Today’s guest blogger is Henry Goldbeck, of Goldbeck Recruiting. Goldbeck Recruiting is a recruitment and executive search firm located in Vancouver, BC. As true employment consultants, they bridge industry expertise and headhunting excellence with human resource support throughout the hiring process to improve the success of a new recruit.
Since 1997, they have filled challenging positions in industries and expertise areas like sales, engineering, biotech, accounting & finance, manufacturing & operations and the non profit sector.
Each option has specific advantages and disadvantages. Which is right for your company?
Engaging a hiring process for a company of any size can be stressful. Especially for roles in specialized or highly competitive industries, or, say, pandemic economies, hiring teams and processes can encounter challenges which keep vital roles empty. For these reasons, a company’s hiring strategy is very important to the bottom lines of cost and efficiency; this is why some firms will opt to hire recruiting agencies, and others will rely on in-house recruiters.
What is the difference between these two strategies? And how can a company know which is right for them? A look at how recruitment agencies and in-house recruiters stack up in three key areas can help.
When Recruiting, Networks and Connections are Key
Whether a given firm is situated in a highly specialized, highly competitive job space or is simply looking to hire a high quality candidate, connections and networking across geographies, time zones, and even industries can be key. To this end, in-house recruiters and recruitment agencies may manifest very different offerings.
Recruitment agencies are just that: agencies. They are generally staffed by several career recruiters—it’s not uncommon to find recruiters that have been in the business for fifteen plus years—and to boot, they are surrounded by colleagues that are able to lend assistance. If a recruiter is brought on to hire a Purple Squirrel in Medical Device Sales and they’ve exhausted their own leads, they needn’t look further than the next office over to find support from a colleague. At base: the networks of ten people are ten times larger than the networks of one.
Regardless of how industry focused a recruiting agency may be, the in-house recruiter will have an even narrower focus on the industry niche and the type of employees the company is constantly looking for. In-house recruiters often recruit very efficiently and effectively within a narrower bandwidth of positions, but are neither effective nor efficient outside of their bandwidth. This is where an agency recruiter will have more success. For example, an in-house recruiter may not be experienced in recruiting overseas, at a senior executive level or in certain technologies.
In-house recruiters will have the luxury of focusing on one industry, and one company; they will know where the company has found high quality candidates in the past. By dedicating all of their working time to focusing on one company’s needs, they’re able to develop their own networks into rich, nuanced webs which, while smaller than the cumulative networks found in a recruitment agency, may yield more concentrated, high quality results.
Not All Industry and Company Knowledge is Made Equal
Recruitment agencies spend years honing their collective expertise in a variety of industries. In-house recruiters, however, needn’t own a diverse portfolio of industries or spaces in the same way, generally speaking. In-house recruiters are able to dedicate their energy to specializing in precisely what their employer needs.
But these two approaches to recruitment have advantages and disadvantages.
Recruitment agencies may seem at a disadvantage when it comes to holding precise, effective industry knowledge and a real awareness of what a client company may need. But agency recruiters, having worked with dozens of companies in similar spaces, are likely to bring with them a fresh, dynamic view of what candidates might work best for a given posting. Thinking and working outside the box is key to finding that Purple Squirrel, and recruiting agencies have had success in filling many positions where candidates have come from a less obvious source.
Long Term Investments and Their Implications
Recruitment agencies and in-house recruiters have different investments in the long term successes of a given company and the candidates they place. Though recruiting and placing talent is the bread and butter of both roles, there may be varying levels of personal investment.
In-house recruiters are liable to feel very loyal and committed to the company for which they work. Locating, placing, and retaining top tier talent may constitute the job description of an in-house recruiter, but the success of those candidates is directly correlated to the success of the broader company. The in-house recruiter is a collaborator in creating a successful company; their stake is expansive and extends for the entirety of their term with the company.
Recruitment agencies have a stake in the success of their placements for different reasons. If they place candidates that don’t work out, or end up with unhappy customers, the reputation of the entire recruiting firm will suffer, which can have implications that directly affect repeat business and the firm’s success overall. This is also the case for in-house recruiters—poor performance can lead to termination in any case—but recruitment agencies are inevitably more invested in the success of their placements than in the success of the company overall. This may be a distinction without a difference, as the success of the placement leads to the success of the company.
Companies need to be clear-eyed when it comes to their in-house recruitment capabilities and whether the additional cost of engaging a recruitment agency is justified when a position needs to be filled that lies outside the bandwidth of the in-house recruiter. The agency recruiter is experienced ramping up quickly to a variety of positions at various levels, whereas the in-house recruiter may not have the same capabilities in filling those types of roles, resulting in not only a longer search period for the role in question, but a loss in productivity in the in house recruiter’s most effective area of recruiting.
1 Team, The ConveyIQ. Unicorns And Purple Squirrels: 5 Terms Only Recruiters Understand. https://www.conveyiq.com/blog/purple-squirrels-recruiting-terms. Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.