Human Resources

When to Use a Recruiter vs. When to Search for Yourself

Hiring the right employees lays the foundation for a successful business, a success defined by employees with exceptional skills and who fit into your company culture. But searching for, screening and hiring employees can be a daunting task for businesses of any size. It can be even more overwhelming for smaller businesses with less money and resources. 

In pursuit of the best employee, some businesses might conduct their entire search themselves, whereas others might hire an outside recruiting firm. Between these options, is there a best way to find the employees you need? Should you work with a third-party recruiter, or should you conduct the hiring search yourself? To help guide you to the best decision for your business, here are five reasons to use a third-party recruiter and four reasons to do the search yourself. 

5 Reasons to Use a Third-Party Recruiter 

1. Immediate Access to Qualified Candidates 

One of the greatest benefits of hiring a recruiter is that they work closely with the available talent pool in your area. Since they recruit candidates for a variety of companies and positions, it’s their job to keep an up-to-date list of the most desirable candidates. The best recruiters 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. 

2. 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 might also be considered poor business etiquette to try and recruit your competitor’s employees. 

3. It Saves Time 

Reviewing resumes 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 the most qualified candidates per your job description. Depending on the recruiter, you might also be able to have them conduct a pre-screen phone interview as well. 

4. They Will Negotiate 

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 a third party allows you to remove yourself from what some might consider to be an uncomfortable conversation. 

5. Access to More Resources 

Not only do recruiters have access to candidates; they also have access to more resources than the typical hiring manager. They are able to go beyond the standard online job-search portals and dive deeper into the web, and they also have the benefit of the use of their own cultivated networks. 

4 Reasons to Conduct the Search Yourself 

1. You 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, with some extreme, high-level cases that can reach as much as 50%. This fee can increase based on the specialization required for the position, and it can come loaded with contingency and fees based how long a hire remains in the position. For smaller businesses, this is money that could be spent elsewhere, let alone your new hire’s salary. In this case, reading that extra resume or cover letter might still be worth your time. 

2. 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 as such, you might find it easier to screen for things like cultural fit if you handle the search internally. 

3. More Control Over Who Is Considered and How You Screen for Candidates 

Sometimes, after speaking with a third-party recruiter, you may realize you desire more control over the situation, or you might find that your open position is a niche or very specialized 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 specialized 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. 

4. Recruiters May Exclude Candidates You Would Normally Hire 

Because third-party recruiters are working with a very specific set of parameters, they will endeavor to only present you with candidates that meet all criteria. As a result, you may miss out on some candidates that you would have otherwise liked to interview. 

The Money Issue

Depending on your viewpoint, hiring a third-party recruiter will either save you money or cost you more. In the end, it boils down to how quickly you feel you can fill the position. The longer the position stays vacant, the more money it costs you and your company, and if the hire is a poor one, it’ll cost you even more cash. However, recruiter fees can be pretty expensive as well. If money is the deciding factor in your decision to hire a third-party recruiter, weigh the following factors first: 

  • Cost to leave the position vacant. Does your company suffer adversely if nobody can fill the position?
  • The level of the position you are trying to fill. Investing in a recruiter is probably more worth it for C-level positions. Is it worth it for interns or temp workers? 
  • The size of your position’s available talent pool. If a large segment of jobseekers can fill the role, do you really benefit from a recruiter’s specialized candidate list?
  • Your experience (or your human resources department’s experience) with finding qualified candidates. Do you or your HR department know the right questions to ask when filling the position?

In the end, deciding whether to hire an outside recruiting firm to help you fill positions will boil down to your comfort level in outsourcing this work, as well as the cost-benefit analysisfor each choice. For many businesses, the time it takes to review resumes, screen candidates and conduct background checks detracts too much from time that can be spent building the company, which makes hiring a recruiter a no-brainer. For others, those resources might be better invested developing other areas of the business. It will be up to you and your organization to decide if hiring a recruiter is the best choice for your hiring process.