourself in a tough legal issue, you probably aren't shopping on price as the best lawyers are the most expensive for a reason. The same is true in recruiting...

3. Do they have a defined process to identify and deliver passive talent?

Anyone can tap into a stream of active job seekers - place a job ad; look on LinkedIN. You can do this on your own. These things are not worth the cost of a recruiting fee.

Make sure the recruiter you are talking with has a proven method and the intangible sales skills necessary to go out and hunt down the people who are too busy demolishing sales quotas or other goals to answer a job ad.

If you've worked through the three points above, you should have a pretty good idea of whether or not the firm (or individual) you're thinking about working with is worth the cost.

Questions about when it makes sense to reach out to a recruitment firm?

I'm happy to talk with any of your team about the tools and methods we use to recruit. If you can do it on your own using what I show you- great! If not, I can help you figure out a good firm to work with based on your open jobs.

Feel free to call me at 440-305-6374 or connect with me on LInkedIN at


Betsy Lee is the Director of Marketing for GRS Recruiting. She has over 10 years of experience working directly in the recruitment industry, developing marketing strategies that attract top talent and equipping recruiters with the tools and training they need to succeed. A small-business advocate, she loves helping companies grow and take their teams to the next level.

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