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25.04.2022 Hiring process

Should I hire a recruiter (and what are the recruiter alternatives)?

Should I hire a recruiter (and what are the recruiter alternatives)?

Hiring a new role for your team can be tricky business, and months of time and effort can go into recruiting for just one role. Naturally, you might look for methods to speed this up or cut down on effort. 

That’s where recruiters come in. But is hiring a recruiter or a recruitment agency to help you with your hiring efforts always effective? Should you hire a recruiter and, if you decide not to hire a recruiter or a recruitment agency, what alternatives do you have? We’ll discuss this in more detail below.

What is a recruiter?

To understand whether you need a recruiter, you first need to know what a recruiter is.

A recruiter is a professional individual who specializes in filling open positions in a company. They use a variety of techniques, from social recruiting to talent sourcing, in order to find the right person for the role. A recruiter can work in-house, freelance or in a recruitment agency.

When might a recruiter be right for you (and when they might not be)?

Hiring a recruiter is a valid choice in several scenarios. Listed below are a number of them:

  • You’re rapidly scaling your business
  • You want to build your Human Resource team
  • The roles you are hiring for are incredibly niche and complex (and may need knowledge of niche job boards!)
  • Your business is expanding to a new location

When hiring a recruiter may not be right for you:

  • You don’t have the budget for recruiter fees or commission
  • You’re only hiring for one or two non-urgent roles
  • The roles you’re hiring for aren’t particularly niche or complex
  • You are only scaling slowly

If you think a recruiter is right for you, then read on through the next section below. If not, you might want to consider an alternative. These can include a talent attraction tool, such as an ATS like JOIN, which you can use for FREE without having to hire a dedicated recruiter.

We’ll explain more about alternatives to recruiters at the bottom of this article below.

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What are the benefits of using recruiter and recruitment agency alternatives?

The benefits of choosing to use an alternative hiring method are plenty. The following advantages come with using an alternative to a recruitment agency:

  • Control over the hiring process.
  • Increased employer branding—Creating your own job ads and bringing the whole screening process, interview process, and all communication in-house allows you full control over your brand.
  • A full overview of candidates.
  • Reduced recruitment costs.

What recruiter options do you have?

As previously mentioned, there are several types of recruiters who can help you with this task. These different recruiter types have different advantages—and disadvantages—so it is important to read up on these and apply them to your specific circumstances.

The following are a number of the different recruiter types and their pros and cons (and if you find that none of them suit your recruitment needs, keep scrolling for some recruiter alternatives):

In-house recruiter

An in-house recruiter comes with multiple advantages. Not only do you not need to pay pricey commission fees if a hire is made through them, but you can work extremely closely with an in-house recruiter. This means that you can thoroughly brief them on the role that is being hired for, as well as receive regular updates on the progress. 

With an in-house recruiter, the recruitment process, interview process, and methods used to source talent can be completely tailored to your company. This makes building and managing your employer branding much easier.

However, hiring an in-house recruiter won’t be the best choice for every company. An in-house role will need to go through their onboarding process, meaning if an urgent vacancy is to arise during this time they may not be prepared for it. 

As an in-house recruiter will also be paid an annual salary, alongside other full-time employees, it is essential that you have a hiring plan that shows you have a definite need for this role.

Should I hire an in-house recruiter?

An in-house recruiter is usually a great choice when your business is growing past the point where you can focus on hand-picking your hires. Our Head of HR, Dennis Wegener, notes that around the 50+ person mark a recruiter in some form is a sensible hire.

“When your business is very small, you can get by without a recruiter more easily and hand-picking people is less of a struggle. Once you pass around 50+ employees, this approach doesn’t work any more, as everyone is too busy and there are no processes or structure in place. This is when building an HR team and hiring a recruiter can help your team start to think in a processed way!” – Dennis Wegener, Head of HR

In-house recruiter checklist

  • My business has a solid one to two-year staffing plan with constant hires
  • I am looking to expand my HR team 
  • The roles I am hiring for often aren’t urgent and don’t need a fast turnaround
  • My team is expanding past the 50+ person mark

Freelance recruiter or recruitment consultant

Freelance recruiters are individuals who work with clients to help fill roles, without being a full-time staff member at your company or a recruitment agency.

These recruiters tend to be specialists in a certain field with a number of contacts within the industry. The benefit of this is that if you do not have a role similar to this in your company already, or team members who are knowledgeable in this field, a freelance recruiter can help you to form a list of responsibilities and requirements.

Should I hire a freelance recruiter?

Freelance recruiters can help you to reach niche networks and communities to find talent, using their existing knowledge and connections. This is useful if you’re hiring for a particularly tricky role, as it gives you a more concentrated level of knowledge than if you were to use a recruitment agency.

It is worth considering, though, that freelance recruiters can come with hefty price tags. This can be manageable if you’re hiring one or two roles, but may not be sustainable if you’re looking to hire a whole team.

Freelance recruiters also often work alone, meaning the amount of time they can spend on a hire is limited. This is especially true if, as will usually be the case, you are not the recruiter’s only client. What does this mean for you? Well, you most likely won’t have a constant overview of how the process is coming along, and the time to hire may be a little longer than it would be with an in-house recruiter.

Freelance recruiter checklist

  • I have set aside a budget for recruiter fees and commission
  • The role I am hiring for is completely new to my business, so expert knowledge is needed
  • I am only looking to hire one or two roles at a time
  • My role is not an urgent hire

Recruitment agency

Recruitment agencies are a business that employs a team of recruiters who can work with clients to help fill open roles. They’re a widely popular tool in the recruitment world and, as such, at some point in scaling your business, you’ll likely find yourself asking ‘should I use a recruitment agency?’ 

Due to their access to resources and headcount, recruitment agencies usually have a fast turnaround. They can screen candidates quickly and move a selection over to the next stage, when your business can then take over. Most recruitment agencies will also manage communication, which can be beneficial for a team who are currently understaffed or overworked and can’t manage this communication on their own.

Should I hire a recruitment agency?

While specialist recruitment agencies are available, they will usually be more generalised than you will find with a freelance recruiter. This may be good for a broader reach, but it can mean that the talent they find needs to be vetted more thoroughly or may have a higher rate of unsuitability. 

Due to the focus on speed with recruitment agencies, they may also not have a chance to form a strong understanding of your business. This can mean that when vetting candidates, they aren’t focused on the culture add side of hiring, meaning the candidates they provide aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, leaving you either settling for less or prolonging your process.

Recruitment agency checklist

  • The role I am hiring for is urgent 
  • I have set aside a budget for agency fees and commission
  • I’m hiring a larger number of roles at once
  • I could benefit from more than one recruiter working on the hiring process

What are the alternatives to using a recruiter?

If you’re looking at the points above and thinking, ‘hmm, do I really have to pay a recruitment agency to do this for me? Can’t I do this myself?’ then don’t panic. There are recruiter alternatives available that you can use to find quality and qualified candidates in no time at all!

Talent attraction tools, such as JOIN 😉, give you the resources and knowledge to hire the talent you need without the help of a recruiter.

This can also be a way to make great hires if your budget doesn’t stretch to cover a recruiter. For example, JOIN allows you to post jobs for free on multiple job boards and respond to candidates from one easy-to-use dashboard. If you’ve got a limited budget, you can also access niche or specialist job boards. We will recommend these to you based on our knowledge of over 100+ premium job boards, giving you recruiter-level knowledge of industries at a fraction of the cost.

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) like JOIN also helps you manage your applicants, with built-in tools that help you to collaborate with your teammates and discuss certain candidates. JOIN also provides pre-set email suggestions, helping you to communicate professionally, even if recruitment and hiring isn’t your forte.

Features like this cut down time spent on hiring and the administrative tasks associated with it. Of course, the more roles you’re hiring for, the more administration will be involved.

Promote your ads with JOIN

On 100+ premium job boards

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The hiring decision is yours!

Now you’re fully aware of your options and what benefits (or disadvantages) come with all your hiring methods, you can match these up against your company’s current position. 

If you do decide that an alternative to a recruitment agency is right for you, feel free to read more about what JOIN has to offer and how it can help you with hiring in our features overview.

You can also find some tips on starting to attract talent in our article on attracting talent as a small brand.

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