What are the pros and cons of using a recruitment agency?
For some, the idea of using a recruitment agency is a little bit uncomfortable. Will it cost more than it’s worth? Will it save time? Will it bring in the best candidates on the market? The questions are endless, and for those who aren’t used to working with recruitment agencies, the cons can sometimes outweigh the pros.
However, it’s often a hiring manager’s lack of understanding of all that recruitment agencies do that ends up in a “cons” list far longer than you expected. This is why it’s advisable to research a variety of recruitment agencies in your sector, from small specialist agencies to large mass-hiring enterprises, to find out what you really want and need.
Let’s start with the basics.
The sourcing stage
If you’ve spoken to a recruitment agency you like the sound of and agree on terms to work with them, this is where the fun begins for hiring managers. Why? Because they can carry on with their endless to-do list, and leave the recruitment up to a trusted partner.
Recruiters are trained in specialist areas, meaning they understand the ins and outs of specific industries and roles in order to be able to recruit effectively. For example, if you are looking for a Project Manager in the healthcare sector, your recruiter will get a clear brief from you on what exactly the role entails and the type of person you are looking for. Then, they will find a shortlist of people to present to you for interview consideration.
Sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Well, this is the part where a lot of hiring managers think the process is simple enough and that working with recruitment agencies is a waste of budget.
Here’s why you’re wrong.
The sourcing stage alone includes:
- Searching through candidates on the company database, LinkedIn and job boards as a starter. If needed, searching can be extended to email campaigns, further social media outreach and advertising the job online to attract applicants.
- Calling, emailing and texting all of the candidates who meet the criteria to see if they are interested, and/or available. Even if you have a list of ten names who you think would be suitable, five of those probably aren’t interested, and three more have probably just started new jobs.
- Arranging a time with the candidate to speak to them about the role, which will usually be before or after work hours, or during their lunch break. This means most phone calls to decipher if the person is right for the role will happen outside of a recruiter’s core work hours.
- Speaking about the role and company in detail over and over again, and giving the candidate some time to think about whether they’re interested, after they’ve researched the company.
The stages above are repeated time and time again until a strong shortlist can be sent over to the hiring manager. Sometimes this can take 24 hours, sometimes it takes a week – for more exclusive roles, this can sometimes take weeks or even months. The point is, using a recruitment agency is very rarely a waste of time, given the amount of effort put into the sourcing stage alone!
The interview stage
Organising interviews is another process which sounds straightforward in theory, but in reality the process can be time-consuming. Trying to arrange a time and date for both the hiring manager and the candidate, which is both time-sensitive and realistic, can be somewhat problematic.
This is another reason why there are more pros to recruitment agencies than you may originally think. Most recruiters use software to manage and organise interviews – this way, the software can cross-compare when everyone is free and send out email notifications to confirm a time. If you’re thinking this sounds a lot easier than calling five people to find out their availability, then calling the hiring manager again to see if they have any flexibility – that’s because it is. Recruitment software for organising meetings makes life easier for clients, candidates and recruiters alike.
Plus, the interview stage doesn’t stop at organising the initial interview. This also includes arranging second interviews where needed, along with any briefing on a presentation or discussion the hiring manager would like the candidate to prepare. Recruiters are known (in the recruitment industry – not usually the wider world) for helping candidates with interview prep, proofreading presentations and asking practice questions to ensure they’re ready.
The offer stage
When a hiring manager has decided on a candidate and would like to offer them a job, this might sound like the end of the road to most people – but to a recruiter, this is just the start of the onboarding process.
Whilst a hiring manager within an organisation might inform a candidate of their decision and then leave the rest up to HR, recruiters are also responsible for the not-so-fun stages. Yes, recruiters often get to speak to the candidate who is being offered a position and give them the good news, but they also have to speak to the additional candidates who didn’t quite make it and provide feedback.
This is another reason why working with a recruitment agency makes life easier for those who are hiring – calling and speaking to candidates about why they didn’t get a job is no easy task. Recruitment agencies often have training with staff on the importance of interview feedback and many ways in which to help candidates who have been let down.
Pros and cons
To summarise, when looking at the pros and cons of working with recruitment agencies, the pros far outweigh the cons. Outsourcing your recruitment will cost money, which is why you should always ask each recruitment agency you speak to what their placement success rate looks like. This way you’ll know what your return on investment looks like, further down the line. But, if what you’re paying for is a valuable service, would this even be considered a con?
The most important part of the entire process is to find a solid partner who you trust and will enjoy working with. If you find someone who you trust, who you can rely on and who is an expert in their field, you have found a good starting point.
Don’t forget to ask recruiters questions they may not have heard before. Do they use a recruitment app or recruitment software to streamline the process? Are they available to talk before or after core work hours? How long do they think it will take to fill your role? Is there a fee even if they don’t find the candidate in the timeframe they first predicted?
Make sure you have done a thorough Google search, asked colleagues and friends for recommendations and maybe even put a post on LinkedIn asking for referrals. Once you’ve narrowed it down, the choice is up to you. It can be a somewhat arduous process deciding which agency to go with, but it’s like finding a partner in life – when you know, you just know. You’ll get that feeling that you didn’t get with the others.
Get in touch
Here at Realday, we work with numerous recruitment agencies in the UK and around the globe to help make their processes easier, more streamlined and more timely. From coordinating diaries and organising interviews, to advertising jobs and organising payroll, Realday puts everything in one place. This means organisations, hiring managers, recruiters and candidates can all be in contact through one easy-to-use platform.