Agency Recruiters – Pros/Cons

I like to try to keep an open mind, in everything that I do.  This goes for my personal life and my professional one.  As a corporate recruiter, I’m strong to believe that having an in-house recruiter is the best way to go.  From a company’s perspective, though, it may not be what you need/want.

Below, I outline some pros and cons to using an agency to fill your open positions.

Pros.  Agencies … 

  • … are able to provide you with a wide array of candidates due to the network they’ve built out with their candidate pool
  • … can be hired on a contingency basis, meaning they are not paid until their candidate gets hired.
  • … often specialize.  Sales, admin, tech, etc.  If you have a certain need, there is an agency out there that can help you fill it.
  • … offer a company the “try before you buy” model.  No commitments made.

Cons.  Agencies …

  • … don’t understand your company or the culture you’re trying to build.
  • … can be expensive!  Let’s look at the two types of agency fee models.  Let’s take the contingency model as an example.  Contingency fees are usually 18-25% of a salary, paid on placement.  Assuming a 20% fee, on a 80k salary, that is 16k per placement.  If you have this agency fill ten roles, that’s $160k.  I’m positive you can find an in-house recruiter for less, and who will do more.
  • … are not just hiring for you.  They are hiring for a LOT of clients.  Never think that you are their priority.
  • … don’t give you a commitment.  Unlike in-house recruiters, agencies have no emotional ties to your company.

I leave you with this question:  What are you looking to get out of your recruiter?


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