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What to Ask Recruitment Firms

November 19, 1999
Related Topics: Featured Article, Recruitment
Smart companies have discovered that researching, recruiting and retaining talented professionals is a top priority if they want to survive in the increasingly competitive business world.

So it goes without saying that thorough research and related background checks of potential employees is not just a good hiring procedure, it’s vital to maintaining the strength and backbone of a company’s workforce. But there must be care on both sides. Just as a recruiting firm does extensive background checks on potential candidates for business clients, any company looking to use a recruitment firm should also ask the right questions. For example, ask the recruitment firm some probing questions on how it verifies qualified candidates:

  • How many professional, unsolicited references does it research for the candidates it recommends? Personal references usually are a waste of time—we all have friends who would swear we’re the best and brightest, and perfect for that high-level position.
  • Does the recruitment firm speak directly to the person providing the reference, or is it a more impersonal and hard-to-gauge response through mail or e-mail?
  • What kinds of questions are asked of each potential candidate? An experienced research and recruitment professional asks probing questions which require detailed answers. For example, " What was the candidate’s sales volume for the last three years?" or "Give me a specific example that demonstrates the candidate’s success at mentoring his or her staff."
  • Most importantly, does the research and recruitment firm document these conversations, background data and reference checks? Extensive documentation can catch discrepancies in a candidate’s history—information which would be important to know so that a potential employer can deal with it now, rather than later.

SOURCE: Kathleen Duffy Ybarra is president of Duffy Research, Inc., an eight-year-old Phoenix-based research and professional recruitment firm with a national client base and associates located in four states. Duffy Research Inc. may be contacted at 602/942-7112. Web site live December 1, 1999 at

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