Choosing and hiring the right person from thousands of resumés is critical for any company. Often, these companies will engage recruitment experts to help with their hiring needs.

When you hand over this important role to an employment agency, you should make sure that you are working with only the best in the industry. So how do you know if it is the right agency for you?

Here are some tips for selecting the right employment agency in Singapore:


Check its credentials

There are errant employment agencies that flout labour laws or help their clients do so. Or some may have had complaints registered against them. So first do a check with the Ministry of Manpower to find out if the employment agency you are planning to engage has been blacklisted by the authorities.

On a more positive note, you should check the track record of the agency you are thinking of giving your business to — for example, how long has it been in operation, what is its reputation within the industry, has it won awards that testify to its excellence in business?

The last point provides a good barometer because for the agency to win such business awards, its business operations would have been thoroughly examined by the judging panel against a set of stringent criteria. 

Additionally, you can check whether it is an ISO:9000-certified company, as not many employment agencies in Singapore have such qualifications. This shows that the company has spent time and effort to build up its internal processes in order to qualify for the certification. 


Area of specialisation

Some employment agencies specialise in certain industries so you may want to check if you have industry-specific needs.

Additionally, consider the category of position you need to fill. Is it a permanent, temporary or contract role? Or is it a C-level senior executive that you need to hire?

Check if the agency has several divisions that cater to these various categories. For example, it may have a general recruitment division that covers permanent, temporary and contract placements across various industries while its technology recruitment division specialises in technology-based portfolios. It may also have an executive search division that specialises in headhunting senior executives for top positions.  


Screening process

Check if the employment agency has a rock-solid screening process. Does it use a set of criteria or standard operating procedures for shortlisting the interview candidates before presenting them to you? Or does it just forward you a whole bunch of resumés that have not been pre-screened?

A good employment agency will take the effort to do thorough checks before even presenting the shortlisted candidates to you, particularly for permanent positions.

Some reliable agencies require all candidates to come down to their office and meet with their consultants who will screen them in person.


Interview the agency

Before engaging an employment agency in Singapore, be sure to interact with its consultants at length to get a sense of whether they have the right aptitude to match the right candidates with your organisation.

Start by talking to them and finding out if they are up-to-date on all the latest employment laws and policies in Singapore. This will help you gauge their level of professionalism and how proactive they are in keeping abreast of the latest industry news.

In addition, observe if they ask you a lot about your business, your corporate culture and your people needs, as this shows that they are interested in learning about your business so that they can provide you with the most accurate candidate match. 

Go a step further to check each individual consultant’s track record as you want to invest your time and resources in someone who has proven credentials.


Will it go the extra mile?

Recruitment is a complex process and things can go wrong along the way through no fault of either client or agency. For example, a candidate may back out at the last minute.

Find an agency that has clear standard operating procedures that address such issues. Don’t just get sold on an agency’s marketing spiel to capture your business. Talk to its people and ask relevant questions to find out.

It is important that the agency’s corporate values include virtues like integrity and open and regular communication with its clients so that any issues that crop up will be handled swiftly and with transparency.

And in the event that the recruitment process doesn’t go as smoothly as planned, you will have peace of mind with an agency that will go the extra mile to help you resolve any issues. 

Doing your homework meticulously will not only lower the fallout rates for your placements. It may even protect your company from facing any unexpected legal, financial or even public relations fiascos resulting from a wrong hire.

Ultimately, finding a good recruiter is like finding a dedicated and trusted co-worker who can help lighten your workload and enhance the performance of your human resource department.


Article by Joshua Yim, CEO of Achieve Group, an award-winning human resource consultancy in Asia. For more information, visit