How To Choose The Best Recruitment Agency. A recruitment agency can help you find your dream job, for more money, faster – but not all recruiters are equal. There are lots to choose from and it can be hard to sort the good from the bad. Here’s how to make sure you find a good one…

Before you even start looking for a recruitment agency, take a bit of time to work out what you want – what kind of work you want to do, the size of company you enjoy working for, where you’d like to be based, what sector you’d like to work in, and whether you want temporary or permanent work – oh, and how much you’d like to realistically earn. Stay flexible, but this will help you find the right recruiter – and help them find the right role for you.

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Phase I

Desk Research

Come up with a shortlist of agencies before you waste time sending emails to all and fielding irrelevant replies. Half-an-hour now could save a lot of heartache later on…


Ask For Recommendations

There’s no better assurance than a recommendation from someone who has used a recruitment agency – both as a job seeker and as an employer. Ask former colleagues or trusted contacts for their opinions and recommendations.

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A Credit To The Company

Take a five-minute tour of the agency’s website – they have a website, right? First, look for accreditations and membership of industry bodies. They should be a member of a recruitment body working to the highest standards in British recruitment.

For construction, CHAS (The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme) is a good thing, as is a credit for the Constructionline database. Also check for certification by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

If you’re targeting one location, then look at the office address and signs of local expertise such as Constructing Excellence South West.


Background Check

A specialist recruitment agency will likely be better informed, with better connections than a generalist, but make sure they really have experience of both your industry and recruitment in general. Blogs, news articles and team profiles are good for this.

Client testimonials are not only a clear indication of the recruiter’s contacts, but also that employers value the agency’s work enough to say so to the world.


Pretty Vacancies

Look through online vacancies on their site to make sure the roles they recruit for broadly match your ambitions, even though the latest positions vacant may not be listed.


Check The Company’s Pulse

If the website was last updated sometime last year, that’s a sure sign they’re not very busy (unless it’s the first week of January). You should see new vacancies in the last seven days and preferably a recent blog about the company itself or the wider industry.


Going Offsite

Search social media to see if the agency’s profiles are up to date or neglected. Any business with something worth shouting about will shout about it. Google them, looking for links from employers, positive user reviews and industry awards.

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Phase II

Make Contact

Your research has ensured the agencies worth talking to, but there are more questions to ask. Take notes to refer back to – if you speak to half a dozen agencies, it might be difficult to remember who said what later.


The Professionals

How does the company come across – professional or sloppy? Chances are, that’s how clients feel about them too; and you’ll be seen in the same light. How does the receptionist answer your call? Are you connected efficiently? If they promise a reply by email, does it come when they promised? How is it formatted?


 Passion Not Profit

If the first question from the agency is how much you want to earn, they’re just working out how much commission they’re looking at. Move along. Similarly, ask how they make a profit. It’s usually from the hiring company, so say goodbye if they charge a fee of candidates.

It’s a great sign if the recruiter is interested in your work history and where you want to take your career. Specialist recruiters should be passionate about the sector and the people that make it happen.


What Services Do They Offer?

Some agencies will use your CV to plug a gap for a client, while others will take the time and effort to match you to the right role. The former will close your file when you sign on the dotted line, while the latter will continue to offer support right up to your first day – and even beyond.


Recent Form

Find out what roles they’ve filled recently – and where. Ask what their candidates gone on to do regarding promotions or length of service. No recruiter will break confidence, but their answer should demonstrate ongoing contact and support.


Don’t Spam

It’s tempting to register with a bunch of places and see who comes up trumps, but it’s more effective to be selective and build a real relationship with the right agency. They’ll be more motivated to work on your behalf if you work as a team.


Phase III

Stay In Touch

Talk to the team that’s working for you after you sign them. Even if your dream job isn’t out there right now, they’ll be the first to hear about it – often before it’s even advertised. And you want to be at the top of their mental rolodex when it does…

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Talk To Us

We’re proud of the work we do at Kingston Barnes, for clients and candidates alike. If you’re looking to step up your career in construction, consulting and engineering, then we’re confident that we pass every test as a market-leading recruitment agency.

Take your time, do your research and if you think we can help, then we’d love to hear from you. Talk to us today on 0117 325 2233 or send us an email at


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