Nonprofit Ready
Sponsored  |  Careers

Four Questions To Ask Before Engaging a Recruiter

Monday, 29th May 2017 at 11:25 am
Asking the right questions of an executive recruiter will significantly increase a not-for-profit organisation’s chances of a good result, say recruitment experts Community Business Bureau (CBB).

Monday, 29th May 2017
at 11:25 am



Four Questions To Ask Before Engaging a Recruiter
Monday, 29th May 2017 at 11:25 am

Asking the right questions of an executive recruiter will significantly increase a not-for-profit organisation’s chances of a good result, say recruitment experts Community Business Bureau (CBB).

In the not-for-profit sector we spend a lot of time focused on attracting and retaining the right candidates, but less attention is given to selecting the right recruitment provider.

Think of it like building a house – you can put a lot of effort into choosing the house, the perfect block of land and the best fittings and fixtures, but if the builder isn’t up to scratch, your best-laid plans can go to waste.

Whether you’ve used recruiters for years or are just venturing into outsourcing, it’s worthwhile to ensure you’re making the best use of your organisation’s resources. To help you make the right decision, here we share our top four questions we suggest you ask when looking to engage an executive recruiter.

  1. How is the recruitment fee structured?

Paying for executive recruitment is sometimes viewed as a “necessary evil” – it’s universally expensive and there aren’t many attractive alternatives when you don’t have recruitment expertise in-house, or simply don’t have time to manage the recruitment process.

For years the recruitment industry has operated on an antiquated “percentage of salary” professional fee. The problems with this (aside from any ethical objections you may have) are that the more senior the position, the more it will cost you to fill, and it also makes outsourcing executive recruitment out of reach for organisations with smaller budgets. And remember – steep recruitment fees are not “insurance” against a bad result.

In recognition of these issues, more providers are coming into the market with a fixed fee model. Just check to ensure what the fee includes, as you don’t want to be stung at the end of the process with additional fees for psychometric assessments, advertising and other add-ons.

  1. Do they actually understand the not-for-profit sector?

Is the recruiter all things to all people, or do they specialise in recruiting for the not-for-profit sector?

As you well know, the sector has its unique challenges, not least of all attracting and recruiting experienced executive leaders. Make sure your recruiter isn’t purely focused on putting “bums on seats” and understands the critical success factors when recruiting for the not-for-profit sector and your organisation.

  1. How do they assess cultural fit?

There is general consensus in the sector that recruiting for cultural fit is a must-have. But it can be risky to assess cultural fit on “gut feel” alone. Psychometric assessments can help, but few have a strong focus on getting the right cultural fit.

At CBB we use an internationally researched and tested method from Germany called Employee Integrative System (EIS) from persolog® GmbH. EIS uses the employer’s expectations to create a benchmark of key success factors for performance and retention, then analyses applicants’ expectations against this benchmark. This allows us to then target specific questions for each candidate to ultimately find the best fit for your business and your culture.

“I have completed several psychometric tests in my career, but I’d never done anything like this before. The questions made me think carefully about what was important to me not only for my job preferences, but also about what environment I worked best in. The questions that were asked of me at the interview were very challenging and encouraged me to disclose more about what motivates me as an executive leader,” Suzanne Curyer, CEO Re-Engage Youth Services said.

For more information on EIS, check out this infographic:

  1. Which recruitment and interviewing practices do they use?

Recruiting for performance and cultural fit requires a range of contemporary recruitment, interviewing and onboarding practices. Ask your recruiter which techniques and models they use to draw out the responses you need from candidates. What other services do they offer that will give you confidence in making the right appointment?

Making the right choice

Recruiting or replacing executive leaders in the not-for-profit sector is challenging on a number of fronts. The list of stakeholders (and some spectators) is as long as their interests are varied.

Much like the interview process, asking the right questions of your executive recruiter will significantly increase your chances of a good result.

Community Business Bureau offers an executive recruitment solution focused on fit: fit for your culture, fit for your business and fit for the sector.

To find out more visit our website or contact Andrea Collett on or 1300 284 364.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at

Get more stories like this



The process of measuring social impact


Thursday, 3rd October 2019 at 7:30 am

A new approach to giving


Monday, 30th September 2019 at 7:15 am

Seven deadly sins of government engagement

Andrew Blyberg

Thursday, 19th September 2019 at 7:30 am

An opportunity not to be wasted

Andrew Cairns

Tuesday, 17th September 2019 at 7:45 am


Australia is bracing for a tsunami of homeless women

Jan Berriman

Thursday, 10th October 2019 at 7:30 am

NDIS struggling to accommodate people with psychosocial disability

Luke Michael

Monday, 7th October 2019 at 3:48 pm

White Ribbon closes down amid financial turmoil

Luke Michael

Thursday, 3rd October 2019 at 5:10 pm

Espresso Martinis and Impact
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!