1. Do you specialize in my industry or professional area? This is a crucial question. The best employers like to work with recruitment agents who specialize in their industry or profession area. So, if you want to access the best jobs/firms, choose a specialist agency. As well as the agency itself being a specialist, the agency’s recruiter should have at least two years of specialism in your niche too, and the longer the better. The best way to establish this information is by asking and by reviewing the agency team’s individual LinkedIn profiles.
2. Can you tell me the number of placements you have made in the last six months and the titles of these roles? Recruiters should be able to provide you with details of placements that they have made that are similar in nature to roles that you would be suited for. They may be reluctant to give you specific names of employersthough.
You also want to see if they have a good pipeline of opportunities in your niche, e.g. if they place two or three people a month in your niche then this sounds like a well connected recruiter, but if he/she has only placed one in six months it could mean that they are outside the loop and opportunities may be thin on the ground, which suggests it could be worth looking elsewhere.
3. What is their process, i.e. how will they market you to employers? You need to establish things like whether they will be proactively marketing you to a range of employers. Or will they simply contact you when they have an opportunity that suits your skills and experience? If so, how many suitable opportunities do they expect to come in during a typical month? If they appear highly proactive and confident that they will provide a good volume of opportunities, you might consider working with them exclusively. If not, you should probably consider working with additional recruiters to ensure you get enough opportunities coming in to your inbox.