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Common questions Canadian institutions ask about recruitment agents

Common questions Canadian institutions ask about recruitment agents
Kevin Newsome – Partnership Director, Canada
Kevin has 20 years’ experience in the International Education sector, having led various aspects including student recruitment, partnership development, marketing, and also teaching. Previously, Kevin worked at the Canadian Education Network (Korea office) and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) for 13 years.

Agents play a critical role in international education in Canada. They help connect the right students to the right courses, all while helping institutions achieve enrolment and diversity targets.

As a previous Canadian institution insider, I know that Canadian institutions are eager to build long-term positive relationships with recruitment agents, but the best-performing ones are not easy to come by.

When it comes to working with new agents, institutions have similar questions that come to mind. 

Do you have references?

Canadian institutions care deeply about references. Before starting a relationship, institutions like to know that the recruiter comes well recommended by others. That way they know the counsellor will be responsive, easy-to-work-with, and professional. 

Reference checks are standard practice and, depending on the province, so are audits. For the institution, doing this due diligence ensures they’re receiving quality applications and that there’s trust on both sides of the relationship. Having good references, then, is essential if you want to partner with Canadian institutions. 

Partnering with helps in this area enormously. Through, our 6,000+ agents are triple-vetted including completing detailed reference checks.

Applications from prospective students are also checked by the in-house admissions team, ensuring only the quality ones are lodged to institutions––a timesaver for everyone.  

Have you worked with other Canadian institutions?

Word of mouth goes a long way in Canada. Relationships are all about trust and past performance. Working with one institution––and having a positive experience––can lead to being recommended to others. 

Many larger institutions won’t work with new recruiters unless they’re able to provide local references from other Canadian institutions.

For counsellors then, it’s essential to maintain professionalism, be easy to reach, and work well with institutions to ensure the best students reach them. 

In Canada, if people enjoy working with you, they’re likely to recommend you to other colleges and universities––leading to more work and opportunities to grow your business.

At we’re focused on ensuring the process is positive for everyone. Our dedicated support team are approachable, reliable, and quick to answer queries––which helps ensure peace of mind for everyone. 

What’s your conversion rate?

Another common question institutions have relates to the counsellor’s past performance. Previously performance clauses were common, now more often than not, institutions ask about conversion rate.

This is an indication that institutions want quality applications rather than just quantity. For institutions, it’s a huge waste of time accessing applications for students who are likely to fail on other grounds. Most commonly, being unable to get a visa. 

Counsellors who can show a high conversion rate will put themselves in good stead to form more partnerships with colleges and universities across the country.

At, rigorous application checks––including visa checks––result in 90% of applications being approved, a huge plus for partnering counsellors and institutions. 

Is there a local contact?

When it comes to maintaining and building relationships with counsellor partners, Canadian institutions prefer to have a local on-the-ground contact who they can contact within office hours.

While the majority of recruiter partners tend to be international, having a real, in-country person who can work within the same time zone is very helpful. It’s something, in my role I’m able to offer. 

Being based in Canada, institutions work closely with me to iron out issues and move applications forward. It means things move more quickly and queries are always answered. 

While Canadian institutions enjoy working with recruitment counsellors, they’re also focused on receiving quality applications and building positive long-term relationships.

Keeping these questions in mind when working with counsellors can help ensure successful recruiting and great partnerships. 

Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn, or talk to our Partnerships team to learn more about the marketplace.