Your goal: agencies are expensive so you need to know that you are getting the best value for money.
How much does the agent actually understand about the lurid language of ledgers? Avoid any that:
look for their library card when you bring up bookkeeping
turn up on a horse to talk about audit trails
gag when you go on about gross margins
don't show up when you decide to demonstrate double-entry
Just how relevant are the world class CVs and resumes they've brought with them? Stay clear of any agencies that follow up from point 1 by trying to offload likeable librarians, accomplished cowboys or desirable deviants.
How familiar are they with you and your business? Be wary of agents with your name written in black biro on their left hand and your company name on their right.
Just how well do they know their accounting candidates?
Does the consultant keep saying "Who?!" when you refer to a CV or have they prepared a 50-slide Powerpoint presentation detailing the candidate’s development since pre-school??
What exactly are their recruitment credentials? Check their business card. Ask yourself: Are ‘CJD’, ‘BSE’ or ‘007’ legitimate qualifications?
And while you're at it, what about that job title? Will they have the time to focus on you?
Titles like: "Assistant Interim and Permanent Accounting Recruitment Solutions Executive Consultant Director" should raise suspicions.
Roughly how old are they? - How much experience do they have? Give a wide berth to agencies that can only schedule appointments outside of school hours
What level of commission are they looking to take? Agencies are expensive. Avoid any that seem out of step with the rest - after all, you'd rather pay for the candidate's salary than the agent's bonus:
does the consultant’s chauffeur whisk you away for a 10-course gourmet banquet to chat about a CV for a two-day temp in accounts payable? ?
are sample resumes and CVs hand-embossed in gold leaf on gilt-edged parchment?
are their business cards encrusted with precious stones, set in crystal carry cases and complete with generous accountant goodie bags?