Tips for HR managers choosing a recruitment agency

Recruiting can be both a roadblock and accelerant to a successful global expansion, that’s why many use a recruitment agency China.

If you are expanding to new markets, finding talent is the key to success.

But, what if the HR department is low on resources and finding it difficult to hire?

Human Resources usually build relationships with recruitment firms to navigate hiring problems. The relationship between HR and recruiters can be a fractious one, though. Unfortunately, recruiting has an image problem and we need to work hard to improve it.

This is especially prevalent in technical industries. Many agencies don’t align with the values of internal HR departments or solve their problems.

This pain point is particularly sensitive at the moment in industries like energy. The Global Energy Talent Index highlighted that the sector is in a talent crisis

Of GETI’s 17,000 respondents from 162 countries

  • 40% believe a talent crisis is already here
  • 28% feel it will hit within the next five years.

That puts pressure on HR managers to find the best talent for global expansion projects.

How do I find a recruitment agency that will ensure my project is a success?

So, if you’re a HR professional, how can you choose a recruitment company that will add strategic value?

As a starting point, we recommend looking at the following five factors:

  1. Local presence and industry experience
  2. Access to pre-existing talent pools
  3. Access to market intelligence
  4. A focus on compliance
  5. The range of services they offer


1. Local presence and industry experience

If you are looking to hire niche talent, it is advisable to work with a specialist in your industry that has experience in your location.

It may be tempting to work with a large agency based on the variety of industries they work in. But, a generalist agency may be unsuitable if they don’t have an in depth understanding of your business.

One of the first things you should look at when choosing a recruiter is their portfolio. Ask about the following:

  • The companies they’ve worked with
  • The projects they’ve staffed
  • Their experience in specific regions across the globe

An experienced agency will provide recruitment case studies to show their expertise.

Look for a proven track record in delivering for firms and projects with a similar scale to yours. It is also important that they have a presence in the places you need to hire in.

Some firms may outsource the hiring process to 3rd parties. This can reduce the quality of your working relationship and slow hiring. The added delays or misunderstanding of your needs can increase costs in the long-term.

2. Access to existing talent pools

Technical and engineering firms are often reliant on contingent labour. Specialist recruitment agencies work with pre-existing talent pools.

This ensures they have vetted candidates ready and waiting to start new projects.

Evidence of existing relationships between talent and staffing agencies offers peace of mind. Both in the quality of candidates supplied and assurance of reduced time to hire.

3. Access to market intelligence

Accessing the data to make hiring decisions can be costly and resource intensive.

A specialist recruitment company should have access to insights such as:

  • Regional day rates and salaries for niche roles
  • Hiring rates
  • Time to hire
  • Employment legislation
  • Geopolitical pressures
  • Talent availability and potential skills gaps

Find out if your potential partner can provide that information. Even better, ask if they can produce a talent map so you can understand the market in greater depth.

When staffing major projects, you should also ask whether your agency can provide the below:

  • Accommodation
  • Transportation
  • Specialist tooling
  • Safety equipment
  • Other support services

4. A focus on compliance

Compliance is one of the biggest challenges currently facing HR. This is especially true when staffing projects in regions with varying regulatory regimes.

The right recruitment partner can help companies navigate this landscape. They should understand the latest regional laws and regulations that affect workforce decisions.

5. The recruitment services they offer

Finally – and as obvious as it may sound – you need to explore the services they offer. This can help you decide whether they’d be a good fit to support your wider expansion plans.

There are a range of questions hiring managers should ask their potential agency, including the following:

What does their recruitment process look like?

Are they reliant on the same job boards and active talent pool you have access to?

Do they work on a contingent or retained basis?

For niche roles you may prefer a retained consultant who will understand the role in detail. They would then utilise a range of tools to find both active and passive candidates to fit your needs.

Can they provide international mobilisation?

You need to know if your agency can move your workforce safely and compliantly across the globe.

For instance, if you are managing a major energy project, you may need to plan for global employment.

  1. Your project could begin in an office in Europe
  2. Expand to fabrication yards in Asia
  3. Arrive onshore or offshore to South America, Europe, USA, Middle East or Africa

And the unique talent pool you need could be equally as diverse.

Will your employment agency work to manage this compliantly and guarantee minimal project disruption?

Can they provide other outsourced HR services?

You may want more or need other HR support beyond recruitment. A Global Employment Outsourcing  firm can help manage employment contracts, payroll and tax.

This can be helpful when expanding to new markets without a business entity.

Key takeaways – how to choose a recruitment agency to find top talent

When you are looking to expand globally, and are in need of niche talent, a recruitment agency can help you – if you choose carefully.

Here are our key takeaways to consider:

  • Look for a specialist that will understand your needs in depth
  • Ensure they have the capability and footprint to deliver in the hiring location
  • Ask which other services they can provide to ensure you remain compliant

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