Hiring can be a difficult, time-consuming process, but failing to take the time to do it right can be disastrous. Using a direct hire recruiter can assist an employer with the hiring process. These recruiters can serve as consultants and their immense knowledge of the local labor pool can help you choose the best candidates to fill your particular needs.

This investment can not only help prevent hiring errors, it can save time by eliminating the need to devote resources to screening candidates.

“A company may not be hiring every day of the year, whereas a direct hire recruiter is constantly talking with candidates,” says Michael Stanley, a recruiter with The Daniel Group. “This gives recruiters an expert level of knowledge of the pool of potential hires, compared with the snapshot that an employer might get during intermittent hiring periods.”

Smart Business spoke with Stanley about how to select a recruiting firm among the many that are vying for your business.

How do recruiters choose employees for clients?

Recruiters should work to discover the particular skill sets its client is looking for in a candidate to ensure the new hire matches an employer’s needs. This requires working from more than just a job description. Your recruiter needs to understand your culture and general atmosphere to gauge the intangibles that a potential hire might need to fit in, such as personality.

To achieve this, it’s important that the recruiter visit with an employer to get a feel for the environment. Have your recruiter meet with the hiring manager and visit your location to get a more detailed picture of the total work environment. This will greatly improve the chances of finding the right person for the job.

Also, during initial meetings, it’s important to convey to the recruiter what career path you expect the candidate to progress through. This will allow a recruiter to best match what the candidate is looking for with what you expect.

How can a company work with its recruiter to ensure it is getting the best employees for the position?

Ideally, companies should reach out to a recruiter during the planning stages of their hiring process, or about six to 12 months before they expect to bring additional employees on board.

When talking with your recruiter, be honest in terms of what you need in a candidate. The more information a recruiter has about a company, the position, and its short- and long-term goals for the employee, the better chance he or she has of finding the perfect candidate.

What if an employer is dissatisfied with the candidates being referred?

If the candidates being presented are not in line with what you’re looking for, be honest and offer feedback as to what needs aren’t being addressed. A recruiter will then reassess its approach and work to close the gap between what is being provided and what is needed.

In the event that a hiring decision has been made, some recruiters offer a guarantee that if the employee doesn’t work out, for whatever reason, within the first year, he or she will be replaced without charge.

What responsibilities does a recruiter have regarding the employees it selects for clients?

Recruiters take candidates through a full screening process that can be standard — criminal background check, salary verification and reference checks — or catered to the particular needs of an employer. Once the candidate has gone through screening, a recruiter will give the client a basic description of the potential hire’s skills and qualifications, as well as an off-paper account of the person.

While a recruiter works for the client, meaning its primary responsibility is to meet the client’s needs, a relationship is also established between the recruiter and the candidate. This means that not only will the recruiter be honest and up front with the person about the company, the position and what it entails, but candidates tend to be more honest with a recruiter than they are with an employer. This can help a recruiter dig deeper and discover personality traits and experiences not listed on a resume that can help determine who might be the better fit.

What cost savings are involved by working through a recruiter?

There are a lot of resources devoted toward filling a position, including personnel, time and money. Employers should do what they do best, which is run their business. The cost savings realized from working with a recruiter come from allocating resources that would otherwise have to be tied up in hiring to more critical functions.

Time saved is also a significant consideration. Recruiters can distill the candidate pool down to the top candidates for a position, rather than the employer having to review hundreds of unscreened resumes, which is incredibly frustrating and time consuming. Why screen 200 resumes when a recruiter can provide you with three or four that match the exact skill sets you’re looking for?

How can employers drill down to find the right staffing firm?

There are lots of staffing firms and they all deal in people. What sets staffing firms apart are the individuals who work for them. Having that direct relationship with a person you can trust and have had success with is important.

Also take into consideration the firm’s history, how long it’s been in the market and its successes in your industry. While an Internet search can offer an initial list of staffing agencies, it’s a good idea to ask a firm for client references to get a sense of its performance.

Michael Stanley is a recruiter with The Daniel Group. Reach him at  (713) 932-9313 or mstanley@danielgroupus.com.

Insights Staffing is brought to you by The Daniel Group

Published in Houston