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Recruitment: Agency -v- Do It Yourself

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Emma Cowan on October 8, 2014 - 8:28 am in Advice, Featured Advice

Hiring the right employees is vital to any business. As well have having the appropriate qualifications and applicable experience, it’s essential that employees fit into the company culture in order to get the organisation-individual match that breeds success. So, what’s better, hiring through a recruitment agency, or searching for the right person yourself?

In may instances, money will be a factor in the decision to hire an agency or not and, depending on your viewpoint, using a recruitment agency will either cost you more or save you money. Here are a few points worth considering when deciding on a way forward with recruitment.

Cost to leave the position vacant. The longer a position stays vacant, the more money it may cost you. Does your company suffer if the position stays vacant for too long?

The level of the position you are filling. The higher the level you are recruiting at, the more likely it is that a recruitment agency should be considered. If you are recruiting temps, it may be more cost effective to conduct the process yourself. On the other hand, you may need temporary staff almost immediately, in which case an agency is likely to speed up the process for you.

The size of your position’s available talent pool. Is your vacancy one which a large number of candidates could fill, or is it more specialised. It there is a large talent pool, you can definitely fill the position yourself but, on the other hand, an agency might be able to reduce the time taken by filtering candidates for you. A more specialised role is likely to benefit from an approach that uses the skills of the recruitment agency but also takes into account the knowledge held by the company about the role and where potential candidates could come from.

Your human resources team. Is your team large enough and experienced enough to handle recruitment for the vacancy you have, in terms of the volume of response you are likely to have and the degree of specialism attached to the position? If not, then an agency can help.

The benefits of using a recruitment agency

When you’re deciding which route to follow with your recruitment, it may be helpful to consider the benefits of each option. Using a recruitment agency could yield a number of benefits.

Immediate Access to Qualified Candidates. Recruiters work closely with the available talent pool, constantly seeking candidates for a variety of companies and positions. It’s their job to keep an up-to-date list of the most desirable candidates and the best recruitment agencies should be able to provide you with a handful of qualified candidates fairly quickly, which can help if you need to fill a position in a short time period.

An Extended Network, Including Active and Passive Candidates. Recruiters not only know who is actively seeking employment, but they also keep a file of passive candidates, or those who are currently employed but might be interested in trying something different. Passive candidates can be very difficult to attract, especially if you work in a smaller community.

It Saves Time. Reviewing applications and cover letters can easily eat up the majority of your day when you’re in the midst of hiring. A third-party recruiter does this legwork for you and only offers up the most qualified candidates.

Negotiating the contract. For some hiring managers, interviewing candidates doesn’t present a challenge, but closing the deal does. Third-party recruiters will do everything for you, including extending the job offer and negotiating with the employee over salary and benefits. It will ultimately be your decision on what to offer the employee, but working with an agency allows you to remove yourself from what some might consider to be an uncomfortable conversation.

The pluses of searching yourself

Recruiters May Exclude Candidates You Would Normally Hire. Third party recruiters are not, in the end, part of the fabric of you business. Working with the parameters they are given, they will only present you with candidates that meet all criteria and fit those parameters. As a result, you may miss out on some candidates that you would have otherwise liked to interview.

Better Chance of Finding the Right Culture Fit. For many businesses, hiring employees who fit their culture is just as important as finding ones who fit the job criteria. It may be difficult to accurately express your company’s culture to a third-party recruiter and you might find it easier to screen for things like cultural fit if you handle the search internally.

You May Save Money. Recruiting fees will vary in structure and payment schedule, but a typical fee can be anywhere from 15 to 25% of a new hire’s first-year salary and can be higher depending on the specialisation and level of the role. For smaller businesses, this is money that could be spent elsewhere so reading that extra application, curriculum vitae or cover letter might still be worth your time. 

More Control Over Who Is Considered and How You Screen for Candidates. Sometimes, after speaking with a third-party recruiter, you may realise you desire more control over the situation, or you might find that your open position is a niche or very specialised role that local recruiters are not familiar with. While it might be a bit more time-consuming, instead of coaching the recruiter through the process, maintaining high standards and vetting for specialised positions yourself may be your best option. Filling somewhat generic roles may be ideal for a recruiter, but sometimes, your best bet is doing the job yourself.



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