In a tough job market, IT professionals often call on industry recruiters for help in finding a job. But evaluating and choosing recruiters can be a challenge for new job hunters and consultants who’ve never worked with one before.

The first step is learning what questions to ask and the information you need in order to make an educated choice. The second is investigating several firms to make sure you’re getting the best recruiter representation for your needs.

We’ve created a recruiter comparison checklist to help you track recruiter information and compare several recruiting firms with ease. This spreadsheet tool provides individual worksheets for each recruiting agency you’re considering. It also details the various aspects of working with recruiters—from cost to geographic reach.

How to use the checklist
Each sheet provides data fields for the following information, which you’ll want to collect when talking with prospective recruiters:

  • Contractual terms: Do you need to sign up, and if so, what is the time period?
  • Fee structure: Who pays the recruiter if you land a job—you or the employer?
  • Anticipated fee: Total cost of using the firm
  • Specialty: What IT specialties or industries do they represent?
  • Firm experience: How long have they been in business?
  • Geographic reach: How wide or narrow is their client base?
  • Typical size of client firms: How large (1,000 or 50 employees) are their clients?
  • Lead time on interviews: Do they give you no notice or 24-hour notice of scheduled interviews?
  • Number of interviews promised: Do they promise a certain number of interviews?
  • Candidate obligations for interviews: Are you expected to take job tests, etc.?
  • Communication preferences: What’s the best way to reach the recruiter?
  • Communication availability: How accessible is the recruiter? Does recruiter return e-mails the same day, etc.?

Each sheet also has data fields for contact information and check boxes so you can track when you’ve sent a resume and what requirements the recruiter has of you as a candidate (references, a project success sheet, full CV, etc.). There’s also a check box to use if the recruiting firm indicates it can find a job meeting your salary requirements. Once you enter the information, you can then select a rating (unacceptable, poor, fair, good, outstanding) for each recruiting firm.

A good comparison look
When you’ve completed the data sheets for all the recruiter agencies you’re considering, the tool will pull specific fields of data (overall rating, anticipated fee, specialty, geographic reach, and contractual terms) into the comparison page. This page provides a good, clean glimpse at how the agencies compare so that your determination is based on the facts and issues most applicable to your needs.

There’s no reason to duplicate your efforts or pay for more than you need when you’re searching for the right recruiter. By using this downloadable recruiter checklist tool, you can more easily make the best decision.