Is internal staff or an external agency best for your organization?

At some point, regardless of size or industry, just about every organization looks to a recruiter to help them fill open positions. For some it will be the need to fill a c-level role, others will find themselves with a large number of openings all at once. Up until this point, managers may have done their own recruiting and hiring with some assistance; or an already overburdened HR person took on the task.

But now the organization leadership agrees, it’s time to get some help recruiting. Do you add an internal staff position, or do you look to an external recruiting firm? Although both types of recruiters have the same goal – to fill the open position with the best candidate – the process each uses are very different.

An internal recruiter is an employee with a salary and benefits, he or she is not paid based on the filling of a position although that might be a bonus or commission possibility. As an employee, the internal recruiter will have a better understanding of your company culture and wants to hire employees who “fit.” If your organization has a long-term staffing plan with a variety of positions to be filled, an internal employee may be better suited to lead the effort. From the candidate point of view an internal recruiter can guide them through the corporate process and be better able to answer organizational-specific questions. Hiring an internal recruiter for your staff is a more long-term commitment.

External recruiters or recruitment agencies are compensated on filling the position to our company’s satisfaction. Often, they have a database of available candidates so they can fill a position more quickly, and even if they must start from scratch looking for a candidate, they have a network to source. An external recruiter can provide in-depth knowledge of the marketplace, which can help the organization better define their needs. This is especially true for technical positions where a deeper understanding of the role is paramount. While an external recruiter should meet with your organization to understand how you work and keep that in mind when sourcing candidates, they won’t have a true insider’s viewpoint. An external recruiter is a one-time cost to fill a position and if you aren’t happy you can always change recruiters.

The decision to hire an internal recruiter or use an external agency should ultimately be which is the best fit for the company. First and foremost most organizations will look at cost, generally an external recruiter is the less expensive option, as you only pay a fee (usually a percentage of the salary) when you hire the candidate and it is a one-time cost. But the company must consider the type and number of available positions – is this just a single or a few highly technical positions or are you staffing up throughout the organization in many areas? If that’s the case it may be worth the investment to bring on an internal recruiter. Keep in mind that an internal recruiter, as a member of the HR team may be tasked with other duties and unable to focus on recruiting full time.

The ultimate (right) decision for the organization might be a hybrid model. It’s a very workable solution to consider having your internal recruiter work with an external recruiter. When filling highly technical positions an external recruiter can bring the candidate with the right skills to your staff who can determine their ‘fit’ with the organization and culture. Your internal staff can serve as an onboarding expert, guiding candidates and new hires through your process. In addition, they can work closely with hiring managers to create job descriptions and candidate profiles. Even if you have a long-term hiring plan with lots of positions to fill, an external recruiter can still serve an important role both by sourcing potential candidates, after all they are experts at finding and attracting talent. External recruiters tend to work quickly and can send you several qualified, vetted candidates from which your internal team can select the best candidate based on skills and corporate ‘fit.’

All organizations want to hire the best talent. The right mix of technical skills, managerial ability and cultural fit are the important components of success no matter how large or small the company. Deciding to use a recruiter, whether a staff member, external agency, or some combination of the two can make the process move smoothly and help prevent hiring mistakes. In today’s competitive market you don’t want to miss out on the best candidates, so get out there and recruit!!

GATE has more than a decade of experience in recruiting, we’d love to discuss your needs and see how we can best help you find the right talent. Give us a call at 877-369-GATE, or visit our website to start a conversation!


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