HR Management & Compliance, Learning & Development, Recruiting

Should You Use an Outside Recruiter to Fill an Open Position?

With the unemployment rate hovering at just over 4%, employers across the country are finding it difficult to fill positions with qualified workers. The situation becomes even more complex when you consider that simply having the right experience and education isn’t usually enough today. Today’s employers also want employees who fit with the company culture. To help find the right balance between employee and company, job applicants and companies are both turning to outside recruiters to facilitate the matchmaking process of connecting employers and potential employees.
But is a head hunter right for your organization? Here are two key considerations.

Are You Taking Advantage of the Resources Available to You Without a Recruiter?

In an article for Glassdoor, Susan Underwood says that employee referrals are the most powerful source of finding new candidates. (Editor’s note: BLR surveys have shown the same for the last several years.) There are also advantages in morale and employee development to “going inside.” Have you exhausted this potential before turning to a recruiter who doesn’t know your existing employees nearly as well as you do?
Similarly, Underwood says that building out the company’s social media presence can be an extremely effective means of getting your name out to potential employees. Social media activity is probably something you’re going to be better at than an outside recruiter—again, because you know your business and what it’s like to work there better than someone coming in from outside.

What Challenges Are You Facing that a Recruiter Can More Easily Overcome?

Writing for U.S. News & World Report, Hannah Morgan points to four obstacles that top the list of reasons company recruiters say they have difficulty filling positions:

  • Almost 60% of recruiters say they can’t find qualified candidates.
  • Recruiters also report that increasing competition makes it more difficult to attract candidates.
  • Budget restraints limit the ability to staff up and launch company branding initiatives.
  • Sometimes, the company’s location represents a barrier, as well.

These same challenges are faced by outside recruiters, hence the consideration of whether an outside recruiter might provide value. Unless you think someone from the outside is likely to be better at overcoming the same challenges you are facing, a recruiter might not be the answer.
In a tight job market, many companies are looking for any edge they can get to help find the much-needed talent their organization is seeking to fill crucial positions within the organization. But, before jumping the gun and turning to a recruiter—which obviously costs money—ask yourself the two basic questions above.
An external recruiter may—or may not—be the best option.

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