When to Use an External Recruiter

A day in the life of a Recruiter – When to use an external recruiter

In my last post, I talked about choosing the right client. It was about understanding my value as a recruiter and ensuring I am able to provide the best possible service to my client. But when is it right to bring in an external recruiter? The answer is a grey area and every organisation is different. In my experience, in order to get the best possible experience from working with a recruiter you should bring them in relatively early on.

recruitmentStart-up organisations are by far the most exciting businesses to work with and well established organisations are by far the most rewarding businesses to work with. I have worked with both and each came with very different expectations and their own challenges and successes.

In a couple of start-ups I was brought in at the very early stages and the timing of this had both pro’s and con’s. I like to start off positive, so lets talk about the pro’s.

Working with a small team and watching them grow is an amazing feeling. It is really rewarding to see a company invest in their staff and the excitement and maturity escalate in the teams as they grow. Getting in the door at an early stage also allows you as a recruiter to provide valuable insight which you have gleaned from working with similar organisations. Again, linking back to why you should be picky about the clients you choose you work with!

There is also a lot more flexibility to the type of candidates you can work with when the business is in its infancy. There is no precedent set and clients tend to be a bit more open-minded to the type of experience each new starter can bring.

The con’s I would say stem from the fact that being so young, the hiring managers will change what it is they are looking for. One day a candidate with an ABC profile is ideal but the next only candidates with XYZ will do. This makes it increasingly difficult to bring in the right person. But that’s the life of the start-up.

start upFor start-up’s every penny counts, so spending money on recruiter’s fees might sound like an unnecessary investment, but when you are doing various roles, resourcing yourself, interviewing and hiring, surely getting some help will reduce the long terms costs associated with adding more work to your plate. Is a one-off fee more beneficial than losing your own time? I’d say so and I’m sure my clients would agree.

My advice for start-ups: Spend some time really thinking about who you need in your growing team. What are the essential skills over the ‘nice to have’ skills. Once you have this, get an external recruiter in. They do all the leg work and only the best candidates are put in front of you. If you choose to start the process on your own and find yourself drowning in CV’s and getting no further, invest in an external recruiter, and be patient with them. If you weren’t able to find the right person straight away, they might need some time too.

Established organisations are in a completely different ball park. They tend to bring in recruiters as a last resort in most cases. I have worked with established organisations from the start of the hire as well as being brought in as a last resort and have had success in both, but personally, feel that as far as the client/recruiter relationship, the former far outweighed the latter.

Established organisations might have their own internal recruitment teams or an HR manager that will deal with the hiring. Only once these resources have fully tapped their market, do they then look to bring in recruiters. The pro’s to doing this means that clients might start approaching lots of different agencies, which can start a bidding war to get the cheapest rates as competition is increased. It means that all candidates being considered are likely to be more passive and on occasion could come from a competitor through a third-party which protects the client’s reputation. The con’s however mean that a lot of cowboy agencies will be thrown into the mix and with cheap rates come cheap services. Clients could potentially be spending more time correcting agencies rather than utilising them. Being a last resort means there is no time to establish a credible relationship and chances are, if you have been used as a last resort by the company once, you will be again and it won’t be a fully beneficial relationship.

My advice to established organisations would be utilising an agency alongside your internal team. You only pay for an agency if you place the candidate so really, are you losing anything by ensuring the best possible candidates are brought in? Using agencies as a last resort will mean you simply don’t have enough time to build a decent relationship with them and with so much noise in the market, having the best possible team alongside you will make all the difference.

If you are looking at expanding your post sales teams in 2016 and you like what you have you read so far, get in touch. The next article will be about Preferred Suppliers Lists and why they could be more damaging than useful. Feel free to post any questions you might have under the comments section or you can email me on or call me on 01908 307474.

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