The agency recruiter. The mere thought to most people induces shudders and visions of a smiling, LinkedIn loving individual.
And it’s true. Most traditional agency recruiters are sales driven people who value their hiring fee and commission more than someone’s career trajectory. In the traditional recruiting model, maximising revenue is a primary objective around which, all other considerations must orbit.
Why do recruiting agencies exist?
It’s important to remember that recruiting agencies exist for a distinct reason: to cover the gaps that an in-house recruiter could not fill. Therefore, recruitment agencies work directly with clients on job vacancies, becoming the middleman between candidates and employers.
Recruiting agencies can save you plenty of time by sourcing and shortlisting candidates for open jobs. Likewise, many agents will handle the tricky early phases of a recruiting pipeline such as CV & phone screening.
This isn’t to say that a recruiting agency could replace internal recruiting efforts. In fact, they can cover, more efficiently, early stages of the recruiting pipeline due to economies of scale, workflow, expertise and network.
How are recruiting agencies useful?
To summarise, a few of the key areas in which an agency would be particularly useful:
1. Searching for specialised & executive roles
An internal recruiter has vision over the company’s talent needs, but may not necessarily have the specialised knowledge for certain roles. This necessary process of learning could cost the company more in terms of time and money than simply hiring a recruiting agency. The agency guarantees knowledge of specific skills across the board, specialist sourcing methodologies and niche job boards.
2. Fulfil short term needs
Sometimes the talent need is so urgent that a recruiting agency becomes the most time & cost viable solution. Recruiting agencies have a built-in network of talent and can fill vacancies fast, should this be required.
3. Fill a pipeline
An internal hiring manager may have their finger on the pulse of a company’s hiring needs, but they still rely on a full pipeline of talent to make their decisions. A recruiting agency can be a great partner to help in this process, helping internal recruiters to make more informed decisions.
4. Recruiting agencies are partners, not foes
And here comes the important part: addressing your talent needs isn’t a case of in-house versus agency. In many cases, both an agency and an internal recruiter can provide complementary skillsets.
It is important to recognise which parts of your talent needs are best satisfied by each party, in terms of time and cost. It is important to map out your future hiring needs and figure out what works best. And remember, many recruiting agencies understand startup culture as well as in-house!
What to consider before choosing between a recruitment agency or an in-house recruiter?
Just to recap, here are a few things to consider when choosing a recruitment agency or in-house recruiters for a particular need:
- Network: Who can provide easy access to the network needed for a role? Is this network general or specific?
- Expertise: What specific knowledge is required? Is prior experience in a sector beneficial to hiring?
- Culture: Is this a short term hire or a longer-term prospect? Is knowledge of the team culture important?
- Money: Does the hiring need to justify a long term sunk cost? Or is a short term one-off fee more appropriate?
- Goals: Is the company’s plan to set up future hiring processes? Does internal HR make sense? What is the growth plan for the team?
Find a balance based on data
All things considered, analytics are key. It is important to measure your ‘good’ hires and work out why those were successful. From that data, you can find a balance between filling your talent needs with agency recruiters and in-house recruiters. Finding the optimal hiring partner for your company may take time, but it’s worth investing the time in order to build a team for growth.
How do we do recruitment at LevelUp?
We feel differently about the type of recruitment we’re doing at LevelUp Ventures. A lot of the value we add to startups crosses the line between in-house and agency recruiters. That’s why we don’t consider ourselves to be agency recruiters, here at LevelUp…at least not in the traditional sense. Think of us more like recruitment process outsourcing or even as recruiting consultants.
Certainly, aspects of what we do fit into the need for agency recruiters outlined in this article. But it’s the ethics, process and approach that we adopt, that differentiates us. We are a startup recruitment company focused, disruptive and turning startups into hiring machines one step at a time.
Our mission is to address these talent needs with startup-friendly, innovative and creative solutions. We believe startups are the best places to work, and we’re driven by the prospect of making our clients happy. No cold emails, no sales commission and certainly no suits here!
By: Aik Deveneijns – Founder
If you want to learn more about recruiting agencies for startups, make sure to read this article series by Aik on post-funding startup recruitment.