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5 things to consider when choosing a recruitment agency

Recent reports have shown the UK recruitment industry has acquired more agencies than in the US. In a report by Ciett 2014 Economic Report it shows there are around 18,000 agencies in the UK compared to 17,000 in the states.

Quite an astonishing achievement, but you may not be surprised if you are already familiar with the market place or are a pharmaceutical professional who is in high demand.

The majority of Pharmaceutical organisations decide to engage recruitment agencies when their internal team are unable to deliver or they do not have the bandwidth to cope with the high volume required. In addition, some are undergoing vast growth plans and require external assistance to achieve their business goals.  However, the market place is heavily over run with hundreds  of agencies all claiming to offer a ‘comprehensive, quality service’ and ‘the best possible candidates’, so it raises the questions how should organisations in the pharmaceutical industry go about making the decision to use external support with staffing?

Following successful collaborations and feedback from clients in the past, I would like to suggest a few areas to consider when selecting an agency for your staffing needs, in no particular order:

Experience: Does the agency have experience in the area you need to recruit in? Do they have feedback/recommendations/ Case Studies from previous work? Successful agencies are not only available to provide good candidates, but also market evaluations and deep insights into the current candidate market. You may be able to find out which agency would be right for you by simply calling a few Consultants and asking for some opinions, figures and success rates as opposed to discussing a job spec and asking for CV’s.  Consultants with experience tend to have a good reputation in the market place and hence have a better network of candidates to approach on the clients behalf.

Relationship: How do you want to work with the agency? How do they want to work with you? It seems simple, but it is crucial to develop a trusting relationship with the consultant you decide to work with. Agencies are an investment in your business, and are not here to cause additional headache with the recruitment process. The best Consultants ask questions, are honest and work in partnership to ensure they find the best talent for your business as quickly as possible for you. In my experience the closer the client works with a consultant the better the results. Time invested in the beginning of the process saves time in the long run.

Candidate Experience: How will your brand/company be perceived in the market? How is your Consultant planning to sell the position and company? It is important for the chosen Consultant to be an ambassador for your company, and be able to attract even the most elusive of candidates. Working with too many agencies can create a situation where candidates are called multiple times about the same role, which can result in the role/client losing attractiveness and can dilute the brand message.

Process: How will your consultant be handling the process? Where do you rank on their priority list? Once an agency takes a requirement from a client, it can be difficult to understand what the agency is doing behind the scenes. Regular updates and reports to discuss feedback from both parties are essential. Using an agency gives you the opportunity to find out where you may need to be flexible, or make changes to the role or package. The Consultant can provide support honest opinions in this process and offer alternative solutions. This will allow you to discuss progress within the business so you can make a quicker, informed decision moving forward.

Knowledge: How does the agency keep up to date, and discover innovative ways to find candidates? What is their reach, to ensure you get a varied and global list of candidates together? Most of us are familiar with the quote from Albert Einstein ‘Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. It is good to know what your agency does to stand out from the rest and how they use their knowledge to not only proactively approach, but bring the right candidates to you.

If you would like to discuss your own thoughts and opinion on the above points, or have had an experience in the past you would like to share, please don’t hesitate to contact Jade at or call on +44 121 616 3472

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9th April

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