Recruitment – agency vs. direct hiring?

Recruitment – agency vs. direct hiring?

The success of your business comes down to a great many factors, and the people you hire to work for and represent your company will have a significant impact on the way your business is perceived and its overall success.

It is vital that you choose the most appropriate employees with the relevant experience, skills and attitude to successfully carry out their roles and ensure the future prosperity of your business.

You may be suitably equipped to carry out the hiring of new staff in-house, but for many companies it is often necessary to outsource the recruitment process to a specialist agency. To be sure you are making an informed decision, you should first consider both options carefully.

Advantages of agency recruitment

Recruitment agencies can be useful for sourcing appropriate candidates for specialised roles or vacancies that prove difficult to fill. Not only will agencies have a number of available candidates already on their databases, but they are able to advertise in a number of ways to find additional candidates with specific skill sets and experience. Recruitment consultants are adept at creating a positive candidate experience for highly skilled applicants.

Direct hiring can be difficult if you have no experience or expertise in the recruitment process – you will be required to create and post suitable job adverts, work your way through potentially dozens or hundreds of good and bad CVs, carry out interviews and negotiate the entire process yourself. Recruitment agencies do, therefore, have their uses and they can be a valuable, cost-efficient way of finding new talent for your business.

Disadvantages of agency recruitment

Unfortunately, using a recruitment agency can also be very expensive and it is not the most efficient or affordable method for many small businesses. Driven by sales targets and commission, many recruitment consultants have a tendency to push inappropriate candidates onto their clients in the hope they will simply ‘fit’.

All too often, little attention is paid to whether the individual is the most ideal candidate; rather agencies focus on selling a ‘good candidate’ from their database instead of taking the time to source the ‘perfect candidate’… and with the fees they charge, the perfect candidate is what you should get.

This type of situation can lead to a new employee being in over their head because they are simply not experienced enough for the role. As a result, your new employee will likely leave or you will be required to let them go due to poor performance during their probationary period.

In cases like this, once the contract is signed, the client (that would be you) is legally obliged to pay the fee, regardless of whether the candidate works out or not. Therefore, make sure you are aware of the small print before you agree to anything.

Do it yourself

The alternative is a great deal cheaper and often much more effective. By bringing the hiring and interview process back in-house, you could make substantial savings and have a higher chance of finding the perfect candidate. Recruitment agencies have their own motivations and they are unlikely to understand your company and its values as well as you do, so are less likely to see that perfect fit.
Related: Effective interview techniques for employers 

You can advertise your vacancies on sites like Gumtree, in national or local newspapers, trade magazines and your local job centres. Universal Jobmatch from Government Gateway is a great service for finding suitable jobseekers. There are also many large job search websites with a vast pool of registered candidates just waiting for the perfect role. Sites such as Monster, Fish4Jobs, Totaljobs, JobSite and S1 Jobs (to name but a few) are all popular, effective sources used by many companies and recruitment agencies.

This is also an excellent way of compiling your own database of candidates for any future vacancies that may open up.

Is DIY recruitment worth it?

It can be a little more time consuming doing all the hiring yourself, but it has many benefits.

For instance, you can see each’s candidate’s genuine covering letter and CV. Recruitment companies have a tendency to carry out ‘improvements’ before sending CVs on to a client, so you may not be getting the most accurate representation of the applicant.

Additionally, whilst it may seem easier and less time-consuming to use an agency, this may not be the case in the long run if your new employee turns out to be less than satisfactory – you will simply have to start the entire recruitment process again.

There is a lot to consider when it comes to hiring new staff and every business will have different requirements. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer – agencies do have their advantages and can be extremely beneficial to a lot of businesses; it all depends on what is best for you and your company. It would be advisable to take some time to weigh up the pros and cons based on your circumstances, your own hiring experience and your business needs before making a decision.

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