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Selecting an agency

Guidance for your organisation on how to select the right agency for your organisation.


Selecting a supply chain

You will find information on this page, and in the sub-pages, on how to appropriately select the right supply chain for your organisation.

Selecting an Agency - If you are looking into specifically a recruitment agency as a supplier, you'll find additional useful information here
Advertising Jobs Online - if you are considering advertising your labour needs online, you'll find information on how to advertise appropriately here

This page covers the following elements of the selecting a supply chain process:

  • Clear understanding of the requirement

  • Decide the process

  • The sourcing process

  • Due diligence

  • Contract

Before starting any discussions with any potential supplier, you should ensure that there is a clear understanding of the requirement:

  • Clear understanding of your staffing needs: this will help you to understand the types of suppliers and organisations to reach out to. This can range from full managed service recruitment to a gig worker assisting with a project.

  • Budget: Consider factors like average industry salaries for similar roles, National Insurance, experience, holiday allowances; good practice to consider a contingency if any negotiation is required.

  • Clear job description: (ensure that you will engage with the line manager and any dependencies); working days and hours, type and complexity of the job, holidays.  Check if there is any labour or other legislation or regulation that would need to be followed (both locally and nationally).  Think not only about the hard skills but also the soft skills, and how this person should fit in the corporate culture as well as in the overall business environment.  Your Human Resources specialist can support you with these details.

​This way, you can aim specifically towards the right pool of suppliers, without wasting valuable time in the market by providing them with a clear and structured briefing.  

Next, you will need to decide the process to follow. 

  • If you already have an existing and satisfactory business relationship with a supplier, you may wish to continue to brief them accordingly.  Of course, you could always – and it is recommended - to benchmark, even for the low scale projects, with at least three (3) suppliers by inviting them to quote (Invitation To Quote, ITQ).

  • In case there is no existing supplier, and/or there is a large scalelarge-scale requirement, then, you may consider the possibility of an Invitation To Tender (ITT), to select the partner you will work with for the selection of your temporary labour.

  • If you would like to advertise your job requirement online, check our page for Advertising Jobs Online.

If you wish to procure labour specifically through a recruitment agency, please see our page on Selecting an Agency for further advice in addition to the information below.

Having made the decision about the process (ITQ, ITT or other), you are moving to the next phase of identifying the supplier pool and defining which supplier(s) should be invited to the next stage.

Reliable references are useful and can support your sourcing process, as well as the reputation of a supplier within the specific industry. The choice of the reputable and reliable supplier will be supported by the candidates who will feel more confident that their rights and time will be respected during the recruitment process. We would encourage you to use suppliers who are partnered with SAFERjobs JobsAware as this promotes transparency in the supply chain.

It is always good practice to invite the suppliers (especially when you have not worked with them before) to a preliminary/pre-tender meeting.  Even if you work with them, it is important that you are regularly updated on the market. 

Following the meetings with the suppliers, and having run the selection process (ITQ, ITT), it is time to evaluate and decide the supplier that you will work with for this project.

Before selection, it is important to conduct due diligence.  Your company may already have some strategies in place regarding the supplier selection process, one example of which could be pre-qualification questionnaires.  Even if you have not got anything in place yet, controls that should cover areas such as financial stability, coverage, competence, references, current customers, equality principles and compliance with local and national legislation, which will give you the confidence you need to evaluate how the supplier meets (or not) your temporary labour needs and expectations.

When you make your selection, everything (contractual parties, mutual obligations, fees, compliance to legislation, etc) should be clearly stated in a contract.  It does not need to be too complicated a document however it definitely should state everything agreed between the two parties.            

Selecting an agency

Here are 6 steps you could follow when selecting an agency:

1.     Decide what you need to buy and your budget for expenditure
2.     Develop your requirements and, if necessary, your Invitation to Quote (IQT) or Invitation to Tender (ITT)
3.     Contact your preferred recruitment suppliers
4.     Arrange pre-tender meetings and answer clarification questions
5.     Evaluate supplier offerings
6.     Agree terms and instruct the chosen supplier

If your company is a Public Sector organisation, you may find further advice on selecting an agency via a supplier framework here.

Factors to consider
There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a recruitment agency to supply your recruitment needs. 
These factors will differ between Public and Private sector organisations, and between individual organisations, so it is important to have defined your needs and understand your obligations when working with an agency, as is the case with any third party supplier. 

Agency fees should be very clear from the initial step.  There are different ways an agency may charge you (percentage of the annual salary, fee based on the monthly salary, fixed fee, etc).  What is important though, is to understand what is included in these fees. 
A good approach would be to decide the available budget for this part of the project, ensuring that this budget is relevant to the market.  It is suggested that a specialised person from within your organisation (procurement professional or Human Resources) should manage this process, from sourcing to contract negotiation.  Please note that this person may require support from the stakeholders involved with this recruitment need.  

During the Invitation to Quote (ITQ) or Invitation to Tender (ITT) meetings you can identify the generic areas that play a significant role, no matter your specific requirements:

These include:

  • How the Agency ensures it complies with its legal and moral obligations

  • What the Agency’s terms and conditions both require and expect of you, their Client

  • Areas where there are joint liabilities to be managed between your organisation and the Agency (Health & Safety for example)

  • Whether the Agency’s processes are compatible or flexible with those of your organisation

Even if the agencies are established experts in their area, you still need to ensure that they will cover your specific requirements and that you will be treated in the expected, professional manner.

Advertising jobs online

If your organisation opts to advertise jobs online, it is important that the relevant Codes of Conduct are followed to ensure compliance with the UK law.

These Codes vary depending on the method used to advertise your organisation's vacancy.


Job Board

  • If you choose to use a third party in the form of a job board, then you should consider ensuring your job board complies with SAFERjobs, who offer a Code of Conduct for job boards on their website here.

Using a job board that is partnered with SAFERJobs is an important and straightforward way of ensuring that your chosen job board promotes job scam awareness and takes seriously the campaign for a safer job search, thus protecting your organisation’s job applicants. Partnered job boards can be found here.


Your organisation

  • If your organisation chooses to advertise its own jobs via its own website or platform, then the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has a number of resources that you could review to ensure that your advertisements are compliant. Please take a look at their website here.

Reporting fraudulent or fake job advertisements

If you happen to see a job advertised that you believe to be fake, or that is advertised in your organisation’s name fraudulently, please report it to SAFERJobs here.

SAFERJobs is a non-profit created to raise awareness and combat criminal activities around job advertisement scams, with an ultimate aim to protect job seekers from exploitation.

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