Skip to the main content.

2 min read

Why recruiting Agencies Send You Unqualified Candidates

How often do you get unqualified candidates from your direct hire agencies?

According to our performance benchmarks, a good recruiter will get 20-30% of their candidates interviewed. While both parties would surely love to see 100% of submitted candidates make it to the interview stage, there are several things that may be standing in the way:

1. You’re not their top priority.

Recruiters work with a variety of clients on a variety of roles at any given time and have to make tough decisions around which to prioritize. They may do so based on their probability of a successful hire, the fee at stake, or the strength of their relationship with the employer.

If they have two open reqs that would be a great fit for a candidate, but they know one is serious about making a hire quickly and will pay top dollar for the right person, they will prioritize the employer that gives them the greater chance of success.

To increase your priority ranking, start by building a solid relationship with your recruiter. Treat them like a partner on your hiring team and communicate with them often. Over time, they will get better at sending you the right candidates (which will increase their chances of a successful placement) and will be straightforward with you if they know you’re not offering competitive compensation.

2. They’re chasing after a purple squirrel.

If your must-have skills and qualifications list reads like a 10 year old’s Christmas list, you may be severely limiting your recruiter’s ability to find you a qualified candidate. Your recruiter doesn’t want to come up empty-handed, so they send over candidates who very closely fit the description – minus a checkbox or two.

The problem is, those missing checkboxes represent your non-negotiable skills for the position.

To get the best possible candidates when you have a long wish list, prioritize your must-haves, and move non-essentials to a nice-to-have list. This allows your recruiter to expand a narrow search without sacrificing quality.

3. You haven’t given them feedback.

One of the most common complaints agencies have about employers is their lack of communication. It can be difficult for an employer to brain-dump all that they’re looking for in a candidate during an initial agency kickoff meeting, so the first round of submitted candidates are frequently a little off. But, without feedback, recruiters don’t know how they can improve the candidates they’re sending you.

Feedback allows your recruiter to fine-tune the candidates they submit to you, but it has to be specific. If you don’t like a submitted candidate, explain what’s missing from their profile. When a candidate doesn’t make it to the next round of the interview process, or doesn’t receive an offer, let your recruiter know why.

4. They don’t specialize in the position you’re trying to fill.

While there’s a lot to be said about working with direct hire agencies you know, and who know you, it may not be enough for all of your positions. When a recruiter doesn’t understand the nuances of a position, they may have difficultly sourcing and screening candidates.

A specialist recruitment agency, on the other hand, will have a network of candidates ready to go, will know what to look for when they source, and will know the right questions to ask to qualify their candidates. Even if you have a go-to network of recruiters, it can never hurt to bring a specialist in for those hard-to-fill roles.

What tips do you have for improving the quality of candidates you get from direct hire agencies?

From Unemployment to Wage Growth: 10 External Indicators That Drive Talent Decisions

From Unemployment to Wage Growth: 10 External Indicators That Drive Talent Decisions

We all know the feeling in human resources and talent acquisition—the constant need to stay one step ahead.

Read More
Quick Hires, Quality Talent: 6 Ways to Reduce Time to Fill

Quick Hires, Quality Talent: 6 Ways to Reduce Time to Fill

I'm sure this isn't a surprise—filling open positions quickly is super important to your organization, regardless of size or industry. After all, a...

Read More
Top 5 Terms for Every Recruiting Agency Contract

Top 5 Terms for Every Recruiting Agency Contract

Signing a contract is a big deal—especially when you're reviewing or signing on behalf of your organization.

Read More