For both job seekers and companies looking to utilize a staffing partner to find the right match, this article holds true. The job market may seem to be abundent in finding great talent these days, but in reality many of the niche candidates you seek are not available and are focusing on security over compensation, so aren't leaving their employment. The fact is, hiring a quality recruiter for your company has become more important than ever. But how do you know if the recruiter you're interviewing has the right stuff to give you the advantage over your competition in finding and hiring the best job candidates? To bring the best recruiter on board, you should ask the following five questions: 1. Process A good recruiter should be able to walk you through their entire process from taking the job order through hiring and placment. You can identify how hands-on each person is, how they find candidates and how much time they spend screening candidates ahead of time. You want to ensure that candidates are properly screened and the right questions asked. For one thing, does the candidate even know who they are interviewing for or have they even seen a job description. Many recruiters will not provide that information fully and it wastes alot of time. 2. Attention to Metrics The best recruiters understand corporate recruiting metrics (quantitative measurements of performance), and can achieve metric goals. All recruiting firms have some type of metrics they follow. The question are if they are in line with yours. Thes can include the number of hires made, the time to hire (overall average time to hire, or time to hire for key positions), return on investment versus the recruiter's budget, and turnover in positions for which the recruiter hired. Find out what metrics recruiters were measured by in their previous jobs, and how they performed in terms of those metrics. If a candidate did not meet his or her goals, ask why. Look for a recruiter who understands and has experience with the kinds of metric goals your company will be using to measure his or her performance and can perform to meet those goals. 3. Sourcing Experience Where does the recruiter find his or her candidates usually? Does he or she have experience with only a single sourcing channel online job boards, for instance? Or does the candidate have experience with a wide range of sourcing channels? For job seekers, does the recruiter represent outstanding candidates? Good recruiters will have a strong network of other recruiters and professionals in job functions in which your company wants to increase hiring. The best recruiters will have a Rolodex full of contacts whom they can tap to get your company the best candidates available or the best companies to help you, the job candidate. You want to find the kind of people who aren't reluctant to make cold calls to companies when they are hiring for hard-to-fill positions. The best way to learn about these kinds of things is to ask simply, "Where do you get your candidates?" If a recruiter can't give you a direct, clear answer, watch out. A good recruiter will be able to reel off the sourcing techniques that have brought him or her the most success. And ideally, he or she will bring significant new knowledge o your company. If you can find a recruiter who has experience sourcing via channels that are utterly new to your company or to job candidates, you stand a better chance of finding candidates if you now used this person. 4. Industry or Technical Experience It's key to learn what kinds of candidates the recruiter has experience hiring. Make sure he or she has experience hiring the kinds of candidates your company needs or in the industries you seek to work in. For example, if your company or experience is with a small startup, but a recruiter has experience only with big companies, you should consider that a strike against the candidate. The same is true if you're looking for a recruiter to bring in a bunch of technical people, but the person you're interviewing has experience hiring only marketing types. Finally, ask the recruiters you interview what levels of candidates they've had significant experience hiring. If you're looking for key management-level hires or positions, but a recruiter has significant experience hiring only for junior positions, the recruiter may not have the experience (or contacts) necessary to help you. 5. What Motivates the Recruiter? The best recruiters are motivated by the challenges of recruiting itself. Money is an important factor for good recruiters, but the very best are those who love finding a good resume for an open position and make this their career, not just a job. The best recruiters also love making good matches between job candidates and jobs. They get a charge out of getting to know people, both within their company and outside of it. They enjoy learning about candidates' skills and personalities, and about the jobs they're trying to fill. There are a lot of recruiters who can find candidates whose resumes fit with open job descriptions. The best recruiters are those who can make the difficult hire-and give you the best chance of retaining new hires or again for a job-seeker, can point you in the right direction for your search. With thousands of great recruiters out there, don't just go with anyone!!!