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    1. Sound finances
    If you’re paying good money to a recruitment consultancy you need to be assured that your cash is not going to disappear into a black hole of fragile cash flow. It will be the consultancy who pay the media to place your advertising. The company can only do that if it has good credit, and sound financial relationships. Cash flow is key to a successful consultancy as they will need to pay expenses and possibly temp staff’s first months’ wages before you’ve even paid their bill, if they’re not properly financed it could cause you grief.

    As in “sorry – your jobs didn’t get posted because we couldn’t pay the job board’s invoice”.

    2. Reliable systems
    Even in our digital age, any busy recruitment agency is going to be processing thousands of CVs. applications, advertising bookings, invoices, letters and contracts.

    There’s a huge circle of communication between consultancy, clients and candidates; and if it’s not processed perfectly the consequences can be catastrophic. In short, you need to know that they know what they’re doing. And without really good administrative systems they won’t have a clue.

    3. Relevant experience
    Recruitment experience goes without saying. You need people who know your market sector, your geographic area and the demographics that link the two. Knowledge of legislation that’s specific to your business is important.

    So is an awareness of the rhythm of the business year in your field and keeping on top of your competitors are doing. Knowing who else is hiring, and when; having a feel for what likely candidates are on the move, is vital information. Experience is important, yes. But relevant experience is an absolute deal breaker.

    4. Overall awareness
    Experience of your business needs to be specific and relevant, but awareness of recruitment needs to be far more wide reaching. New legislation issues like modern slavery and international regulations are subjects you can’t possibly specialise in, but you can expect your recruitment consultancy to know.

    Take a look at how they work. And where. If a visit to their offices reveals one overworked consultant and a part time receptionist the chances are they don’t have the time to get themselves up to speed with the fast moving facts of recruitment legislation. Find a team who have the resources to ensure you’re covered.

    5. The extra mile
    You want people who go the extra mile and then some. It’s about customer service, innovative thinking, attention to detail and a myriad of other difficult to define things that make a consultancy stand out from its competitors. The interesting thing here is that, as essential as the technology is when it comes to systems, it’s the personal touch that makes this happen.

    When it comes down to it, you need to interview a recruitment consultancy like you’d interview a candidate. The trick is to address these five crucial points so that the candidates you do see are the right ones. Brought to you by the right consultancy.

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