Finding the Right Logistics Recruiter

Alex Metz, president, Hunt Ltd., Lindhurst, N.J., offers these tips on deciding when to use a logistics recruiter and selecting the right one.

1. Recognize when you need help. If you need to replace an individual on staff confidentially, or you have a limited HR department that cannot process the field calls and interview candidates, a recruiter could help. If you’re looking for a job and don’t have time to explore opportunities outside your current company, a recruiter could be beneficial.

2. Use available resources to locate a recruiter that specializes in logistics. Check with your employees or associates in the field for names of recruiters in your area. Scan trade publications, and conduct searches online. The Kennedy Directory of Executive Recruiters lists firms by specialization, as well as geographically. Trade associations are also a good source for finding recruiting firms.

3. Do your homework. If you are looking to hire, prepare a job description and detail the qualifications you require for an individual to succeed. Invite the potential recruiter to visit you. It becomes a big advantage to have the recruiter meet the person the position reports to.

4. Quantify your background and accomplishments. As a job seeker, prepare a resume highlighting past accomplishments, not responsibilities. Being responsible for a function does not mean you had any success at it. Quantify your background by showing how many budget dollars were under your direction, how many orders were handled on a typical day, how large a staff you managed. Meet with the recruiter you work with, or at least spend time on the phone so he or she gets a complete picture of your past and understands where you want to be in the future.

5. Check references. Ask the recruiter about similar assignments, and the success they have had. Ask for a client list. Some questions to ask: How long does it typically take to fill such an assignment? Are your expectations realistic—does the experience required match the compensation you will pay a new employee?

6. Be realistic. Some companies fail to recruit someone due to unrealistic salary packages coupled with education and work history. Yes, companies sometimes offer more than the position normally would pay, which makes job seekers skeptical. What is not being told about this position or working conditions? On the other hand, not offering enough salary is equally as bad. “If you offer peanuts for salary, you can expect monkeys.”

7. Understand the terms of the contract. Discuss in detail what the recruiter will and will not do. Ask for a breakdown of service fees and guarantee periods. After all, if you hire an individual who leaves shortly after he begins, are you entitled to a refund, a credit, and a new hire?

8. Decide between contingency and retainer. In the past, many assignments were handled on a contingency basis—the employer would pay the service fee only if the recruiter found an acceptable individual. Lately, more senior level positions almost demand the assignments to be handled on a retained basis, where some money is paid to the recruiter upon accepting the assignment. More job seekers now ask the recruiter if the assignment is being handled by retainer or a contingency basis. Some individuals feel if the company does not value the function enough to make an upfront commitment, they are not interested.

9. Understand the processes utilized. Don’t commit to a recruiter who fishes electronic job boards; find one who has more creative ways to develop candidate pools. The recruiter needs to meet candidates, and conduct in-depth telephone interviews and background searches.

10. Keep the lines of communication open.If the recruiter submits resumes to you, read them in a timely manner and share your views. Same holds true for job seekers—share your input with the recruiter.