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How to find the best recruitment agency for your practice

Recruitment agencies can provide an indispensable service when finding staff becomes difficult.

James Goldman
James Goldman Associate Director of Advisory Services, BDA

We examine how to avoid the pitfalls and pick the right agency for your practice.

Good agencies will have, or will be able to find, good candidates. While the fees can reach several thousands of pounds, the cost of not having a good person in place can often be higher. Most agencies will seek to provide a good service at a reasonable price, hoping to maintain your business.

Spotting the good recruitment agencies

Occasionally members approach us with situations where their chosen agency is found practicing problematic conduct. However, by the time the issues arise, it is usually too late for us to be able to help.

Prevention is always the best cure and, in most cases, regulations governing agencies are unlikely to help. There are actions you can take when choosing which agency to work with that can help you to make an informed decision:

  • Receive a recommendation from someone you trust. You may want to ask the person making the recommendation how many times they have used the agency
  • Look for reviews and testimonials from both businesses and job seekers
  • Always check the terms and conditions. You will need to be aware of when fees are set to be paid and their terms on refunds. Terms and conditions might state that fees are due, even if an offer is accepted but the person does not start
  • Check the agency has a professional looking website and well laid out terms and conditions
  • A good agency will take the time to speak to you about your practice and what you are looking for. They will want to develop a good relationship with you for this role and any future roles
  • A good agency will also keep you informed on the progress of their search.

Making your decision

It is important to make sure that you are clear with the agency about your requirements, stating the level of experience required and whether any specific skills or qualifications are needed for the role. You should also be upfront about the money you are offering.

Even if you choose a good agency, it is your responsibility to check that the candidates sent meet your requirements. Read their CVs and interview them carefully, as you would any other candidate. Do not assume the agency has carried out any of the necessary checks.

While most agencies have terms that allow for a refund, or partial refund, if a candidate they introduce does not work out, the terms for such a refund are usually strict. Make sure to promptly pay the agency's invoices, most agency terms of business will state that refunds or rebates are not payable at all unless invoices have been paid on time.

Our advice team is available to advise members on questions and issues relating to the use of recruitment agencies. Extra and Expert members can access tailored one-to-one advice by calling our advice team on 020 7563 4572 or emailing [email protected].

Don't forget that as a member you can get discounts when advertising roles on BDJ Jobs.