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  • 26 Feb 2018  | | Recruitment 101: The Basics | Part 2
    The 5 best ways to identify good recruitment agencies

    With hundreds of recruitment agencies in the market, finding the right one to represent your candidature or business can be a daunting task. After explaining in the first article of our ‘Recruitment 101 – The Basics’ series how recruitment agencies work, we will continue our series with some helpful guidance in identifying the best agencies to work with.


    1.    Reviews

    Independent reviews from candidates and employers are one of the best tools to identify just ‘how good’ an agency is. Through neutral review aggregators, such as, you will be able to easily identify not only which agencies are among the best, but why.

    2.    Industry Specialization

    An agency that is specialized on their respective industry, contrary to accepting any and all assignments, is often better suited to represent you as they are more likely to have the required contacts and knowledge of technicalities and the sector you are operating in. While agencies that are specialized in niches are common, there are also larger agencies that have dedicated desks for several industries, which is definitely preferable over agencies that follow a generalist approach. Agencies with dedicated market reports and industry-relevant papers will be trusted and consulted by industry professionals and therefore should be given preference!

    3.    Communication

    Getting in touch with an agency by phone is often a great way to experience how individual agents and employees of the agency deal with stakeholders of their business. Are you talked to in a rude way, with the person on the other end trying to get you off the line as fast as possible through requesting an email to a generic address? Chances are that (other) employers and candidates are handled in a similar way, eventually diminishing the agency’s reputation and willingness of stakeholders to engage with it. The same goes, of course, for email correspondence.

    4.    Terms

    Don’t worry, this point is not as technical as it sounds! If the agency charges candidates for introducing their profiles to employers – stay away, it is certainly bad practice and, depending on your jurisdiction, possibly illegal. Similarly, agencies which refuse to reveal the name of the employer they represent, or with lacking willingness to explain and share the employer’s requirements in detail, should be reconsidered. The same goes for agencies that ‘spam’ profiles of candidates to employers, including unsolicited introductory ones.

    5.    Job advertisements

    Employers tend to hire recruitment agencies to find passive candidates, which are candidates that are not actively applying or aiming to change jobs. This is important to keep in mind, as contracting an agency is much more expensive than posting a job advertisement (for instance, agencies often charge more than 15% of a candidate’s annual salary, whereas job advertisements on websites such as LinkedIn can be purchased for as little as USD 5 per day). If you see that an agency has a multitude of advertisements open, it could mean that they a) don’t really do what they are actually expected to do, which is headhunt passive candidates, and a sign of questionable business practices, or b) building a database of profiles without an actual opening. Either point is not likely to contribute to a positive reputation of the agency and, in turn, those candidates and employers represented by it.



    Working together with the right agency, regardless of whether you are a candidate or employer, is essential in securing the best opportunity or talent available in the market. While our list is in no way conclusive, it hopefully gives you a good starting point as to how to evaluate whether an agency is the right one to get in touch with in the first place.

    Follow us & stay tuned for more articles in our ‘Recruitment 101 – The Basics’ series, as there is much more to come!


    As the MENA’s first directory and user-based ranking of recruitment agencies, is independent, unaffiliated and neutral. Featuring the most comprehensive directory of recruitment agencies with sophisticated review and ranking systems as well as direct contracting options, we are an essential contributor to facilitating and advocating the interests of employers, recruitment agencies, and candidates.