How Many Recruiting Firms Should I be Working With?


When onboarding a new client a common question I get is “are you exclusive?” Some recruiters get offended by this question but in my opinion it is a perfectly normal question. We are not in any sort of romantic relationship, this is a business relationship and the answer should always be

“no, we do not require exclusivity but I hope to build the trust required to get to that point.”

Your grocery store does not require you to only shop there but they may offer a loyalty program or aim to keep your business with superior customer service, selection, pricing etc.

When it comes to recruiting, there are often good reasons why you may not want to be exclusive with one recruiter. There are times when utilizing the services of multiple recruiters makes sense. Below is a quick overview of the pros and cons of using multiple recruiters and below we will explore each of these points in greater detail.

Using Multiple Recruiting Companies


  • Multiple Recruiters Working For You
  • Access To More Candidates
  • Ability To Handle More Requisitions
  • Fosters Competition Which Can Bring Greater Results



When you hire multiple recruiting agencies to fill the same role you will have multiple recruiters working for you. Theoretically more people working on the same thing should net you with more results. Especially if each has their own network of candidates, this should give your job greater exposure to more candidates. Different recruiting agencies utilize different job boards and strategies so by using multiples you can get your job out to more individuals.

If you have several openings available you can also use different recruiters for different openings so that they are all covered off. If you have 50+ openings and you leave that with a solo recruiter they are not going to be able to handle the volume but if you spread them out to several recruiting companies you will get the right coverage.

Most of the best recruiters are also naturally competitive. If they know they are working against another recruiter you may get the best out of them. If they have a chip on their shoulder, particularly if it is against a competitor or rival agency this might get them fired up. I know on our end there is one recruiting firm in particular that anytime they find out we are also on the case they give the search a bit more attention. This of course is repeated on our end and it turns into a bit of a competition. I would say it is a friendly competition but that is probably not true from both sides.


More recruiters does mean more managing work. You will need to educate each on exactly what it is you need. Remember, they are representing your company you want to make sure what they are advertising is accurate. You will also need to be following up with multiple recruiters, scheduling interviews with different people etc. It can get a bit confusing on the organizational side of things.

Another con is that you will often see the same candidates from multiple sources. Especially in Niche recruiting, there are only so many candidates out there and most of us are using similar tools to find them. When you get 2 recruiters present you the same candidate there is going to be a bit of a fight, they both think it is their candidate and both are expecting a fee.

The general rule of thumb is the candidate belongs to whoever presented the candidate to you first. Insist that candidate submissions be made via e-mail so you have a time stamp on them. The problem with this is that if recruiters know they are competing with another recruiter they will rush the submission to call dibs on the candidate. This means that candidates will often not be properly vetted and you will end up wasting your time interviewing candidates who are not actually a fit for the role.

As mentioned earlier, working against another recruiting company can foster competition but it can also do the opposite. If I know there are 3 or 4 other recruiters working on the same opening, that search then becomes a low priority. Every recruiter prioritizes their desk based on what is most likely to fill and what is going to pay them the most. What will often happen then is if a recruiter is working with a great candidate and has 2 similar roles available, one where they are the only recruiter and one where they are competing, they will often send their candidate to the exclusive search first. Read more on how too much competition can be a negative.

Multiple recruiters may actually be costing you some of the better candidates as they are being sent to the companies the recruiter prefers. Having an exclusive relationship with a recruiter can build toward a partnership where you are both working toward a common goal. This is hard to do if you are playing the field.

When Using Multiple Recruiting Firms Make Sense

If you have a variety of jobs that you need to fill, you should always use multiple recruiters. Find at least one niche firm for each type of job. (Read Why Niche Matters)

If during your vetting process you are torn between 2 recruiting companies and are not sure who to use, sign them both up and put them on a trial basis. See how they perform, moving forward continue to use the one that has performed and let the other go.

If you are working with a Recruiting firm and are not happy with the results you are getting, it is time to hire a 2nd firm to see if they can do any better. Maybe it is a situation that the market has dried up and there are not many candidates available or maybe the recruiter you are working with has lost a step. Either way, put them against another and trust your future business with whoever is performing better.

When Not To Use Multiple Recruiters

If you have a great relationship with your recruiter, they are getting the job done and you trust them but a new player comes along and offers a lower rate, just say no. In recruiting you often get what you pay for and a lower fee rate is rarely a big benefit.

Also, never use more than 2 recruiters for any one opening, you are sure to get diminishing returns and too many headaches staying organized.

If you are looking for HVAC Technicians, Mechanics or Millwrights and need to add another recruiter to the search, give us a call at 1-833-937-3546 or e-mail us at Rockstar Recruiting will take your search to the next level, we are comfortable competing with any other agency you are currently working with and are confident that our results will speak for themselves.

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