Recruiting And Retention
IT Recruitment Agencies – How to Find the Best One

IT Recruitment Agencies – How to Find the Best One

by Jesus Lopez   |   March 30, 2021   |     8 min read

Today, finding software engineering talent can be done through internal HR departments or through external recruiting agencies. With the increasing demand for developers, IT recruiting agencies have become more popular, but not all agencies provide the same level of service or quality. 

Choosing the right recruitment agency can reduce your overall time-to-hire, help you find the tech stack you need, and reduce your overall overhead costs when recruiting. Not all agencies are made the same, and not being able to reliably get quality profiles and service can impact negatively on your company’s productivity and ability to reach tech milestones.

A good recruitment agency is not a one size fits all solution, it depends on the needs of a company at a particular time. We recommend using the following evaluation criteria to help you effectively and adequately assess them before engaging in a business relationship. 

Type of Agency

The first factor is understanding the different types of recruitment agencies. All of them serve a particular purpose and the decision to choose one over the other depends on your needs. 

  • Headhunters – One-man shops, these are usually people with industry experience who’re branching out and serve individual clients on an ad-hoc basis. They usually rely on their existing network to find talent. They are usually industry-focused and low-cost. 
  • Boutique recruiting agencies – Small agencies that provide sourcing for multiple industries or roles. They are characterized by having a good balance between service and quality. Moderate cost.
  • Niche recruitment agencies Similar to boutique agencies, but highly specialized in a particular industry or role. These are highly effective for companies looking for the best talent. These have a good balance between service and quality. Moderate cost.
  • Large recruiting agencies – These are companies who provide a great experience, have greater reach to acquire talent, and are both broad in the roles they cover and deep in the quality, they can find. Higher cost. 
  • Executive recruitment agencies – Agencies focused on executive personnel only. These are usually C-level positions companies are looking to fill. They are similar to niche agencies, but usually come in large sizes and are very focused on quality. High cost. 

The best type of agency is completely dependent on your company’s needs at the moment. 

Types of Services

Evaluating the types of services an agency offers will give you an insight into the type of relationship your company can form with them. 

Recruiting agencies usually provide one or more of the following services:

  • Direct Hire – Hire for a fee
  • Recruiter on retainer – Receive a predetermined number of CVs a month
  • Staffing or Staff Augmentation – Hire someone for a fixed rate or hourly rate in the short or long-term
  • Dedicated Remote Teams – Hire a team for a fixed rate in a remote location
  • Managed Services – Manage payroll, benefits, and HR operations for your hires. Some even offer the Build-Operate-Transfer model for building nearshore tech teams. 

They also have different engagement terms ranging from on-demand, retainer, six months, 12 months, and open-ended 

The best IT recruiting agencies provide a mix of services that you can use on-demand or recurrently. What you’re looking for here beyond the services is to be nimble to adjust courses quickly and have them adjust along with you. 

Cost and Time for Hiring

The next two crucial factors you should assess when choosing an IT recruitment agency; the cost-per-hire and the average time-to-fill. How do those align with your needs and budget?

As we’ve mentioned recruitment agencies can come in all forms, shapes, and sizes; from one-man shops to full-blown agencies that support multiple roles. So are their costs and timelines.

Here’s a range of success fees you should expect for a simple pay-to-play relationship

it recuitment agencies illustration

The fee charged will be directly reflected in the whole recruiting experience, the quality of the engineering prospects received, and the time-to-fill. 

Agencies usually talk about ranges from 4 weeks all the way to 10 weeks for a recruiting process. Most will try to hide or shy away from this fact and promise a quick 5-day turnaround for any position received. Press harder on this issue to really see some case studies when that has happened and the whole process they use from start to finish. 

The best agencies will give you a framework of what you can expect from their service from the opening of a position to the hiring of a software engineer, often overshooting the time taken to fill a position. The best recruiting agencies take around 30-33 days to fill a position. Use this as a benchmark. 

Some other interesting data to consider as you evaluate:

  • A single internal HR recruiter or a one-man-shop can take anywhere from 50-80 days to fill a position
  • The optimal time to hire a software engineer takes around 30-45 days. 

The Recruitment Process

With the rise of the experience economy, it’s not only about the CV’s you receive and the hires you make, but about how the whole process flows to arrive at that point and even what happens beyond that. 

Review aspects of the IT recruitment agency’s process to understand how the whole process will unfold, what the expectation is in terms of timelines, candidate vetting, CVs, profiles, communication, and interview processes. 

Evaluate a company across:

  • What’s the communication expectation? Asynchronous or synchronous?
  • How and where will I receive CVs? What is expected of those CVs?
  • How do you match prospective engineers with my position? – more on this later
  • What timelines should I expect?
  • What happens after I receive CVs? 
  • How does your agency adapt to my interview process?
  • What vetting process do you follow?

The best-recruiting agencies will have a streamlined experience where expectations are communicated early in the relationship. They’ll keep you informed across the whole process, provide detailed reports on their evaluations, meet regularly to adjust their processes to best fit your needs, adapt to your interview process, and continously ask for feedback.

Recruiters Format of the Developers’ CV

One giveaway of an excellent IT recruitment agency is that each provided CV is written in the same format and contains no more than 1 to 2 pages. 

It allows for easier reading and ensuring it follows a format that’s industry standard and provides the best information in the cleanest possible manner, shortening your decision time. 

Vetting Process

vetting process for it recruitment agencies image

The way agencies vet talent is an integral part of their service as it directly impacts the time it takes to fill a position and the number of reviewed candidates. Most recruiting companies will boast they have the “top 1-5% of talent” in their ranks, be sure to understand what that means. 

The vetting process is the way they filter prospective engineers from the first conversation to submitting them to your open positions. There are a variety of approaches but usually include:

  • General screening 
  • Technical screening
  • Technical interview
  • Personality interview
  • Take-home projects

The best-recruiting agencies provide a thorough evaluation of their candidates and share this with you. While most have a combination of the above-factors, those who have most of them also suffer from the delay in time it takes to complete all of these assessments. Look for a good balance of these in a good agency. 

Matching Process

Another essential piece, how a recruitment agency matches your company’s open positions to talent can mean sifting through 3 resumes versus reviewing 20. 

There are several ways companies match talent with job positions from manually matching all the way to using AI automation software. Each with its respective benefits, but the most important part is to understand the parameters used for matching, what criteria are they using to assess a “good fit”? 

The best agencies are those who match prospective candidates using in-depth criteria like Role, Years of Professional Experience, Skills Requested, Years of Experience in those Skills, Soft Skills, and Culture fit. 

Word of caution here, this is one factor that your company CAN influence. By providing a complete and thorough job description you can ensure this matching process really aligns with your specific needs. 

Strong Sales Skills

Your IT recruitment agency will enter the marketing world to find the ideal employees, which means that your existing pool of recruiters is in charge of turning down a potential key member of your business.

Therefore, you need to find top-notch quality IT recruitment teams boasting strong sales abilities. They appropriately represent your brand to potential employees and persuade them that you are the perfect candidate.   

Constantly Improving

If you’ve hit the jackpot with hiring the perfect IT recruitment team, then you’ll notice that they are always trying to get better at their job. 

For this reason, they’ll take the time out of their schedule to go over your business needs and receive feedback on a day-to-day basis to make sure they are targeting the ideal candidates for your organization.  

Closing Thoughts

Taking the time to Identify a good recruitment agency is one of the investments that will pay dividends in the long run. It will allow your company to be assured that they can rely on an IT partner that will deliver on the hiring needs they have continuously. 

The best recruiting agencies do not hide their strengths or weaknesses, they are open about them and embrace them to ensure that there’s a clear expectation of what they will deliver. They are also in constant improvement and take your feedback and comments very seriously. 

CodersLink is a recruiting agency specializing in empowering companies to build, grow and manage remote tech teams in Latin America. Through direct-hire, staff augmentation, and managed service options, it provides the versatility a growing company needs to scale according to their needs. 

Interested in seeing how we can be a resource? Chat with us today.

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