How To Differentiate Between Good and Bad Recruiters

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Find the right recruiter for the job

How to differentiate between good and bad recruiters?


Hiring new staff can be a difficult and time-consuming process, so there’s no surprise that many businesses choose recruiters to bring them the best candidates. The challenge lies in finding the best recruiter for your area and industry. There are some incredible recruiters in the Australian market and the easier it is to find them, partner with them, and hire their professionally screened talent, the easier and more enjoyable your hiring experience will be.

Our handy article outlines how to identify a good recruiter, and what to avoid.


Imagine being invited over to a friend’s house and you have to strategically step around buckets that are littered throughout their house collecting leaking rainwater.

Would it come as much of a surprise to learn that instead of using a licenced roofer, they decided to save money by using a handyman that they found on Google with no ratings?

Probably not.

It would come as no surprise that hiring the wrong recruiter will have a direct correlation with the quality of candidate that they hire for you. So, it’s vital to feel confident that you are working with one of the best recruitment consultants available.

You’re the one that has the responsibility of picking the right recruiter and more importantly, hiring the best candidate that you receive through them.

So how do you find the best recruiters when there are over 7,000 recruitment agencies in Australia?

We suggest that you should use TalentVine to receive custom bids from top-rated specialist recruiters. The platform presents you with the best recruiters for your business that have been rated and measured through TalentVineby your industry peers. However, for the sake of this question, let’s identify ways that you could differentiate between the best and worst recruiters available to help you.

You’ve probably heard about some recruitment agencies due to their brand presence such as Hays, Randstad, Workpac, Chandler MacLeod, Hudson, Robert Half, Robert Walters and Michael Page International. However, agency names have no correlation with the quality of a consultant. You wouldn’t bet the house on Switzerland winning the Olympics just because Federer is likely to win the tennis gold. So, how do you find your Roger in the world of recruitment agencies?

What is their area of specialisation?

Like the above handyman, he could probably do a great job of oiling your deck or fixing some loose fence posts but it’s best to leave the roofing to the experts. The deeper the recruiter’s specialization the better. If you are looking to hire a DevOps Engineer then you won’t have much luck using a recruiter that only specializes In legal positions.

You need a recruiter that  specializes in DevOps… they know who the best talent is in the market, they know which candidates are working for your competitors and are looking to move. They will know what salary rates you should be willing to offer in that city for the different levels of experience and will know what the top candidates are looking for as a part of their future development. This is all invaluable information which you get as part of the recruitment fee. As they will have their finger on the pulse, our time to hire will drop significantly as they will have an available network of candidates ready to call upon for you instead of starting the process from scratch.

Have they taken the time to understand who you’re looking to hire?

A good recruiter will take the time to understand all the details of the role that you’re looking to hire. Not just to understand the skills and experience you’re looking for but to also get a feel for the company culture, the goals and why people stay and leave. They will want to know what the future line manager’s management style is and what kind of projects the candidates will be working on in their first six months.

This is all information that’s incredibly important to understand when the recruiter is in the market representing your organisation and ‘selling’ the role to candidates.

So if the good ones take a brief, what do the bad ones do?

A bad recruiter will not even take a recruitment brief and will start bombarding you with candidates based purely on the details that they saw on the Seek or careers page ad. A lot of the time these candidates won’t even know that they are being put forward for a certain role which is highly unethical and you should avoid recruiters that look to engage with you in this format.

Plus, if no terms have been signed upfront so you could get a nasty surprise when they present you with an invoice for tens of thousands more than you were expecting.

Ok, what does it cost to use a good recruiter?

We will get to that, but first I want you to think what is the cost of a bad hire.

It’s impossible to judge a good or bad recruiter based on their price. An amazing recruiter that finds you a candidate that can double your revenue in a short space of time might charge double what a bad recruiter charges.

A fair range of fees will be around 10% to 20% and depend on the availability of talent, the seniority of the role, the job sector and the location of the role. For example an Office Manager in Sydney CBD might cost 10% whereas the CEO of a Healthtech company in Darwin might command a 20% fee as this will involve headhunting an executive level leader and convincing them to move states.

Through TalentVine you’re able to compare and select fees from hundreds of recruiters at once. Seeing them side-by-side, you can decide if you want a good recruiter for cheap, or a great recruiter for a little bit more. If you’re not using the platform then you should always get at least three quotes from agencies before settling on a fee.

Trust Your Gut

TalentVine gives employers data-driven insights into the right recruiter and this is proven to predict future recruiting performance.

Even still, there is no harm in trusting your gut and finding the person that you have a good connection with. Are they salesy or are they trying to add value? Are they reliable and deliver when they say they will?

The right recruiter will be an incredible ally and partner that is invested in the growth and wellbeing of your business. This is not a master and slave relationship. Your recruiter is a true partner and when you find someone that you can trust to guide you and your future candidates through some crucial hires, you should trust your instinct and partner up.


Those are our tips on how to ensure you find a quality recruiter, and how to avoid choosing a poor one. TalentVine can simplify the process even further by showing you side-by-side the rates, experience, ratings and reviews of specialist recruiters tailored to your business, meaning you can find the best recruitment agency easily.

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